What made Detroit perform so badly in 1991?

Discussion in 'Pistons and NBA' started by Zeeboe, Mar 20, 2006.

  1. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Second Round Draft Pick

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    Not sure if there are any old-school fans here but if there are.....

    The Detroit Pistons were the three-time Eastern Conference champions and two-time NBA world champions yet they won only 50 games in 1991, but they were still able to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and then they got very badly sweep by their rivals, the Chicago Bulls. The same team they punked our yearly up until that point.

    Then in 91', the bad boys get destroyed very badly. So what do you think the problem was that year? In my view, injuries and age is what held them back. 1991 was just a bad year for us. An end of an era you might say. Even though it was 15 years ago, it still depresses me thinking about it since they were such an amazing team back then and to go out the way they did was not a story book ending. I wish they would have at least ONE game against Chicago. It would have been especially nice if it went to seven games, triple overtime with MJ getting the winning shot. That would have been a great passing of the torch game. But in 91', the Pistons didn't pass the torch to Jordan and the boys. The Bulls grabbed the torch from the Pistons and torched them with it.
  2. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    If you look around this site you will find plenty of Bad Boy info. When did Beer quit because he and Zeke were squabbling? When did we lose Buddha? When did we get < I can't think of his name but he was a big with a very small head>?
  3. jzchen

    jzchen Bench Warmer Forum Donor

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    Terry Mills, you mean?

    [​IMG]
  4. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    No, Mills has a huge head compaired to this guy. lol
  5. max

    max All-Star

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    The reason for the 50 wins was Isiah being hurt for most of the season. We still had Vinnie Johnson and he was picking up the slack due to an inability of the GM to find a suitable backup at the time.

    In the post-season I recall the 1st round with Indy going 5, then Boston in the 2nd round I think went 6? BOS was aging but still good.

    Then in the Conf finals is when the Pistons walked off the court after getting swept in game 4 by the Bulls. Waked off with a couple of sec's left in protest of what they thought was biased called series by the refs. It infuriated Chuck Daly that they did not at least shake hands which contributed to him leaving the team.

    What happened that series was a travesty and one of the darkest moments in the NBA fueling all kinds of conspiracy theories about getting Jordan in the Finals. It was a badly called series because the league decided to change what was and was not a foul that series thus taking away a lot of what the old Pistons did defensivly to win games. That series ended the bboys run.
  6. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    O.k., here's where I get kicked off the forum.

    I was on the other side there in 1991, three years into my new life in Chicago, and I don't remember that last series that way at all. It's hard to remember any of those Bulls-Pistons games that didn't have at least a dozen Piston's fouls uncalled, most ending with some guy in the third row. And at least another dozen that would have been flagrant fouls today and gotten guys kicked for the next game. And of course, the game four walk-off merely solidified our POV that we were watching a bunch of thugs who deserved to go down.

    Interesting to think back though about that style of play (a little bit of which I wish for from the current bunch every now and then - just knock somebody down if they try to get in the paint) and whether it would fly at all today. Hard to imagine two or three starters wouldn't get kicked out in the first half in today's kinder gentler NBA.
  7. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    We lost fair and square. A lot of teams starting doing what the Bulls did, which was getting physical first. Sometimes the refs called it, sometimes not. (The Pistons had made a living on that.) But by '91 so many teams had decided to take it to the Pistons, the team got worn down. Every night was a war, the guys were getting older, and the hunger wasn't there after five years of incredibly intense 100-game seasons. Meanwhile Chicago was shaping a team specifically designed to compete against the Pistons, who stopped changing after the Aguirre trade and became a stationary target.

    PS. And yes, the league office wanted us gone so precious Michael could take center stage.
  8. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    That series was the graveyard for physical basketball. To that point, the Pistons had held off the Bulls with tough, intimidating defense.

    That was how things worked in the old days. You knocked on the door of the Conference Champs until you could overtake them. As Detroit did to Boston, Chicago did to the Pistons after being eliminated 3 straight years by Detroit.

    The "walk off" is a bit overplayed. Dumars and Salley did not walk off with the rest of the team. It was the first obvious sign of division from the locker room cartel of Thomas and Laimbeer.

    Dumars and Jordan had mutual respect for one another, and legend has it that JD wished Jordan good luck in the Finals.

    You have to bear in mind that the Pistons drafted horribly since 1986. After Rodman and Salley were drafted, and the Pistons added Buddha and Aguirre, the Pistons did not bring in a significant free agent, draft pick or trade acquisition prior to that series. They were getting old, and years of deep playoff runs were starting to catch up with them.

