Richard Hamilton's minutes were supposed to be limited significantly as he returned from the lineup from a lower back injury. But Thursday night against the Knicks, the Bulls veteran logged 25-plus minutes in an overtime victory — 11 more minutes than he play against the Raptors on Tuesday.

So much for a minutes limit.

"I felt good,'' Hamilton said. "It's that time of the year. Just try to push the button, speed up the game a little bit, try to be aggressive. I've always been confident I could come back. Things just happened.''

Hamilton entered Friday night's matchup against the Raptors with 3 minutes, 58 seconds left in the first quarter, and limited himself to 15 minutes as he was ejected for a flagrant 2 foul in the third quarter. Hamilton threw an elbow at the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan.

Although the Bulls would like to have Hamilton fresh for the playoffs, coach Tom Thibodeau downplayed the notion that Hamilton was overextended against the Knicks.

"Coming off a lot of minutes? I know how fixated everyone is on minutes,'' Thibodeau said. "I really don't really understand it, to be quite honest with you. When you look at total minutes for a season, I would say no one is overspent on our team.''

Actually, Luol Deng leads the NBA with an average of 39.1 minutes per game.