Chicago Sun-Times

Rip Hamilton to start for Bulls tonight

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Rip Hamilton will make his first start for the Bulls tonight when the Pacers visit the United Center on Tuesday night in the final exhibition game.

If all goes well, it will be the first of many.

"We're going to see how everything goes," coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We're still trying to figure out what's best for the team. As of now that's what we're planning on. We'll just see how it goes."

Ronnie Brewer, who started opposite Derrick Rose in the exhibition opener, will play with the second team.

Thibodeau said he would like to get his starters more minutes tonight but may go easy on Hamilton.

"We'll see once he gets out there what he can handle," Thibodeau said. "I've got an idea of what I'd like him to do but you never know until it unfolds."

When asked if he would be nervous before playing his first home game at the United Center, Hamilton said he has been nervous before every game his entire career. Tuesday night will be no different.

Hamilton got a taste of what kind of reception he can expect from Bulls fans when the team hosted an event for season-ticket holders Monday night.

"At the autograph session last night, a lot of fans said, 'I used to hate you, but now I love you,'" Hamilton said, laughing. "It's a love-hate type of thing but I'm glad to be on this side of it."

Fans reluctant to cheer for a once-bitter rival may change their mind once they see what the key member of the Piston's 2004 NBA Championship team can bring to the Bulls.

"It gives us a catch-and-shoot game, size at his position and experience," Thibodeau said. "He knows how to read defenses. He has seen just about every defense there is and he knows where the holes are. Hopefully, we can take advantage of that."

Hamilton said the best part of playing with the Bulls is that they play as unselfishly as the Pistons teams he played on when they were at their best.

"That's the easiest part of the game," Hamilton said. "On this team there are no ball hogs, there are guys always trying to make plays for each other, trying to help each other out, and when you have that it makes the game so much easier. Regular season, you'll get different plays off individual talent but once the playoffs start you really need your teammates to help you get through."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on December 20, 2011 11:50 AM.

Starters may play more in return to UC was the previous entry in this blog.

Carlos Boozer busts out vs. Pacers is the next entry in this blog.

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