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Pistons to retire Richard Hamilton’s jersey

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The Pistons retired Ben Wallace’s No. 3 and Chauncey Billups’ No. 1.

Next up from Detroit’s 2004 championship team? As expected, Richard Hamilton’s No. 32.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the club will honor and retire the jersey for Richard Hamilton during the 2016-17 season.  Hamilton will be honored during a halftime ceremony on Sunday, February 26 at 6:00 p.m. when the Pistons host the Boston Celtics at The Palace.

“Our franchise has a great legacy and it’s important to recognize the players who made our organization successful both on and off the court,” said Pistons owner Tom Gores.  “Rip’s numbers speak for themselves.  He was a top performer year in and year out, from the regular season through the playoffs and especially during the championship run of 2004.  He was relentless on the court and equally passionate about his teammates and the community.  We are excited to honor his success.”

Hamilton spent nine seasons with Detroit (2002-2011) leading the Pistons in scoring during eight of those nine seasons. He is one of just six players in Pistons’ franchise history to reach the 11,000-point plateau and one of five players to score 50-plus points in a game (51 at New York, 12/27/06).   During his tenure the club made six consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Finals (2003-2008), two trips to the NBA Finals (2004, 2005) and won the NBA Championship in 2004.  Hamilton was also named an NBA All-Star in three consecutive seasons from 2005-08. In 631 games as a Piston, the Coatesville, PA native averaged 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game and ranks sixth in points, free throws made and field goals made, seventh in assists, minutes and three-point field goals made and 10th in games played in franchise history.

“Detroit is where I celebrated the greatest achievements in my pro basketball career and to be recognized by the organization in this way, I’m honored,” said Hamilton.  “I look forward to sharing this experience with all the fans who supported me throughout my years as a Piston and look forward to celebrating in The Palace one final time. Yessirr.”

I would’ve retired Wallace’s and Billups’ numbers and left it there, but I also don’t have a problem with this approach – including the trickle-down effects. If they’re retiring Hamilton’s number, how can they not retire Rasheed Wallace’s? And if they retire Wallace’s number, how can they not retire Tayshaun Prince’s?

Hamilton cut tirelessly around off-ball screens for years in Detroit, a credit to his phenomenal conditioning. He was so smooth, he made mid-range shooting, face masks and the phrase “Yessir” cool. Hamilton’s best moments came in the 2004 Eastern Conference finals, when Hamilton’s scoring ability stood out in a hard-fought, grinding, defense-first matchup with the Pacers.

But his final years with the Pistons were so ugly, they bought out a hefty portion of his contract to dump him. It tarnished his legacy in Detroit. Time was necessary to heal those wounds.

Now, everyone can focus on the good times – and there were far more of those than bad. Hamilton helped turn the Pistons from good to great with an endearing style, and it’s nice to see him honored.

Grizzlies beat slumping Pacers, who fall into tie for final playoff spot

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Conley matched his career high with seven 3-pointers on his way to 36 points, helping the Memphis Grizzlies rout the Indiana Pacers 110-97 on Wednesday night.

Vince Carter had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Zach Randolph finished with 17 points as Memphis snapped a four-game losing streak. Conley went 13 for 21 from the field.

Paul George led the Pacers with 22 points, Aaron Brooks, who provided an early spark from outside the arc, had 18 points, and Thaddeus Young finished with 16.

Indiana lost for the fourth time in five games.

Memphis played without All-Star center Marc Gasol, who missed his third straight game with a left foot strain. But Conley helped the Grizzlies get off the fast start, and Pacers were never able to catch up.

Memphis led by as many as 22 in the second quarter and carried a 72-53 advantage into the break. Conley scored 22 points in the first half, and the Grizzlies went 10 for 17 from beyond the arc in the first two periods.

Brooks made four 3-pointers and scored 14 in the first half for Indiana.

The Grizzlies led 96-79 after three, and the sliding Pacers never threatened in the fourth.

Indiana (37-38) dropped into a tie with Miami for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Both are two games behind Milwaukee and Atlanta.

The Heat, Bucks and Hawks all won Wednesday night.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Brooks made a 3-pointer in the first quarter to reach 800 for his career. … Indiana dropped to 0-8 in road games on the second night of a back-to-back.

Grizzlies: JaMychal Green was out with left shoulder soreness. That caused Memphis to use its 22nd different starting lineup this season. … Memphis scored 38 points in the first quarter, matching its highest point total for any quarter this season. … Memphis has made at least 10 3-pointers in 36 games. … In the third quarter, Carter passed Ray Allen (24,505) for 22nd in NBA history for career points scored. … Reserve guard Andrew Harrison left in the third quarter with a right ankle injury.

PACERS HOMECOMINGS

Pacers forward Thaddeus Young played high school basketball in Memphis and still lives there. Pacers guard Monta Ellis has a home in the Eads community east of Memphis.

HOME STRETCH

Memphis (41-34), which sits seventh in the Western Conference playoff race, has a beneficial schedule down the stretch. Of its seven remaining games, five are at home, and five are against teams with losing records.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Visit Toronto on Friday.

Grizzlies: Host the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.

Three Mavericks teammates restrain Devin Harris, who still gets ejected (video)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dallas guard Devin Harris was ejected from Wednesday night’s 121-118 loss to New Orleans after angrily protesting calls made by official Ben Taylor.

Harris was assessed two quick technical fouls by Taylor, the first after Harris protested Taylor’s decision to whistle him for a personal foul when he collided with Pelicans’ guard Jordan Crawford.

The impact with Crawford sent Harris crashing to the court, marking the second time in the period that Harris had gone down hard. The first time, no foul was called when a collision with Pelicans’ guard E'Twaun Moore left Harris flat on his back.

When Harris was assessed the first technical, he went into a tirade and had to be restrained by teammates as he advanced toward Taylor. That triggered his ejection.

Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon beats shot clock, Celtics with dagger (video)

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Who should win Rookie of the Year?

Joel Embiid has been, by far, the best rookie while on the court, but a season-ending injury will limit him to just 31 games. Malcolm Brogdon has been next best over the full course of the season. Dario Saric is making a heck of a finishing kick, and with a couple weeks left, he can still catch Brogdon.

But Brogdon got his own late signature moment in the Bucks’ 103-100 win over the Celtics tonight.

With the Bucks up one in the final seconds and the shot clock nearing expiration, Brogdon hit an off-balance jumper with 3.9 seconds left to produce the final margin.

Milwaukee’s win drops Boston (48-27) to second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Cavaliers (47-26). The Bucks (39-36) keep pace with the Hawks in a tie for fifth.

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.