Richard Hamilton’s one-game suspension met with surprise
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org April 14, 2013 8:01PM
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat
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Updated: April 14, 2013 9:18PM
MIAMI — Bulls guard Rip Hamilton didn’t even think he deserved a flagrant-2 foul for his elbow to the face Friday of the Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan. So what was his reaction when he found out Saturday that he had been suspended for one game?
‘‘Surprised,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said Sunday. ‘‘It was a tough call because I thought there was a lot of grabbing and holding on the play. The league makes those decisions and there’s not much you can do about it, but I thought it was a tough call that went against him. That’s all you can say.
‘‘Yeah, I was surprised. But that’s what happens.’’
Not having Hamilton available in the 105-93 loss to the Heat killed a lingering story line, given the nastiness between him and Heat star Dwyane Wade going back to when Hamilton played for the Detroit Pistons. It also shortened Thibodeau’s bench, with Marco Belinelli starting but still on a minutes watch because of a strained abdominal muscle that cost him seven games in late March and early April. Belinelli had been playing around 25 minutes since returning, but he had to play nearly 30 because of foul trouble to Kirk Hinrich and Jimmy Butler.
And while Hamilton’s suspension was only one game, the timing couldn’t have been worse. Hamilton missed 19 games with a disc problem in his back before returning Tuesday. He has been on a minutes watch as he works his way back into shape, but he was outstanding Thursday against the New York Knicks, scoring 14 points and handing out eight assists.
After the Bulls’ loss Friday to the Raptors, Thibodeau said he would consider shuffling the rotation. But with all the injuries, plus a Heat team that forced him to play small, there was little he could do.
That also meant there was little he could say about the Bulls hoisting 26 three-pointers against the Heat, something that usually isn’t in the game plan.
‘‘We’re small,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘When you take 26 threes, those were probably the right shots. We have four perimeter players out there with Carlos [Boozer]. Those are shots that present themselves. What happens when you do that is your offense picks up, but your defense suffers. We have other guys who can get it done. We just didn’t.’’
All was quiet
Derrick Rose wasn’t even a topic of discussion Sunday, with Thibodeau saying only he wouldn’t play against the Heat. The Bulls won’t have another practice before the end of the season, so it would be tough to find Rose any five-on-five scrimmage time.