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Rip Hamilton: “I was just dumbfounded at the situation”

May 16, 2013, 8:44 AM EDT

Joakim Noah, Richard Hamilton AP

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was looking for answers. No Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, no consistent offense, he needed points.

He finally got some Wednesday night from Richard Hamilton (but you can call him Rip) — 15 points in 35 minutes. He was a team best +12 on the night. The veteran who had been buried on the bench came through with a vintage game. It wasn’t enough — the Bulls have gone fishing for the summer after being eliminated by the Heat — but it was a spark they missed much of the series.

A lot of people want to know why we didn’t see more of Rip Hamilton before… and that includes Rip himself, reports Aggrey Sam at

“I have great guys here. That’s what made my job fun. Even though they last two weeks were hard, difficult, my teammates have been great, all the way from Derrick to Luol, to Booz, to Noah, to Jimmy. Everybody was so supportive, I was just like dumbfounded about the situation. But they kept me going. They kept me positive.”

Hamilton has battled injuries for his two years in Chicago and never really got into Thibodeau’s rotation consistently. Even when Rip was saying he was healthy this season Thibodeau was saying he wasn’t and had him glued to the bench. Maybe it was concerns about defense, maybe it was a lot of things.

But with Thibs out of options Hamilton played 21 minutes in the Bulls blowout loss in Game 4 and had 11 points, so that earned him another shot. And in Game 5 he made the most of it.

“It’s crazy because playing 19 straight minutes, I haven’t done that all season. Playing in the fourth quarter, I haven’t done that all season,” Hamilton said. “But it’s just one of those things, where you’ve just got to deal with it. You’ve just got to be able to respond.”

The Bulls have a $5 million option on Hamilton next season, or they can buy him out for $1 million. Bet on the buyout.

But the way he played on Wednesday has me thinking he may get another shot somewhere else next season.

  1. fnc111 - May 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Thibs blew this series by not letting Rip play in game 3. This series should’ve automatically come back to Chi for a game 6 but Tom’s ego got them run out earlier than the team should’ve been.

    Rose should announce his retirement today. What’s the point in playing again when you sit out the most important series of your career? The Bulls are going nowhere fast. You’re a sucker if you give Reinsdorf your money after this bs of a season:

    • tigershark49 - May 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      It wasnt the most important series of his career. He has played in the nba finals.

      • jjpt4540 - May 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        No he hasn’t

      • huskiefan - May 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        You’re right – Detroit Pistons in 2004

      • raylangivens2 - May 16, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        He played in the Eastern Conference Finals 2 years ago.

      • eventhorizon04 - May 16, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        Not sure if you’re referring to either Rose or Rip with this comment.

        Derrick Rose has made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but not the NBA Finals.

        Rip Hamilton has made it to the NBA Finals (twice).

    • pudgalvin - May 16, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      Complete nonsense. Go back to game 1 of the Nets series and watch how poorly he played. He got his playing time last night and the Bulls lost. You’re grasping at straws if you think Rip Hamilton was the difference in any win or loss against the Heat.

      As to the Bulls going nowhere fast, again, complete nonsense. How was this the most important series of anyone’s career? What about next year? What about the year after that? Not important? How many 24 year old superstars are leading their teams to titles? MJ was 28. Lebron was 28. Durant is still searching and most would agree his best years are far ahead of him. The Bulls are in as good a position as any team in the league for the next ten years. They’ve got a superstar that’s no where near his prime. They’ve got a solid veteran core around him now as well as a group of young players that will continue to develop. They’ve got talent in Europe, they’ve got a top 10 pick coming from the Bobcats, and they’ve got one of the best coaches in the league.

      Relax. We knew the Bulls weren’t going to win a title this year. It sucks losing to a team of d bags, but great things are ahead for this Bulls team.

      • freepretzels - May 16, 2013 at 10:31 AM

        There are no guarantees in sports. Who knows if the Bulls will be consistently competitive year after year? Dan Marino lost the Super Bowl in his second year, and assumed he’d have a chance to go back and win one since he was so early in his career.

