Pistons get Rip-roaring win over Raptors

Published Dec. 22, 2010 8:39 p.m. ET


The Detroit News

Richard Hamilton admitted he played with anger during the Pistons' 115-93 victory over the Raptors Wednesday night at the Air Canada Center. It was difficult for him coming off the bench and it was even more difficult for him to read stories that said he quit on his team.

But once he was finally on the court the game looked easy for Hamilton, who blistered the Raptors for 35 points on 13-for-20 shooting. He was at peace with himself although storm clouds swarmed around him.

"God don't like ugly," Hamilton said with a smile. "That was the thing I had on my mind tonight. I had to make a statement, all the stuff that was talked about. I just wanted to make a statement."

Hamilton made a statement from his first touch to his last. He was in the game for just a few seconds when he launched a 3-point shot that put the Pistons up for good. And he never let up until the Raptors were serenaded with boos from a crowd of 15,303.

Then Hamilton did what any good teammate does. He gave praise to Will Bynum and Tracy McGrady for making his job easy. Now Hamilton gets to slip away for a five-day Christmas break with his family, away from media and accusations.

He can now forget the bad press and the stress.

He certainly looked like a man who'd moved on against Toronto. But there was plenty on his mind. He wanted to prove that he remains a quality player. He wanted to make sure his team did not squander another 25-point lead to the same team, and he wanted to make peace with himself.

"It was hard when you are used to starting," Hamilton said. "What can you do but go out there and play and have fun.

"My teammates did a great of supporting me when I was a starter, so I had to go out there and be there for them. My mind-set was just to make a statement and go out and do what you do."

Hamilton was replaced in the starting lineup by Ben Gordon, who struggled offensively. He missed six of seven shots and finished with four points, although he chipped in five rebounds.

Gordon said he was hardly disappointed because the Pistons won their third game in the last four and now get time off before playing host to the Charlotte Bobcats Sunday at The Palace.

"I was not disappointed at all," Gordon said. "A lot of guys played well. I felt like it will come. I don't think my performance tonight was something I look back and be disappointed in. I missed a few shots, but that is the way it goes sometimes."

The Pistons led by as many as 32 points and shot 51.1 percent from the field. They got strong performances from Rodney Stuckey (21 points) and Tracy McGrady, who had season highs in points (17), assists (seven) and rebounds (seven). He also recorded three steals against the Raptors, who turned the ball over 23 times.

McGrady played with a swagger