By Elizabeth Aguirre
For the New Citizens Press
To Detroit Pistons head coach Richard Carlisle, the second encounter with the Golden State Warriors in nine days wasn’t fun until it was over.
The Pistons (39-23) defeated the Warriors (30-33) 107-105 thanks to a Chauncy Billups 3-pointer that sailed through the net just before the final buzzer sounded.
Despite leading by as many as 10 points early in the game, the Pistons were down by six with 2:10 left against a team that lost 138-133 in overtime the night before. But the six-point deficit didn’t bring the team down.
“I always think we got a shot until the final horn goes off,” said Piston forward Ben Wallace, who had 10 points 19 rebounds and five blocked shots against the Warriors.
The 22,076 person crowd cheered as the final horn did go off at the Palace, ending the Pistons’ second consecutive victory after suffering through a seven-game losing streak.
Besides the game winning shot, Billups led the team with 31 points and eight assists in 44 minutes played. Others scoring in double figures were forward/center Corliss Williamson (22), center Cliff Robinson (15) and guard Richard Hamilton (13).
The Pistons maintain their place at the top of the Eastern Conference, over No. 2 New Jersey and No. 3 Indiana, but recognize that there is still a long way to go.
“We gotta realize we didn’t play all that well,” said guard Jon Barry, pointing out that the Piston defense gave up 105 points. “We can’t do that with the Lakers.”
“It was a game we needed to get,” Barry added, “but we know we gotta play better.”
Carlisle suggested that the Piston’s troubles might have been caused by the challenge of playing after four days of rest.
“You could tell some of the guys were a little anxious,” Carlisle said.
The Warriors head back to Oakland with 1 win and 2 losses from their East Coast trip, but head coach Eric Musselman is not discouraged.
“The only thing negative in this game is the final outcome,” Musselman said, “because, again, 47 minutes and 50 seconds and we win the basketball game.”
Guard Gilbert Arenas led the Warriors in scoring, with 28 points.
March 23, 2003 – April 5, 2003 Edition