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June 4, 2005

Richard Hamilton


Q. How freeing was it for you offensively tonight without Wade in the game?

RICHARD HAMILTON: You know it was still a challenge. With him not being in the lineup, we didn't want to underestimate them. We thought about what Shaq said out there, it's still a great team. The one thing I tried to do is just play my game, keep running and try to get to the free throw line and get my teammates involved. I think we did a good job really feeding off the energy of the building and we got a win.

Q. You've been through these elimination games before, did your experience in that make in any easier to take the pressure off?

RICHARD HAMILTON: I would rather play an elimination game every game. That's what I always loved about the NCAA Tournament because there was no other game, so you was not allowed to let yourself come out and relax or take a game off knowing that you have another game to play. I think this situation right here is probably best for us, you know, because it's either win or go home and I think guys did a great job of stepping up tonight and getting the win.

Q. I'd like to ask you about the Piston defense and also about beating the Heat without Wade.

RICHARD HAMILTON: You know, we defended the way we wanted to defend. In the first half they only had 32 points, so we tried to force them to get turnovers and things like that. We played defense as five and without Dwayne there, like I said, they are still a great team. We cannot underestimate with him not being out there for us to let up or anything like that.

Q. Did you almost wish that Wade had played because you had been through a series last year when you were facing an injured Jason Kidd and Karl Malone didn't play, there's always been that little question, do you think that you wish Wade had played so there would be no question?

RICHARD HAMILTON: There's no question anyway when we get a win. People make up excuses just like, you know, "my legs hurt" and things like that. It's the playoffs. Sometimes you've got to be lucky and win a championship, everything's got to be right. Like I said, we can't allow ourselves to think "what if?" and all of that other stuff, you know we just still have to worry about ourselves and come out with a win.

Q. How important was it for you guys to remain focused as opposed to Game 5 where you lost your composure? Did you talk about that a lot in the locker room?

RICHARD HAMILTON: Yeah, it's very important. The one thing that we wanted to do was set the tone early and we set the tone early, you know, play aggressive, we should be in good shape. You know, we didn't want to allow anything, getting technical fouls and things like that because sometimes that changed the momentum of the game and I think we did a great job of really taking our time and thinking about stuff before we actually do it.

Q. Rasheed made the guarantee and things like that. Was there any doubt in anybody's mind in your locker room the last two days that you guys would not win this game?

RICHARD HAMILTON: Oh, man, if we didn't believe we was going to win we shouldn't have suited up. We all believe in ourselves and believe that every time we step on that floor, we're going to win, regardless who we play against. We're world champions, and I think a lot of people forget that we won the Championship last year. I think we're a confident group of guys. Coach really gets us up for each and every game and doesn't allow us to settle for anything less than greatness, and we did a really good job of coming out and playing together tonight.

Q. I know you respect the Heat certainly with or without Wade but how different was it for you offensively without having to chase him around?

RICHARD HAMILTON: Regardless, I'm a DB, guarding him, it's like I've got to chase Eddie around and I've got to chase all of those other guys around. We're a defense team. I condition myself to be in situations like this regardless of who is out there or not. It's a challenge but if he's not out there, just got to go out there and play.

Q. You say the Heat are still a great team even without Wade but what did they look like tonight?

RICHARD HAMILTON: It's the playoffs. I think that, you know, we did a great job of playing our game. I think with us, we don't worry about how they play. We can only worry about how we play. We come out and defend as five, force turnovers, come down and shoot the ball and stay poised, not let anything get in our heads and things like that. We're a great team but when we allow those things to get in our head and we're not playing as five and things like that, we're a mediocre team. So I think we did a great job of playing together tonight.

Q. Tayshaun had mentioned earlier in the series that when you and Chauncey were getting shots and moving the ball, the offense really seems to flow. Do you feel the same way that you guys are the key to getting this offense going?

RICHARD HAMILTON: I think so. Like I said, Coach depends on us for a lot of things. He depends on us because the ball is in our hands a whole lot to know when to score, when to get 'Sheed involved, when to get Ben involved and when to get Tayshaun involved. And he wants us not just to be scorers, he wants us to go out there and make plays. If we make plays for everybody and try to set the table for everybody, then we have a great chance of winning.

Q. Talk about how important your guys' experience, winning the Championship last year has been in overcoming all that you've been through this season.

RICHARD HAMILTON: We went through a lot this season, but we don't want to make any excuses. Every team goes through things like we go through but we just feel as though that, you know, for the long haul, that we have each other's back and with guys being out, Coach being out, things like that, but we stick together and don't allow any outsiders to try to pull us apart, we'll be in good shape.

Q. Talk a little bit, that play at the end of the first half, Miami had pulled within two, with like a minute and a half left and you go on a 10-0 run and you had a couple big shots, what did that do for you guys and did that demoralize Miami a little bit?

RICHARD HAMILTON: We wanted to make a push. You know, the crazy part about it, when we was in Miami, same situation, you know, game was three-point game with two minutes left to go and they made a hard run and they ran like an 11-0 run on us and tonight we tried to do the same thing. We wanted to do a better job of finishing, and tried to put the pedal to the medal and did a great job trying to defend.

End of FastScripts...

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