Hamilton was plenty confident before scoring outburst
Derrick Rose works out before the Bulls' NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Chicago on Tuesday, April 10, 2012. Rose was not expected to play due to an ankle injury suffered in an earlier game.
After erupting for 18 points in the third quarter of Tuesday's win over New York, Richard Hamilton got a few questions about whether the performance helped his confidence.
Sure, Hamilton's season has been interrupted by injuries, but he's still the guy who led a dominant Detroit Pistons team in scoring for eight straight years.
"I'm always confident. That didn't do nothing to me," Hamilton said Wednesday at the Berto Center. "The game of basketball is a roller-coaster ride. You've just got to have an even keel. You come off an injury, you can't expect things to just turn around for you right then and there. If I can get to my spots and am able to run around like I usually do, I'll be fine."
Even after the scoring outburst, Hamilton didn't play in the fourth quarter. Besides getting in shape, he's still earning the confidence of coach Tom Thibodeau.
"I never want to come off the court," Hamilton said. "I thought that before when I got hurt and I ended up getting hurt again. I leave it up to the coaching staff. Me and Thibs are always on the same page with that. Eventually, I'll play more, but just take what I can right now."
Thibodeau hasn't made any promises yet about getting Hamilton on the floor during crunchtime.
"It's been such an unusual season," Thibodeau said. "We signed him late, he missed part of a shortened camp. Then he's been hurt, in and out of the lineup. I think finally, his legs feel great and his conditioning is coming around."
Bulls make chase:
The Bulls lead Miami by two games in the loss column heading into Thursday's contest. But coach Tom Thibodeau wanted to make sure everyone has the pecking order straight.
"We're chasing them," he said. "They're the Eastern Conference champions. We're chasing them. That's what we're looking at. That's the reality of it."
As usual, Thibodeau also refused to place any added importance on the Miami game.
"If we start looking at it like, 'Oh, that's a big game,' ... to me, that's where you start having missteps," he said. "You get ready to play the same way every game."
Korver stands out:
Tom Thibodeau felt Kyle Korver had a milestone game Tuesday against New York. Korver not only scored 11 of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, he added 7 rebounds and had 3 blocked shots.
"I think it was his best defensive game he's had with us — loose balls, rebounds, blocked shots, hustle plays, multiple effort, knocking shots down shots," Thibodeau said. "He was great. He was absolutely great last night."
And those 3 blocks?
"That's why he was wagging that finger," Thibodeau joked.
Heat seeks dominance:
Chris Bosh spoke about Miami's state of mind heading into Thursday's game against the Bulls. The Heat has gone 12-9 since March 2 and is 3-7 on the road during that time.
"We want to beat the Bulls. They're a great team," Bosh told reporters in South Florida. "Just given what we've been through with those guys last year. They don't want to lose to us. We don't want to lose to them.
"It's just one of those games where you're trying to establish your dominance in the Eastern Conference. They have one of the best records in the league. We're right behind them and we want to catch them, and it's an important game."
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