For the Pistons point forward Grant Hill it really didn’t matter that 1998-99 was a lockout-shortened season.
On February 8th, 1999 the Wizards were in town and in the just third game of shortened season Pistons ‘Mr.Nice’ was eager to prove everyone in the Palace that the long break didn’t take effect his stamina and shooting touch.
The 1998-99 Wizards were an experienced group of proved veterans – the starting line-up included guards Rod Strickland and Mitch Richmond, forwards Calbert Cheaney and Juwan Howard, center Terry Davis. The bench featured potentially huge contributors in Tracy Murray, Ben Wallace and Otis Thorpe coming off the bench.
Calbert Cheaney, the Wizards defensive specialist, was assigned to guard versatile Hill but this hasn’t exactly worked out for coach Bickerstaff’s squad.
Isolated on the wing, Hill would have his way with Cheaney, whom, as a player, he knew very well all the way from the NCAA level. Detroit’s #33 would either score or get fouled on a play, which resulted with the new Pistons’ individual record of 31 points scored in the first half of play.
In the second half, Hill got much more attention from the Wizard’s defenders and thus draw numerous double-teams on him. But Pistons shooting guard Jerry Stackhouse was on the money that night and he lit up the Wizards with 29 points of his own, connecting on 3-6 three-point tries.
For the shortened season Hill played all 50 games and averaged 21.1 points, 7.1 boards, 6.0 dimes and 1.6 steals per game. From just looking at those stats you can easily see why Hill was considered one of the most versatile players of his generation, along with his 2018 Naismith Hall of Fame classmate, Jason Kidd.
With the total of 46 points scored in the game Hill tied the Palace of Auburn Hills record for the most points in a game by any NBA player until then. He hit 14-21 shots from the field and a career-high 18-22 from behind the charity stripe, while grabbing 7 rebounds and dishing 7 dimes to his open teammates for a 3-point W over Wizards.
Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is a BN contributor and the co-author of the Amazon.com TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ (‘Drazen – Godine Zmaja’) which reveals the yet untold details from the life and career of the legendary NBA shooting guard Drazen Petrovic. He resides in Zagreb, Croatia, currently working on his third book which tells the untold story of the 1989 Green Card Five.