Rip Hamilton returns to the starting lineup

This announcement came hours ago, which in internet time means it's almost last week's news. But it's official: Rip Hamilton will return to the starting lineup, beginning with tonight's game in Orlando. From Vince Ellis of the Free Press:

Pistons coach Michael Curry announced this morning that Rip Hamilton will be back in the starting lineup, playing alongside Rodney Stuckey, in an effort to jumpstart a team in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

"It’s nothing on Allen," Curry said. "He’s just a guy that needs the basketball and because of it that, it reduced the time Stuckey had the ball in his hands."

From A. Sherrod Blakely of Booth Newspapers:

However, Pistons head coach Michael Curry said the lineup change was going to happen regardless of Iverson's health.

"Hopefully, with the change, more so than Allen and Rip, maybe more guys can play better with this change. That's what we're seeking."

From Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Curry said he talked at length to Iverson Thursday night. Curry said Iverson isn't happy with the decision but he expects him to handle it like a pro.

"He's been trying to play hurt and he's been frustrated with that," Curry said. "He didn't react any different than Rip did when I told talked him about coming off the bench earlier. Neither guy wants to come off the bench, but this is the hand we've been dealt. If Allen is healthy, once he steps on the court I am convinced he will give us 110 percent."

As it happens, there's no guarantee that Iverson will even play tonight -- McCosky reports AI was scheduled for an MRI today on his back -- but the switch will presumably be permanent, which, in MC-speak, means at least a week or two.

Will the "new" lineup help put an end to Detroit's eight-game losing streak? Will it provide the spark this team needs to stop their free fall out of the playoff race? Will a new backcourt mate shake Rodney Stuckey out of his slump? Will I stop asking rhetorical questions no one knows the answer to?

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