HAMILTON SAYS CRAFTY BOWEN GETS AWAY WITH MURDER
AUBURN HILLS -- His jaws grew tight. He paused and tried to measure his words.
You could tell San Antonio Spurs guard Bruce Bowen was upset. He'd just been ripped by Pistons guard Rip Hamilton who complained that Bowen gets away with dirty tricks that officials don't see.
A night after having to defend Hamilton on the court Bowen stood at a podium at The Palace defending his defense.
"He gets away with so much stuff that it is crazy," Hamilton said.
Welcome to our first full blown controversy in an otherwise love fest NBA Finals. A new subplot was introduced to Game 4 Thursday night at The Palace. Will officials read Hamilton's word and take a closer look at Bowen? Or will it be business as usual for the crew this evening?
Hamilton called Bowen a crafty defender. But he said part of his craft includes hand holding, jersey grabbing, rib rubs, hip checks, hand slapping and bumps of the rump. If this is true is Bowen really an NBA super defender or a member of the WWE?
When reporters relayed Hamilton's complaints Bowen shook his head in amazement.
"It seems to be a top song now," Bowen said.
In other words he has heard this before. Bowen is a crafty defender. He is physical and does slap Hamilton and whomever else he is defending. But Hamilton is crafty too. Remember he studied Reggie Miller, the master of deception, and Hamilton pushes and tugs also.
It is a very interesting little battle as these two teams battle for the heavyweight championship of hoops.
Bowen, of course, simply wishes the talk was about basketball. It no longer is. Hamilton opened a Pandora's box that will only get bigger as more media members learn of Hamilton's accusations.
Hamilton has been the Pistons' most frustrated player. He constantly gripes at officials and believes Bowen is being allowed to manhandle him. It appears as if Hamilton is begging for whistles 24/7 now.
Bowen was so upset he looked like he wanted to implode.
"I'm crafty? It is amazing to hear things like that about you, " Bowen said. "I think everybody gets away with something at a particular point of the game. When you start singling people out for what they do it is like a player and officials. You always want to complain that officials are not doing a good job, but when you look at the whole tape you see the officials miss some calls they could have called on you. "
Bowen was credited with holding Hamilton to 33 percent shooting in the first two games of the NBA Finals. But Hamilton broke loose for 24 points in Tuesday’s 96-79 Pistons victory which sliced the Spurs lead to 2-1.
Hamilton abandoned pump fakes because Bowen is too disciplined to fall for the fake. He went straight at Bowen or shot as soon as he got the ball in his sweet spot.
"I just have to do a better job of getting a hand up on each shot, " Bowen said. "I did a poor job of chasing him on some screens and because of who he is he made me pay for that. "
Bowen knows Hamilton wanted to get his message to tonight's officials. It is part of the gamesmanship during a series. Just because the final whistle blows on a game does not mean the games have ended.
But Bowen is crafty.
"It takes two to tangle, " Bowen said. "It is usually not one guy. The officials are watching us closely. It is a shame we can't just say basketball is being played and see who the best team. But we have to bring in other things that really have nothing to do with it."