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Riley will coach Heat's playoff opener vs. Bulls

MIAMI -- Heat coach Pat Riley will be with his team for Game 1 of Miami's Eastern Conference quarterfinal on Saturday, despite the death of his 96-year-old mother, Mary.

Riley ran the team's practice Friday after learning of his mother's death. He was not available for comment following practice, but the team said he would remain in South Florida and coach the game.

Riley spent four days earlier this week in upstate New York with his mother. He did not divulge any details of her illness when speaking to reporters Thursday.

"It's difficult, but you deal with it. Family is part of your life," said Riley, who had assistant coach Ron Rothstein coach the season's final two games. "And so, I did what I had to do in New York. ... The last four days was about a family crisis. Now it's about Chicago, moving on and trying to get this job done here."

On Thursday night, Riley announced that he would return to coach Miami for the 2006-07 season regardless of its playoff outcome. He released a statement through the team "due to numerous media inquiries and unsubstantiated rumors about his future."

Miami has the No. 2 seed in the East playoffs after a drama-filled season that saw Shaquille O'Neal miss 18 of the team's first 21 games with a sprained ankle. The Heat went only 11-10 in that stretch, after which coach Stan Van Gundy resigned, saying he wanted to spend more time with his children and family.

Riley took over, and Miami won 37 of its next 50 games. But the
Heat finished April with a 4-7 record, albeit with O'Neal and
Dwyane Wade -- the team's superstars -- playing either sparingly or
not at all in the final three games, all losses.

"I put no credence into how we finished at all," Riley said.

The Bulls enter the playoffs having won 10 of 11.