      • countduku - May 16, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        how are the bulls getting a top 10 pick from the bobcats??

      • teeceewalk - May 16, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        Thank you! This other guy says Derrick should retire? I am blown away by the insensitivity of folks. Every injury is different. Personally I am not going to blow out my knee and end my career. COME BACK when you feel you can play. No need to rush and pay for it dearly. I wanted him to play too but he did not. He should retire? That is just stupid. As for Thibs, best coach in the NBA. Next season, look for a championship team in the Bulls I will put my money on that! Can’t be the type when folks don’t do what you deem right they should retire. People crack me up. Tear your ACL up and come back and do a re-post in a year. HOLDAT! Miami won’t win forever. Some win some lose. Losers eventually become winners. This is all to make the Bulls a better team.

      • pantsfreezone - May 16, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        Not really. They still have Boozer. They’ve been eliminated by LeBron 3 of the last 4 years and they can’t stay healthy because Thibs doesn’t know how to coach people instead of scheme.

        And I would say the Bulls are the bigger set of “d bags” as you call them. Noah McClappy, Boozer “AND ONE”, Nate Robinson. Nobody likes those guys because they are terrible AND annoying.

      • pudgalvin - May 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        Birdman, Dwayne “I better limp when I miss shots to remind everyone that my knee hurts” Wade, Norris “1993” Cole, Chris “tear in my eye” Bosh. Yeah, the Bulls are the d bags.

    • howsmyrash - May 16, 2013 at 11:55 AM

      First of all, you’re an idiot if you think the Bulls were winning with Rip playing. His defense in the 4th quarter last night on Wade was atrocious, and his offense barely made up for his inefficiencies on defense. And did I miss something because I thought the Bulls still lost in the two games he played in?

      Second of all, you’re an idiot if you think Thibs is the reason that the Bulls lost this series. The Bulls wouldn’t be in the playoffs let alone the 2nd round if it wasn’t for Thibs. Here are the reasons they lost before coaching: LeBron is the best player on the planet, Wade is one of the best SG’s on the planet even when he is injured, Rose was out, Deng and Hinrich were out, Robinson couldn’t defend Norris Cole, and Boozer couldn’t defend anyone.

      • cfos00 - May 16, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        You hit the nail on the head, and even Bulls management (not Thibs, everyone above him) seemed to view it as a place holder of a year. Look at the contracts that they did this past summer. Every move that they made screamed ‘Not this year, look towards 2014.’ With Rose out, it made sense. It just isn’t in this team’s or Thib’s DNA to go along with that plan. They played as hard as we could ever hope for as fans, but the team, esp with the injuries involved, wasn’t built to beat the Heat or win a championship this year with Rose out. Rip will be gone, Nate will be gone, and maybe Boozer will be gone. Hopefully, they can use that money to build around a line up with Rose, Deng, Butler, Noah, and Gibby. That’s a line up that will have a chance against LeBron and the Heat. Good luck scoring on it.

        We should be happy about the effort given with this team. They tried their best, and left it out on the court. They just were overmatched this time. No shame in that given the circumstances. And it allowed us to see what we have in certain players, esp Butler.

  2. lakerluver - May 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Thibs is certainly a great coach but why Rip was on the bench is a mystery. However, I try to not question a coach. Thibs knows more about basketball then I ever will, and he knows what’s going on with his team. Hopefully Rip gets signed by another contending team and I’d given the opportunity to help them.

  3. louiespoon - May 16, 2013 at 10:14 AM

    Thibs gets a lot of blame because he rarely extended his rotation and when he did OT was due to injury, not him trying to see what a player had. I had been screaming for Teague to get tick, Mohammed definitely should have played more when Jo went down, when Cook was signed he should have gotten some of Marco’s minutes, Summer League sensation Thomas rode the pine and did Rodmonovic. Coach rode his starters, Gibson and Mate too hard during the regular season….

