Bulls Beat Pistons 99-83 In Hamilton’s Return
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NOAH TRISTER,AP Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — In his return to The Palace to face his former team, Richard Hamilton wanted to keep his emotions under control.
“I was just like, ‘Man, please don’t start crying or anything crazy like that — just hurry up and let the ball get thrown up so I can go out there and play,’” Hamilton said.
Hamilton scored 14 points and the Chicago Bulls shut down the Detroit Pistons in a 99-83 victory Wednesday night.
The veteran guard started after missing the previous two games with a sore left groin. He received a warm welcome from Detroit fans, many of whom stood and applauded a steady player who spent nine years with the Pistons before being waived prior to this season.
“It was great,” Hamilton said. “The fans appreciate what I did here, and they’ve always been supportive of me. Even when stuff wasn’t going so good, they’d always chant my name and stuff like that. I’ve got a lot of love for them.”
Hamilton went 5 of 9 from the field and added five assists. Derrick Rose had 17 points and 10 assists for the Bulls.
Rose, last season’s NBA MVP, was shaken up late in the fourth quarter when he landed hard following a drive to the basket. He was able to stay in the game but had his left elbow wrapped afterward. He said an X-ray was negative.
“Just like any other time when you fall, you’re definitely going to be sore,” Rose said. “Thank God we don’t play tomorrow and I can rest.”
The Bulls play at Orlando on Friday.
Hamilton chatted a bit with some former teammates while out on the court warming up about 45 minutes before the game. He was announced last among Chicago’s starters, and the crowd showed its appreciation.
Hamilton led Detroit to the 2004 NBA championship but was benched for an extended period last season amid a falling out with then-coach John Kuester. The Pistons fired Kuester after the season, then parted ways with Hamilton following the lockout.
“It was a mutual thing — the direction that they were going, and change was good for me,” Hamilton said. “I get an opportunity now to try to go and get another ring.”
Greg Monroe had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Detroit. Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey didn’t play in the second half because of a left groin problem.
The Pistons were held scoreless until Monroe’s layup 3:54 into the first quarter. Hamilton then made a tough shot off the backboard while being fouled. His three-point play made it 9-2.
A dunk in transition by Rose put Chicago ahead 20-10, and a 3-pointer by Kyle Korver made it 47-33 in the second. The Bulls led 51-35 at halftime.
“I wish we had played a whole lot better, but they had a lot do with it. That’s a very good team,” Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said. “I’m not questioning effort. I’m concerned about execution on both ends of the floor. We had shots at the rim and shots in the paint that we didn’t execute and turned into transition situations for them.”
Hamilton scored seven points in the third quarter, including a perimeter shot that gave the Bulls their biggest lead at 57-37. After the Pistons pulled within a dozen, Hamilton made a 3-pointer from the right corner for a 67-52 advantage.
With 5:04 left in the fourth, Hamilton was slow getting up after being fouled hard by Will Bynum in transition. He was able to make the two free throws and continue playing.
Chicago has won five straight and 12 in a row against the Pistons. The Bulls haven’t lost to Detroit since Dec. 23, 2008.
Five Chicago players finished in double figures, led by Carlos Boozer with 19 points. Joakim Noah had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bulls shot 53 percent to Detroit’s 41 percent.
“I thought we played terrible,” Pistons guard Ben Gordon said. “No disrespect to the Bulls — that’s a good team — but we had a horrible effort.”
NOTES: Chicago had 31 assists on 40 field goals. … Gordon was called for a flagrant foul in the fourth quarter for pulling down Noah from behind near the basket. … Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau was whistled for a technical foul in the first quarter for arguing a call. … Attendance was announced at 9,125.
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