Pat Riley, his coaching accomplishments often taken for granted, matched Red Auerbach in career playoff wins in the opening game of the Lakers-Rockets series.
Riley then surpassed the former Boston Celtics coach Sunday when he got his 100th playoff victory in Los Angeles' 104-100 win over Houston.The milestone passed rather quietly, although Riley became the winningest coach in NBA playoff history.
Even he downplayed the accomplishment.
"This was a nice way to get it," he said. "It's a significant achievement for me and the team, believe me.
"But it pales in comparison to winning the game and holding the edge over Houston. I'm sure I'll appreciate it (the milestone) more in the future."
It took Riley, 45, just nine years to amass 100 playoff wins; Auerbach, who coached in the days before the NBA expanded the playoffs, got 99 in 20 years.
Auerbach had eight playoff wins with the Washington Capitols in the late 1940s, one more win with the Tri-Cities Black Hawks in 1950, and the rest with Boston, where he coached from 1951 until 1966 and won nine NBA titles.
Riley has guided the Lakers to five league crowns already. And, although he's always been snubbed in the balloting for NBA coach of the year, he was named The Associated Press coach-manager of the decade - in all sports - for the 1980s.
His winning percentage in both the playoffs (.700) and the regular season (.733) rank as the highest for a coach in NBA history.
The fact that Riley's Lakers teams have had outstanding talent - particularly Magic Johnson - has seemed to somehow diminish public acknowledgement of his abilities.