Filling in superbly for injured starter Jason Richardson,
Cheaney scored a season-high 24 points and hit two key shots in
overtime in the Golden State Warriors' 87-85 victory over Detroit
on Wednesday night.
With Cheaney playing 50 minutes in his biggest offensive game in
five years, Golden State held off the Pistons in the tense final
minutes of overtime. Cheaney made a leaning jumper with 1:44 left
in the extra period, and he hit a bank shot on another drive with
19.7 seconds left.
"I don't mind taking those shots," Cheaney said. "Anybody on
this team can take the big shots, but the guys knew I was feeling
good. I felt real confident with the ball in my hands."
Cheaney hadn't reached 24 points since March 5, 1998, but he
went 12-of-16 in his best game since signing as a free agent in the
offseason. He's hitting 58.8 percent of his shots this season.
The Warriors also capped a superb defensive game with 3½ minutes
of shutout ball to begin the overtime. With Cheaney harassing
Richard Hamilton into 7-of-20 shooting, Detroit shot 40 percent and
made 20 turnovers.
Cliff Robinson also helped put away his former teammates,
hitting a jumper with 43 seconds left and playing solid defense as
the Warriors held Detroit to 2-of-8 shooting in overtime.
"It this situation tonight, a younger team probably would have
crumbled," said Nick Van Exel, who played 46 minutes on a sore
knee. "We have a veteran team, though. That makes a big difference
in tough situations like this."
Golden State got its fourth straight home victory over the
Pistons, while Detroit lost in overtime for the first time in more
than two years.
Detroit couldn't score in overtime until Ben Wallace's dunk with
1:30 left, but Van Exel and Mike Dunleavy each missed a free
throw in the final seconds to keep the Pistons in it. Tayshaun Prince matched his career high with 16 points, but missed a long
jumper at the buzzer.
Detroit went 8-0 in overtime games last season. The Pistons
hadn't lost in overtime since April 17, 2001 against Toronto.
"There was a stretch in overtime where we couldn't get anything
to fall," said Prince, who went 8-of-11 while the other four
Detroit starters went 15-of-45. "It was a tough situation for us.
We had long droughts where it seemed like there was a lid on the
Brian Cardinal, who spent the last two seasons with Detroit, had
13 points as one of the nine players in uniform for the Warriors.
Richardson, their leading scorer, sat out with a sprained left
ankle as the Warriors won for the 16th time in their last 18 home
games against Eastern Conference teams.
Billups had 19 points and a season-high 12 assists for the
Pistons, who lost their second game in two days following a
five-game winning streak. Hamilton added 17 points.
Wallace missed the Pistons' loss at Sacramento on Tuesday night
with a sprained ankle, but he had nine points and 11 rebounds in a
surprising return to the lineup.
"We just didn't play. We didn't compete," Wallace said.
"We've been struggling on the West (Coast) for the last couple of
years. We've just got to find a way."
Wallace blanketed Van Exel on the final play of regulation,
forcing a terrible shot as time expired. Van Exel, playing with a
sprained thumb and a surgically repaired knee that's still not back
to full strength, went 3-of-15 from the field.
Hamilton hit a short floater in the final minute of regulation
to give Detroit a 78-76 lead, but Erick Dampier got a rebound and
scored over three defenders with 37 seconds left.
Dampier had 12 points and 14 rebounds while playing solid
defense before fouling out in OT.
Warriors trainer Tom Abdenour is the brother of Pistons
trainer Mike Abdenour. ... Bob Sura, traded from Golden State to
Detroit last summer, played just seven minutes against the
Warriors. Robinson, acquired by the Warriors in the deal, had eight
points, six rebounds and five assists ... Dampier leads the league
with six double-doubles in points and rebounds.