    • chicitybulls - May 16, 2013 at 11:22 AM

      You must have not been watching many games this year. Teague has shown he is not ready to play big minutes yet (he’s a rookie and you can’t expect that of him yet. He needs to play summer league again to develop more). And Cook shot the ball terribly and that’s all he’s supposed to do. If a shooter can’t hit shots and that’s his specialty why play him? Marco has played 10 times better than Cook. Radmonovic didnt play defense and with Thibs if you dont play defense you dont play. The exception is Boozer but he gives you scoring and rebounding and has a huge contract…things Rad doesn’t have/do.

  4. hehateme2 - May 16, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Poor coaching from the mafia thug. Glad we don’t have to hear any more whining from him and his team…fans.

    • pudgalvin - May 16, 2013 at 10:59 AM

      I’m glad I personally don’t have to watch Lebron flop around any more, though I feel for Pacers fans.

      I don’t flop, but I do always look behind me before I fall down to make sure I’ve got a clear path to fall to the ground.

    • erckle31 - May 16, 2013 at 11:07 AM

      You are an absolute fool.

    • howsmyrash - May 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      Again, are you stupid? Or just a little slow?

  5. teeceewalk - May 16, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Coach Thibs is clearly one of the best coaches in the NBA currently. Of course he could have changed some things, under the circumstances he did a fine job. That man eat, sleeps and studies basketball. I don’t think you will find a coach that is more into basketball than this one and it has been said by OTHER current NBA coaches. Glad to have him as a Chicago, long time Bulls fan.

  6. mungman69 - May 16, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Bulls would still lose in 5.

    • turnmymicup - May 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Exactly. Hamilton did his thing back in the day with Detroit. However in no way was giving him more minutes changing the outcome of this series. Tom knew that so he kept Rips ass on the bench.

  7. iowahbr - May 16, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    the Bulls will get better next year but it will be the same story during th play-offs. they win 50 to 55 regular season games with Rose back, take the first round and then struggle depending on who they play in the 2nd round. Butler showed up this year and has more potential but when your one superstar is 6’2′ and needs the ball most of the time you aren’t going to the finals. Same story at Boston with Rondo. OKC showed that a one superstar (without Westbrook) team can fizzle no matter how tall that one player is. Wade stuck the knife in the Bulls last night and he might be 3d best player on the Heat at this stage of his career.

    • pudgalvin - May 16, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      And yet, 3 of the 4 remaining teams in the playoffs (sorry Knicks) have 1 or 0 superstars. You cite a one superstar team losing, but they lost to a team with no superstars.

      • iowahbr - May 16, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Super star team don’t always win but the Spurs,the Grzizlies and the Pacers are playing very good team ball and have on each team at least 2 players closing in on superstar or star status. The Heat are facing tougher games ahead but should win it all. It will be fun to watch if you like pro ball.

  8. fugetaboutit - May 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    cfos00 has the best comment. Seriously what did everyone expect from 3rd string players?? Bulls did all they could with the taken they had. Everyone talking crap don’t only look at the final result. Look at the Lakers they had Kobe and Howard for most of the season and the barely made the playoffs. Expectations were high cause they are “the Lakers.” Bulls fans (like me) should be happy they got this far.

  9. glink123 - May 16, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Rose never again advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals? He obviously thinks trips past the first round of the NBA playoffs are a given. If he does, he’s forgetting who owns the team, and how tight said owner is with his wallet.

  10. deluxreverb - Nov 24, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    Players need to have experience as a team. They need to find their rhythm individually and as a team. The coach had no use for Hamilton. When Hamilton finally got healthy he still didn’t play him enough to let him get his rhythm. Rip has been a clutch player at every level. Took the winning shot as time expired to win NCAA championship with U. Conn. Leading scorer in 6 Eastern conference finals. 2 seven game finals. 1 NBA championship. Scored over 50 points at MSG. Rip had a deadly mid range game that needed screens to be set by teammates. Often he would be an unstoppable force.

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