Hamilton, Pistons beat Raptors 99-95 in overtime
Friday, March 13, 2009; 11:25 PM
TORONTO -- Don't expect Detroit guard Richard Hamilton to give up his spot in the starting lineup again this season. Antonio McDyess certainly doesn't want him to.
Hamilton had 24 points and a career-high 16 assists, McDyess added 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Pistons beat the Toronto Raptors 99-95 in overtime on Friday night.
Detroit has won six of eight since Hamilton returned to the starting lineup in place of the injured Allen Iverson and the change has the Pistons feeling like they've gone back in time.
"Some games we do feel like the old Pistons," McDyess said. "We've got each other's backs, playing free and having fun. For a while it's been that way, since we've had Rip in the lineup."
Iverson is at least a week away from returning from a sore back but McDyess wants Hamilton to keep his starting job.
"We've got to keep it the way it is," McDyess said. "We've only lost (two) games with him in the lineup. He's been sharing the ball like a point guard, which is not his strength, and really scoring also. With the energy he brings it's like we have more confidence in ourselves now."
With their old sense of familiarity rekindled, Hamilton said the Pistons are trusting each other more.
"We kind of lost that this season and we're trying to get back to that," Hamilton said. "Even when we lose games, it's not a game where you say 'Oh man, they don't even look like the Pistons.' We're fighting, we're playing hard and getting wins."
For Hamilton, trust starts with him sharing the ball on offense and getting his teammates involved.
"I'm a strong believer that if you're open, you get the ball, regardless of if you're a rookie, second year, third year, whatever," Hamilton said. "You've just got to trust your teammates and I thought tonight we really did that."
Rodney Stuckey scored 17 points and Jason Maxiell matched a season high with 16 for Detroit, which swept the season series from Toronto for the first time since 1997-98. The Pistons have won 14 of their past 17 against the Raptors.
Chris Bosh had 27 points and 10 rebounds and Jose Calderon added 20 points and 11 assists, but it wasn't enough as the Raptors lost their seventh straight, matching a season-high.