Hughes, who had been a DNP-Coach's Decision for seven straight games, entered the game against the Pistons at the start of the second quarter last night. It marked the first time he had played since Dec. 30.
Hughes, who went scoreless and shot 0-for-4 in 8:24, said after the game that he didn't know he was going in until D'Antoni called his name at the start of the second quarter. And he didn't seem any more pleased with the situation. "It's a joke," Hughes said. He said he didn't want to add anything more until he watched the game tape. "I have to look at film,'' he said, "and see if I'm really that bad."
Before the game, Hughes revealed to reporters that he was so upset about being stuck on the bench that he had gone to Walsh to talk about the problem he was having with his coach.
Asked about the situation before the game, D'Antoni said he might make changes in his rotation sometime soon. Then he added, "I'm not ready to switch someone in and out yet." Somehow, he became ready only an hour and a half later.
Afterward, he said he had been thinking about playing Hughes for a couple of days. "I thought we might catch lightning in a bottle," D'Antoni said about his decision to insert Hughes when the Knicks led 24-23 after a quarter. "But it didn't work out." No, it didn't. The Knicks were a minus-10 while he was on the floor, and they ended the half trailing 51-37.
"It's frustrating. I want to play," Hughes said before the game. "I haven't done anything to warrant not playing."