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May 29, 2005

Richard Hamilton


Q. Rip, Coach talked about how he thought you guys lost your poise down the stretch with the officiating, is that what you saw?

RICHARD HAMILTON: We definitely did. I think we're too good of a team to have a meltdown like we had tonight. We've been in this situation too many times to let anything bother us, and I think this late in the season, Eastern Conference Finals, we can't afford to have any letdowns. I think the last five, six minutes of the game we didn't play the way we were supposed to play. We let little ticky-tack stuff bother us.

Q. Can you just talk about the sense of urgency this team is at at this point heading into Game 4 on Tuesday?

RICHARD HAMILTON: We've got to take care of business at home. We let an opportunity slip away tonight. We had a great third quarter and the beginning of the fourth, and we kind of let one slip. We've just got to come out and play the way we played that third quarter. We can't let anything bother us, just go out and win.

Q. You guys were up five, Dwyane Wade has to sit because of foul trouble. How do you feel right then?

RICHARD HAMILTON: Like I said, when he sat, we were up five. We had all the opportunities in the world to win the game. We missed a lot of free throws. Like I said, we had a meltdown. We were getting technical foul after technical foul, shooting three pointers where we should have driven and things like that. It was all just understanding the game. Usually we don't make that type of mistakes and tonight it really cost us.

Q. Could you talk a little bit about Lindsey's contribution tonight as well as Elden off the bench for you guys, particularly on defense.

RICHARD HAMILTON: He came in and gave us big-time minutes, trying to keep Shaq out of the paint. Lindsey did a really great job of trying to contain Dwyane and trying to get steals on him. We need them guys. I think our bench is key. Hopefully they continue to play that way in the series.

Q. Obviously you scored a lot more points tonight than last game. How frustrating is it when you're the only guy on the team stepping up offensively?

RICHARD HAMILTON: I told Arnie Kander, (strength and conditioning coach), these last two days was really great for me. I'm actually getting my step back, getting my explosion back and things like that. This is the best that I've felt since the first quarter of the Indiana game. So it's a good thing, and I just feel I've got to keep doing treatment and stuff like that that he wants me to do, but I'm starting to get my explosion back.

Q. That's two games in a row with the free throws having gone down for this team. Is it becoming an epidemic?

RICHARD HAMILTON: It's lack of concentration. There's no way that we'd miss 15 free throws. Like I said, we had opportunities to go up six, opportunities to go up seven, and we just let it slip away. Like I said, we're too good of a team to let them little minor mistakes cause us a loss in free throws, arguing at the refs, taking our time on the offensive end and things like that. There are things we usually do all the time and we just didn't do it tonight.

Q. Would you talk about some of the struggles Ben had tonight with Shaq. We've seen Ben step up physically and it really seemed like he just really couldn't have the impact he's used to having physically?

RICHARD HAMILTON: He got into foul trouble. I think that Shaq is a problem to anybody. I think when Ben got into foul trouble, we had to try to keep something and get guys in there to take fouls and things like that. But we're going to need Ben. He's the heart and soul of our team, and I definitely believe that he's going to bounce back for the next game.

End of FastScripts...

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