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June 14, 2004

Richard Hamilton


Q. When did you guys first realize this group was special; that you had a chance to go far and do something like this?
RICHARD HAMILTON: I think last year, you know, probably in the playoffs when we played against New Jersey and lost the way we lost. We felt as though we let an opportunity slip away. But we still didn't know what it meant to get to this level because it was a lot of our first times being there.
I think this year when we got Sheed, that really took us to the next level. I think when he came here, it gave us an inside presence, it gave us a guy with energy, it gave us a guy that did a lot of things on both ends of the floor. I think it helped us a lot.
Q. Could you just talk about how it is going into Game 5 now, you guys have pretty much controlled all four games, do you feel that the way you've played is that's just you, there's not going to be any dip or letdown because you have a two-game suggestion, and do you actually feel superior to the Lakers now the way you guys have played the series?
RICHARD HAMILTON: The crazy part about the whole situation is, you know, we don't think about nothing else but getting a win. We don't think that we're playing in the NBA Finals; that we're playing for a championship. We look at it as, we want to win this game.
So, the thing that we really worry about is just ourselves, coming out and playing as five on both ends of the floor and defending and sharing the ball on the offensive ends and we should be in good shape. We don't think about anything else but doing that and we feel confident with that.
Q. Do you guys talk about what you're doing to deny Kobe penetration to the basket, because it seems 90 percent of his shots are jumpers?
RICHARD HAMILTON: I think it's important when you play Kobe, you've got to know where he's at at all times on the floor. You can't just expect one person to depend him. You've got to play him as five.
I think Tayshaun has done an excellent job of using his length and trying to chase him around and trying to make everything tough. But we can't just depend on Tayshaun to stop him. I think the good thing about us, we all have each other's back. We all know where everybody's at on the floor at all times, and that's a good thing for us.
Q. How come you guys have such a team concept? It's hard for individual players to stand out and get accolades, why has that never bothered or fractured this team?
RICHARD HAMILTON: I think the biggest thing is, man, we love each other, man. We love each other on and off the court. We all love to play with each other. You don't get this opportunity and have a team like this when playing in the NBA, just the simple fact everybody in the back of their mind, everybody has individual goals and things like that. But we are all willing to put that aside for one common goal and that's a championship. You know, we are all able to talk to each other and there ain't no talking behind each other's back. It's all just about playing and winning.
When you've got that, man, that's a very special thing.
Q. Are you feeling okay? You sound like you have a little sinus problem, you sound like you're a little congested there? And also, your feelings about having the anxiety of getting so close to something you've wanted forever. How are you going to deal with that?
RICHARD HAMILTON: Oh, man, it's crazy. It's unbelievable. The thing about it, everything is happening so fast so you really don't have time to really think about it and think on what we have accomplished as a team like that because we still have another game. It's going real fast. The one thing about us, man, we want to win and winning is more important than anything in the world. We know what's at stake, but in reality, we don't. We just say it's another game that we've got to go ahead and win.
Q. You said many times that you thought you guys were building something in Washington when you got traded. What did you think was there? How shocked were you when you were traded?
RICHARD HAMILTON: When I said we were building something in Washington, because if you looked at the team that we had before MJ came and things like that, we had me, Courtney, Kwame, Brendan, we had a nice young core team, we just got T-Lue from the Lakers. We had a nice, young core and we were really starting to get that edge. We were really starting to build something. You know, they always said that we were going to grow together.
It's kind of tough because you know when they tell you that you're a franchise player and then all of a sudden they mess around and trade you, it's crazy. Crazy. That's when you understand and realize this game is not about basketball all the time. It's a business, also.
It was tough. Just try to look at the positives and negatives. I thought I was coming to a great situation. I was traded for a great player, a proven All-Star, and I just said that, you know, Joe and them really wanted me, to do that. I just try to come out every night, play hard, just prove everybody that I could play at this level.
Q. Can you talk about being part of the team that has a chance to win Coach Brown his first title?
RICHARD HAMILTON: Oh, man, it's great. I think it's great for the City of Detroit. It would be great for the fans. It could be great for Coach. Coach has been here for a long, long, long time. That's the crazy part about it, because he's been coaching probably since before I was even born.
We're excited for him. We're excited that we got here and he did a great job of really leading us and getting us not just physically prepared but mentally prepared for this challenge. We know it's not over yet, but the thing about him, man, he just keeps us level-headed, he keeps us down to earth, he keeps us ready and keeps challenging us. You know, he doesn't ever let us get satisfied or anything like that. I think that's great when you have a great coach like that.

End of FastScripts...

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