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Game Review: I hope Richard Hamilton continues emulating Joe Dumars’ path


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Richard Hamilton missed his first free throw of last night’s 97-91 loss to the Clippers. So, although Hamilton boasts the longest free throw-made streak of any NBA player this season, Joe Dumars’ team record is safe.

But I hope he matches Dumars in another way.

I hope Hamilton retires a Piston. (Have I mentioned that lately?)

Dumars played five seasons in Detroit after every other Bad Boy had left the team. He never seemed to completely fit with guys like Grant Hill, Otis Thorpe and Terry Mills. But I was just glad he was still playing for my favorite team

Dumars was a true professional and knew how to win. His influence never off paid quite like I hoped, and those teams never advanced to the second round of the playoffs. But I think they would’ve been more lost without Dumars.

So, back to Hamilton. He’s stuck on a team that traded his best friend, almost completely changed his supporting cast and can’t hold a candle to its predecessor just two years earlier.

But he still knows how to win.

Until the final 4:30 minutes of the fourth quarter, Hamilton had been having a so-so game. Then, he hit a 3-pointer to tie it. And on Detroit’s next possession, he hit one from the same spot. Three minutes later, he gave the Pistons the lead with yet another 3-pointer.

Then, with Detroit down by four with seven seconds left, Hamilton drew a foul on a long 3-pointer – and he nearly made that. But it rattled in-and-out, and Hamilton missed all three free throws, essentially ending the game.

From threatening a free-throw record to making just 2-of-8 from the line last night. I’m not sure Hamilton knows what hit him.

Just like this season.

More solid games from the old guard

Hamilton finished 21 points.

Tayshaun Prince had 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists a block and a steal. His block with 14 seconds left reminded me of some other play he made once.

And Jason Maxiell had 14 points (7-of-9 shooting) and eight rebounds in 16 minutes off the bench.

If only a few of the new guys would offer more help…

How will Ben Gordon improve shooting woes?

Not to make excuses, but the the Pistons have four good guards. If Ben Gordon is struggling, they don’t have to play him. That has to frustrate Gordon, who doesn’t really have a chance to work his way out of this slump.

He was 0-for-4 last night, and he played just 19 minutes. From the Pistons’ standpoint as far as their chances of winning this game, 19 minutes make sense.

For Gordon – and the team’s long-term investment in him – it doesn’t.

I don’t want to force-feed him minutes he doesn’t deserve, but this isn’t healthy for the franchise’s long-term outlook.

Charlie Villanueva carving out role

In the last two games, the Pistons’ bench has been pretty active in cheering for the players on the court. In particular, Charlie Villanueva has looked enthusiastic.

I wish he was doing more on the court. But I guess I’m glad he’s not sulking.

Further reading

Kevin Arnovitz of ClipperBlog has an interesting recap that includes this nugget:

"The Pistons actually shoot better from 16-23 feet (53.4 effective field goal percentage) than they do at the rim (42.9 effective field goal percentage)!"