The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Auburn Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Eastern Conference Central Division. The team plays its home games at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The team was founded over 160 miles away in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons in 1941, as a member of the National Basketball League (NBL). The Pistons joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1948. In 1949, the NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. Since moving to Detroit in 1957, the Pistons have won three NBA championships in 1989, 1990 and 2004.
The Pistons name originated from the team’s then owner Fred Zollner who named the club after his personal business. When the team moved to Detroit in 1957, Zollner dropped his name from the nickname but retained Pistons.
The first of the Pistons’ three Championships was in 1989. The Pistons had dominated the Eastern Conference, winning 63 games during the regular season. After sweeping the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, the Pistons beat the Chicago Bulls in six games, earning a second straight trip to the NBA Finals. In the season before, the Lakers had beaten them in a tough, seven-game series. The Pistons won the series in a four-game sweep, marking the first time a team (Lakers) had swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, only to be swept in the finals.
For their rough physical play, and sometimes arrogant demeanor, Pistons' center Bill Laimbeer nicknamed the team 'The Bad Boys'. The name became an unofficial 'slogan' for the Pistons throughout the next season as well. 1990 saw a second consecutive Championship win, this time a 4-1 win against the Portland Trail Blazers. The key moment in Game 5 of the Finals was Vinnie Johnson's series-clinching shot in the final seconds. Johnson landed a 14-footer in the last second, beating Portland 92–90 in Game 5 of the Finals, thus giving Detroit the World Championship.
'The bad boys' team featured great players besides Bill Laimbeer. Rick Mahorn, Dennis Rodman, John Sally, Joe Dumars, Mark Aguirre and the legendary centre Isiah Thomas made the coach Chuck Daily a happy man.
Their latest win to date was 2004 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers who held home court advantage, played under a best-of-seven format. Although the Lakers were the heavy favorite, the Pistons won the series four games to one to win their first title since 1990 and their fifth overall (three NBA Championships, two NBL Championships). Piston point guard Chauncey Billups was named the Finals MVP of the series. The series was noted for the perceived underdog, the Pistons, dominating a Laker team that had four future Hall of Famers.
Currently the Pistons’ future looks highly promising and they are a team well worth watching.
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