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Hamilton suspension a ‘surprise’ to Thibodeau

Bulls guard Richard Hamiltplays tight defense against Knick forward Iman Shumpert second period Chicago Bulls-New York Knicks NBA game Thursday

Bulls guard Richard Hamilton plays a tight defense against Knick forward Iman Shumpert in the second period of the Chicago Bulls-New York Knicks NBA game Thursday April 11, 2013 at the United Center. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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MIAMI – Rip Hamilton didn’t even feel he deserved a flagrant 2 foul for his elbow to the face of the Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan in Friday night’s loss in Toronto.

So to find out Saturday evening he was suspended one game? “Surprised,’’ was how Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau described the reaction.

“It was a tough call because I thought there was a lot of grabbing and holding on the play, from the start of that play,’’ Thibodeau said on Sunday. “The league makes those decisions and there’s not much you can do about it, but I t thought it was a tough call, went against him. That’s all you can say.

“Yeah, I was surprised. But that’s what happens.’’

No Hamilton against the Heat also killed a lingering storyline, given the nastiest between the veteran two guard and Miami’s Dwyane Wade going back to when Hamilton was in Detroit.

It also shortened Thibodeau’s bench, with Marco Belinelli starting, but still on a minutes watch because of the pain he has still been feeling with the strained abdomen that cost him seven games in late March and into early April.

And while the suspension was only one game, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Hamilton missed 19 games with a disc problem in his back, finally returning April 9. He’s been on a minutes watch as he works back into shape, but Hamilton was outstanding in the Thursday win over the Knicks, scoring 14 points and handing out eight assists, as he was getting his rhythm back for the playoff run.

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