Richard Hamilton played just 26 minutes in game one, but he made pretty efficient use of his time. Rip scored 19 points on seven shots, which is nearly three points a shot as Sixers coach Doug Collins noted.
"He's got that championship experience. He knows where to get on the floor. You can give Rip that."
With Derrick Rose out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, Hamilton will have to add about 20 more minutes to his playing time from here on out, going from being a complimentary player to a main attraction. And he can do it--Rip is a veteran of the postseason. Before joining the Bulls, the former Piston played in 120 playoff games, averaging 20.6 points per game. Hamilton has said his experience can help the team in different situations. This is the most crucial of situations now that the reigning MVP is out of commission.
Hamilton is battle tested, and despite his own struggle with injuries this season, he will have to prove durable for the duration of the postseason, which includes increased playing time.
"I can play a lot longer, but Thibs does a great job of managing everybody's minutes," said Hamilton regarding his 26 minutes. "The game got away a little bit in the fourth quarter. I think we were up around 14 so there was no need for me to be playing."
Now there is every reason to be playing.
Derrick Rose's absence presents a huge void that no one player can fill, but Hamilton will have to try. The guard certainly picked up the slack in the early going of game. When Rose was struggling with his shot, going 1-for-7 from the field, Rip dropped in 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting. He's the only other player besides Rose who can create on offense and dish out the assists. Rip's passing game is equally as valuable as his ability to score.
Yes, CJ Watson will take over for Rose as the backup point guard, but it will be Rip Hamilton who will have to fill No. 1's shoes.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.