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June 11, 2004

Richard Hamilton


Q. You showed last night that a cohesive team can dominate a team of superstars, and I was there in Indianapolis where foreign teams did that three times. Would a team like the Pistons be an ideal representative for the U.S. in the Olympics and would you like to see something like that happen?

RICHARD HAMILTON: I think we're definitely a team that really plays together. You know, we love each other on and off the court. I think that carries on the floor and the way we play. I think we all care for each other. You know, we've all got each other's back. We've got guys on our team that, you know, if something is going good, we can talk to each other. If something's going bad, we can talk to each other and not take it personal. Our coach has done an excellent job of really getting us together and really playing as one. You know, this is a league that sometimes you've got guys on the team that don't like each other and guys that don't want to play with you or something. But we are a team that just loves to play with each other, loves to play out there together and loves to stay connected.

Q. How much of this is a by-product of the kind of players that Joe went out and got? It seemed like for whatever reason, things didn't quite work for all you guys, wherever you were, and he had a sense of each one of you had something to prove and you're like essentially proving it together.

RICHARD HAMILTON: Man, Joe's been great. The thing about Joe, he just wasn't a great basketball player, but he knows the game, you know, and he knows what it takes to get to situations where we are right now. I think he has a vision. You know, he had a vision, when he went out and seen the players he would think that would fit, the style of play that he wanted to see perform out on the floor. He did background checks. I mean, he wanted to make sure that the team that he puts together, all the nuts fit, you know, and I think he's done an excellent job with that.

Q. What is it that allows you to be so effective on the offensive glass?

RICHARD HAMILTON: I think we have great offensive rebounders, especially with Ben and Rasheed. Them guys are relentless, especially with Tayshaun, his length, it bothers people. But I think the biggest thing about it, once they go to the offensive rebound, the way that they go, sometimes you just can't take one player to get them off the boards. You might need two or three, and that enables us, the guard to sneak up in there and try to grab one every now and then. But Coach has been pushing that all season for us to go for the offensive glass. Last year when we played, it was pretty much two guys go to the offensive glass and three guys get back. This year, he enabled us to go for the offensive glass as four and make sure one guy is back. I think we've been blessed with him in allowing us to try to mix it up in trying to go to the offensive glass when we think we've got something.

Q. You know that being in this situation where there's a little bit of comfort, up 2-1, still at home, has not always been great for you guys. What have you learned from past experiences and how do you keep from anticipation getting in your way?

RICHARD HAMILTON: We learn from every series. You know, Milwaukee, when we won the first game and lost the second one. Same thing with New Jersey, we won the first two and same thing with Indiana. I think them situations makes us a lot better team in this situation than the Finals, because we are a lot mentally tougher and we know what it's going to take. We know that, okay, we came out and played hard last night but we're going to have to come out and play even harder tomorrow night. I think we are prepared for that, like Sheed tells us. Sheed tells us every time-out, we've got to stay hungry, no letdown, and I think that's what we've got to do.

Q. You guys have held that team to 68 and 88 points in two out of three games, almost won the other game, do you pinch yourselves at the defense you're playing against these people and what you've done so far?

RICHARD HAMILTON: We have been defending the whole season. I mean, nothing now really surprises us what we do on the defense because that's our motto. Even sometimes if a team scores 16 points in a quarter and we might score ten, it feels like they scored 26 and we scored 10. So we really take pride in our defense. The type of players that they have on that team, yes, you look at it, you might say, yeah, that's crazy. But, I mean, we still believe that, you know, we stay connected as five and anything can happen.

End of FastScripts...

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