Detroit's Hamilton seeing more time on the bench

Detroit's Hamilton seeing more time on the bench

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. Pull-up from the elbow. Swish.

Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton has been doing this for years.

But these days, the swish doesn't come about nearly as often.

And his playing time?

Gone.

The three-time all-star has not played (coaches decision) in Detroit's last four games, a trend that's expected to continue tonight against the Boston Celtics.

Hamilton's absence is especially noticeable in the TD Garden, a place where his battles with fellow UConn alum Ray Allen have been legendary.

Their battles became so intense, both had to shoot down rumors that they didn't like each other.

"He's somewhat come along in my shadow," Allen told CSNNE.com. "It's almost like the big-brother, little-brother you want to beat big brother all the time."

Said Hamilton: "Ray was a big part of me going to UConn. You look at UConn now, it has this reputation of producing NBA-ready 2s (shooting guards). It really started with Ray."

It is those battles with Allen and other upper-echelon NBA players, that have made Hamilton's demotion so difficult to swallow.

"The battles, like playing against Ray, it's always fun," Hamilton told CSNNE.com. "It's always great; it's a challenge."

These days, Hamilton challenges himself during and after practice, continuing to work on his game while the Pistons continue to search for him a new home.

It appeared the search was nearly over, with Hamilton a likely participant in the proposed blockbuster deal that will send Denver's Carmelo Anthony to the New Jersey Nets.

However, Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told reporters in New Jersey on Wednesday that the he was no longer interested in trading for Anthony.

Really, I am not happy with the way the deal has gone until now, Prokhorov told reporters prior to the Nets hosting the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. It has taken too long. It has been played out in public. The uncertainty has taken a toll on the players. And I believe it has cost us several games games I believe our team for sure could win in this period of time. Prokhorov added, So I think the management of the team did a great job. But there comes a time when the prize is simply too expensive. I am instructing our team to walk away from the deal, and the meeting that was supposed to be held by our management in Denver with Carmelo is hereby canceled.Even with the deal involving Hamilton essentially killed, the Pistons still elected to not play Hamilton (coaches decision) in the first half on Wednesday.

"It's a crazy situation," Hamilton said. "You hear so many speculation things like that. I've never been a part of this my whole career, let alone have to go through something here in Detroit."

Hamilton is in his ninth season with the Pistons, 12th in the league.

He has been an integral part of Detroit being among the most successful NBA teams during the early 2000s, which included a 2004 NBA title.

But that Hamilton and that unprecedented success he was a part of, are both things of the past now.

Hamilton knows his days as a Piston are numbered.

He's cool with that.

At this point, the only thing he wants is closure to what has been the most trying time of his career.

"I just want an opportunity to play," he said. "You've been hearing rumors for the last two-plus years (about me being traded). So it's more evident now than ever. My job is to stay ready, keep myself in shape."

He does this by undergoing a rigorous post-practice regimen with Ben Wallace, who was also with the Pistons during their glory days of the early 2000s.

"It's fun, playing with a guy that I've been through wars with," Hamilton said. "I still get a joy out of it. But I'd rather be out there playing than doing this."

Still, there's no denying the success Detroit has experienced since the Pistons opted to take Hamilton out of the rotation.

In the four games with Hamilton not playing, Detroit is 3-1.

While it may appear that Hamilton's game can't help the Pistons, the soon-to-be 33-year-old still has enough skills to help someone win.

And that, maybe more than anything else, is what really bothers him about all this.

"It's not like I can't play at all anymore," Hamilton said. "But you know that, it's out of my hands. What's going on right now is not basketball. It's more than that. So it's like when you go against teams like this you want to be in the war with your brothers. But it is what it is."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics put on defensive clinic in second half

This season the Boston Celtics have shown flashes for a few minutes here and there that they were an elite team defensively. 
 
But what they did in the second half to the Orlando?
 
Boston (13-9) put on a defensive clinic that overwhelmed the Magic on every level imaginable as the Celtics cruised to a 117-87 thumping of Orlando.
 
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has been even-keeled when it comes to discussing his team’s play, win or lose. 
 
But even he couldn’t contain how pleased he was to see the way his players defended in the third and fourth quarters. 
 
“On defense, the second half was as good as we’ve guarded all year,” Stevens told reporters afterwards. “Really focused, really urgent. I felt good about that.”
 
Setting the tone for the Celtics was Avery Bradley who certainly was impressive with his scoring. 
 
But as much as he knew the team would need a boost offensively with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, that wasn’t his approach to the game. 
 
“I had a defensive mindset coming into tonight’s game,” Bradley told CSN’s Abby Chin following the win. “Just trying to get my teammates to playing the right way so we could come out and get the ‘W’ tonight. I’m happy with how all the guys played. We all played hard, and we played as a team.”
 
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.
 

STARS
 
Avery Bradley

Bradley picked up the scoring with Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out for Wednesday, leading the team with a game-high 23 points to go with four rebounds and three assists.
 
 
STUDS

Jaylen Brown

Arguably the biggest spark off the bench for Boston, Brown had one of his best games as a Celtic. He finished with 13 points which included a dunk over Nikola Vucevic that quieted the Amway Center crowd and just as important, provided a nice energy boost for Boston.
 
D.J. Augustin

He had the hot hand at the end of the second quarter, but was a non-factor in the second half as Augustin finished with 15 points – all of which came in the first half. 
 
Terry Rozier

This was a great confidence-booster for Rozier as well as his teammates to see him have a big game and make the most of his increased opportunity to play. He finished with a career-high 16 points off the Celtics bench on 6-for-13 shooting with five rebounds.
 
Nikola Vucevic

It doesn’t matter if he starts or comes off the bench. Vucevic is always a double-double threat on the floor. He finished with 12 points off the bench along with 10 rebounds for his 13th double-double this season. 
 

DUDS
 
Orlando second half defense

The Celtics got pretty much whatever they wanted, when they wanted it in the second half against the Magic defense which pulled a major disappearing act. Boston shot 61 percent from the field in the second half, and 45.4 percent from 3-point range.