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Heat HC Erik Spoelstra jokes about Pat Riley with Celtics GM Danny Ainge

Erik Spoelstra, Danny Ainge, Pat Riley

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge had a fun exchange that centered on Pat Riley.

Per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Spoelstra and Ainge slipped in a playful exchange upon shaking hands.

Spoelstra definitely knows a thing or two about Ainge and Riley. Back in the 1980s, Riley was the head coach of the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers. Ainge, meanwhile, was the guard for the Boston Celtics — the Lakers’ rival team. Fast forward to the 2010s, Riley and Ainge would meet each other again in several classic playoff duels. This time, both were front office executives. Indeed, Riley and Ainge have a rich history between them.

This season, however, it seems that Ainge’s Celtics have the upper hand. His team holds much promise this season and is seen as a legitimate championship contender. Struggles and controversies have popped up here and there but as a whole, the Celtics look good.

Riley’s Heat, meanwhile, are racking up victories and are considered a mid-tier team as of the moment. Not much is expected of them this season. It will likely take several seasons for the Heat to build another team that’s worthy of being tagged as a championship contender. And when that happens, we may be in for another classic Riley-Ainge duel.