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November 06, 1987 - Image 13

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-11-06

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, November 6, 1987- Page 13



be champs



After a long wait, the basketball
teason is finally here.
It feels like it's been forever since
that Saturday afternoon in May when
the Celtics defeated the Pistons in
Game 7 of the Eastern Conference
finals, but the memories remain like
it was yesterday.
The Celtics jumping to to a two
fame lead after two convincing
victories in the Boston Garden. Isiah
Thomas predicting that Boston could
not win "in my house," and then
proving it with two blowout

possession and finally scored on a
three-pointer by Danny Ainge with
1:12 remaining to shatter Detroit's
chances and turn the game into a
free-throw contest with the defending
champs winning, 117-114.
IN THE END it was the
experience of Boston and the magic
of the Garden, with the little
leprechaun sitting on the rim batting
the ball back to the guys in green,
that did in the challenging Pistons.
That memorable series became
even more nightmarish for Detroit
fans after the final game when some
remarks by Rodman and Thomas
about Bird became a national
Forget about all of that now,
though, because a new season is here
and the Pistons are ready for some
excitement in their final year in the
All of the key players from last
year's squad are back and promise to
be even better. Detroit finally has all
the ingredients to win an NBA
The starting lineup is as good as
any in the league and Detroit has
more depth than anyone. In addition,
the Pistons' running game is one of
the league's best and they now have
the beef up front to grind it out with
the most physical teams around. Yes
- the Pistons are a legitimate
contender to dethrown the champion

Los Angeles Lakers.
have a team with a true superstar,
Thomas; an automatic inside scoring
threat, Dantley; two tough, bruising
rebounders, Laimbeer and Mahorn; a
hot shooting sixth man, Johnson; a
great defensive guard, Dumars; two
fast, aggressive, big youngsters,
Rodman and John Salley; and a
seven-footer full of potential,
William Bedford.
Put all of this talent together on a
hungry team that has learned what it
takes to win and has gained the
experience to do it, and you have the
next NBA champions.
It won't be easy, though. The
Pistons will get stiff competition in
the East from the Atlanta Hawks and
the Celtics, again.
Atlanta has a very talented
collection of players that edged out
Detroit for the Central Division title
last season. The Dominique
Wilkins-led Hawks are loaded at
forward, but don't have the backcourt
to keep up with the Pistons. The
Pistons put that doubt in the Hawks'
minds last year when they
convincingly beat them in the
playoffs, four games to one.
Most likely, the Eastern
championship will once again be
Detroit vs. Boston. The Celtics
hung on for their lives in the last
confrontation and won't be so lucky


Golden Words


victories by an average margin of 22
points. One of those games featuring
a takedown of Larry Bird by Bill
Laimbeer that led to Bird throwing
the ball at Laimbeer's face.
At that point, the series became a
best two-out-of-three and moved
back to Boston, where the Pistons
Supposedly could not win. However,
;fter Dennis Rodman blocked a Bird
Shot with five seconds left, Detroit
was celebrating a win in the Garden.
That is, until Thomas made a
foolish pass that Bird turned into
,The Steal and a Boston win.
THIS GAME also had a violent
moment as Robert Parish
maliciously threw three punches in
'the direction of Laimbeer's jaw and
did not get ejected, or even get a foul
4alled against him.
Parrish was suspended for Game
ix, though, and the Pistons broke
open a close game in the fourth
quarter at the Silverdome to force a
eciding Game Seven back in
And what a memorable game it
rwas. A back and forth thriller that
as all a championship game should
e. An unlikely hero, Joe Dumars,
fed the visitors with 35 points, but
Sis team was dealt a fatal blow late
n the third quarter when two of its
fop players, Vinnie Johnson and
drian Dantley, collided going after
i loose ball and were unable to
contribute down the stretch.
M The Pistons hung close and were
lied at 99 with three minutes left to
flay. The Celtics then grabbed six
;traight offensive rebounds on one

this time. Besides getting old, the
Celtics lack depth and will be
severly hurt by any injuries. One
key player, Kevin McHale, is already
out for half the year and his full
return to health seems questionable.
Even if he does come back, Boston
will not have enough to get the
home-court advantage this year. And
without that, the Pistons would have
won last year, and will win this
SO THAT leaves the West. The
Pistons are simply a better team
than Seattle, Houston, or Dallas, but
will most likely play the champion
Lakers. In fact, that is the same
Fridays in The Daily

prediction that Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated was accurate up
to that point, but erred in picking
the winner. The Lakers can not
match the Pistons depth or
toughness inside and even though
they have the better starting lineup,
the Lakers will not win their second
straight title.
One reason that the Lakers will
not win is because NBA champions
simply do not repeat. It hasn't
happened since 1969 and as good as
the champs are, they are no better

Michigan Daily

than any of the other recent
champions who tried to repeat. An
injury to Magic Johnson, Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar, or James Worthy
could knock out the Lakers if
complacency doesn't.
So it's that simple, the Pistons
will win it all.
Maybe that heart-wrenching loss
to the Celtics last year shouldn't be
forgotten. Because when the Detroit
Pistons win the first World
Championship in their history,
those memories will make it feel all
the more special.

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