    Overlooked in all of this is that the Bulls were the last true NBA dynasty, and the Pistons were at the end of their run while Jordan was starting his.
  9. dba

    dba All-Star Moderator 1x Fantasy Champion Forum Donor

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    It's weird the way it turns. I'm now watching Laimbeer on game broadcasts and thinking he seems like a guy it might be fun to have a barbeque with. And of course, Rodman became a Chicago hometown hero during the second run of 'ships. Everyone always liked Dumars, and the other guys were o.k. Except of course for Thomas. I still can't see him without wanting to plant that goofy smiling / pouting face somewhere.

    The difference between those series and what we might call a physical one today is like night and day. Certainly one of Mr Stern's biggest changes to the game.

    O.k., I'll stop hi-jacking this thread with my off topic stuff now. Thanks for indulging me and not throwing things.
  10. Capn

    Capn First Round Draft Pick

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    Did we also lose Rick Mahorn before the 90-91 season? I think that played a part in it two since we lose some of his toughness and defensive intensity.

    If the games of the bad boy's era were played today, the whole team would basically be ejected or fouled out. Today's game is more about the offense and letting players move freely (sort of like what hockey is trying to do) versus the whole shut down defense, make them think twice about coming into the paint.
  11. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    Yes, Mahorn was lost in the expansion draft right before the parade celebrating the Pistons' first title. Unfortunate timing that fed people's belief in the whole league conspiracy theory.
  12. max

    max All-Star

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    The only problem Piston fans had at the time is the play call changes in the middle of the post-season and without warning. Thats supposed to happen before the start of a season and the league is supposed to send out notice on how the games will be called.

    It should be noted that the bboys were not a popular team outside of Michigan. Not at all like the popularity our current team has. Back then I think everyone knew the Pistons got boned but did not care as long as they did not have to see them advance.

    This is also part of the reason why I buy more into Flips system than most fans. When you also have the ability to out score an opponent then you are less susceptible to the league taking away how you win games.

    No sweat though - Most NBA fans like the Pistons now. Instead of badboys its more like the goodboys.
  13. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    Good call Max but I would be happier if BBen kept a brass knuckle in his shorts, you know, just for emergencies.
    Didn't both Beer and Mahorn carry those?
  14. max

    max All-Star

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    Wasn't it nice to beat the Phil Jackson Lakers in 04 and watch Phil stammer around at the mic after game 5 trying to blame the refs for not calling enough fouls against Kobe? He just came across as a sore loser. Took 13 years but it was nice getting some payback. Not a single cheap shot that whole series.
  15. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Losing Horn was a blow, but imagine if they had lost VJ the previous year? He was left unprotected in the Miami/Orlando expansion draft.

    The '90 Pistons squad was mostly an 8 man rotation. 3 Bigs, 3 smalls and 2 forwards in Aguirre and Rodman. Daddy Rich made full use of that to go offense, defense, big or small.

    I still think that the failings in '91 have a lot to do with the complacency that set in after the second championship, and the inability of Jack McCloskey (The Trader) to add talent. You can see how JD has emphasized adding hungry vets each year. Dice, D Square, Delk. To be honest, the youth on the current squad is just a safety blanket. They'll only really play if there is a rash of injury. Like an insurance plan.
  16. Zeeboe

    Zeeboe Second Round Draft Pick

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    Okay, let's just say that all these problems we had back in 1991 were to disappear and age and injuries were not an issue, none of our key players retired and the referees were not bias and the Pistons were able to continue to be the bad boys we knew and loved...do you think they would have been able to beat Jordan and the Bulls in 91'?
  17. Capn

    Capn First Round Draft Pick

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    Short answer: Yes
  18. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    Oh hell yeah Max, I was saying it as it was going down.
    Look at Phil trying to scheme something to get the Lakers back in the series. Nothing worked. Ha!
    ...Zee, no because Jordan brought the truth. That truth being the Pistons 2 great players, Zeke and JD couldn't handle MJ and Pippen. Who were bigger, younger, faster and better shooters
  19. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    If you're asking whether the Pistons at their best could beat the Bulls at their best, I'd say yes ... because the Pistons were a truly deep team that thrived on competition, and the Bulls had plenty of weak links who never really had to step up that much.

    Now you can debate whether Rodman counts as a Piston or a Bull.
  20. MotownPride

    MotownPride Starter 2x Fantasy Champion

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    Short answer.

    Nope.

    It was Jordan's time. No way a chiseled Jordan was walking away with anything less than a championship that year. He was ready to assume his postition as NBA Legend.

    And that was very hard for me to admit because I am Bad Boys diehard fan.

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