The bigger anniversary to celebrate is the first regular season game at The Palace, 25 years ago to the day. But I'd be remiss to not mention that 31 years ago on this day the Pistons' new head coach had one of his better games as a player against his future employer.
As you know, Cheeks was an All-Star point guard and he knew a thing or three about doing point guardy things. In his 16-year career, he averaged almost seven assists per game in about 31 minutes (almost eight assists per 36) and had an assist rate just under 30 before assist rates were cool.
One of Cheeks' best seasons was 1982-1983, his fifth in the league and incidentally the year the Sixers coasted to an NBA championship behind Cheeks, Moses, Dr. J and the Boston Strangler. The Sixers lost only 17 games during the regular season and AH single game in the playoffs. Cheeks was an all star, his first of four appearances, averaging nearly seven assists per game (ironically, down from 8.4 the year before) and 12.5 points on 58-percent true shooting.
Cheeks' fourth game that season -- same game number the Pistons will play tonight -- was against the similarly undefeated Pistons (4-0). Cheeks was in the middle of a hot stretch of four games in which he averaged 16.5 assists per game and he continued that streak against the Pistons with 16 points and 16 assists, his third-highest assist total that season. He had 21 (!) assists in a game the week before.
Cheeks' performance on Nov. 5, 1982 helped the Sixers knock off the Pistons for the first time, 120-109. He might not even think about it on this day, 31 years later, and it's not a fond memory (or a memory at all) for older Pistons fans, but it's a cool little anecdote nonetheless, about what the Pistons current man in charge on the sidelines was able to do on the court against the same franchise and many others.