Tom Thibodeau Benching Richard Hamilton at Crunch Time

by November 23, 2012

Rip Hamilton is doing his best to remain diplomatic about his playing time in the fourth quarter, or lack thereof. But it’s clear that he’s frustrated by Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau keeping him glued to the bench at winning time, especially during the team’s current three-game losing streak (the first time such a slide has occurred under Thibs.) Per the Sun-Times: “Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton put in some heavy minutes late Wednesday night. Unfortunately for Hamilton, they were spent with the media as he tried to explain why he has been on the bench in the fourth quarter lately. ‘Like I always say, whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do,’ Hamilton said after the 93-89 loss to the Rockets. ‘I’m just trying to stay positive, just trying to get better every day.’ Hamilton said all the right things, but his body language in the huddle late in the game was that of a frustrated player. Even more so on Sunday night in Portland. Hamilton seemed to have a problem with shooting 7-for-10 from the field but only getting 22 minutes, none in crunch time. ‘One thing you have to do is just cheer for the guy that’s out there,’ Hamilton said. ‘So you just try to stay positive and hope that we get the win.’ […] ‘You’re going with the group that’s playing well at that particular time,’ Thibodeau said. ‘It’s not about individuals; it’s about the team. [Houston] was a tough team to cover defensively, so I thought Taj [Gibson] and Jimmy [Butler] came in and got us going in the right direction.’ Hamilton was only 2-for-10 against the Rockets, but at the same time, he’s also a player who has a history of making big shots, not only in his college days with Connecticut but also with the Pistons. When that was pointed out to Hamilton, he laughed and said, ‘When I came, it was one of those things where whatever they need from me, I’m going to do. I didn’t want to get caught up in anything else.’ In other words, he didn’t want a repetition of his last season with the Pistons and his cold war with then-coach John Kuester. The relationship between Hamilton and Kuester had deteriorated to such an extent that Hamilton reportedly blew up in practice and got inches from Kuester’s face during a heated argument. Obviously, the respect level for Thibodeau is much higher, so whether he’s frustrated or not, Hamilton is going to do his best to hide it publicly.”