The 5 most disappointing seasons in Detroit Pistons’ history
#4: 1986-87 Detroit Pistons
For those of you who can remember how glorious the NBA was throughout the 1980s, you’ll also remember what a gut punch it was to see Isiah Thomas’s intended pass to Bill Laimbeer get intercepted by a dazzling Larry Bird late in the fifth game of the ’87 Eastern Conference Finals.
With five seconds remaining on the game clock, the Detroit Pistons had a one-point lead and possession of the basketball following a great blocked shot by Dennis Rodman that fortuitously ricocheted off of Boston’s Jerry Sichting before going into the stands and out of bounds.
Thomas, well aware that the Pistons were on the verge of stealing an important victory in Boston Garden and heading back to Detroit with a 3-2 series lead, managed to make a blunder for the ages when he somewhat lazily lobbed the ball toward Laimbeer, giving Bird the opening he needed to steal the ball and hit a streaking Dennis Johnson for an easy go-ahead basket that ultimately propelled the Celtics back to the NBA Finals for one last dance during the Bird-era.
The Pistons had to wait another year before getting their shot at the Lakers, leaving fans like me to rue a mistake that may have prevented the Pistons from winning the first of four NBA championships had we had a bit more luck on our side.