AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Beyond their home arena and success on defense, there's little the Detroit Pistons have in common with the 1989 and '90 NBA
champion Bad Boys.
"The biggest difference is we had scorers all over the place," Bill Laimbeer, the most notorious Bad Boy, said on Friday. "People got on us for
holding teams under a 100, but we could score 115 easy.
"And, we won two championships."
The Pistons will face the Los Angeles Lakers -- just like the Bad Boys did in 1989 -- Sunday night on the road in Game 1.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson agrees that these Pistons aren't quite so bad.
"They're pretty lightweight," Jackson joked.
Often lost in the highlights of Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn and Isiah Thomas slugging opponents are the points they scored.
The Pistons averaged 106.6 points during the 1988-89 regular season and were second in the league defensively, allowing 100.8 points a game.
In the playoffs, they averaged 100.6 points a game and led the league in defense, giving up 92.9 points a game.
"We were much better offensively than anybody ever gave us credit for," former Pistons coach Chuck Daly said. "And in those days, just to get to the
NBA Finals, we had to get through Boston's Hall of Fame frontcourt to get to Los Angeles and its Hall of Famers.
"With 29 teams instead of 25, the talent in the NBA is a lot more spread out now."
This season, the Pistons scored just 90.1 points a game.
Detroit and San Antonio gave up an NBA-low 84.3 points a game, and the Pistons set records by holding 36 straight teams under 100 and five in a row
In the playoffs, Detroit ranks first in points allowed, 80.3 per game, while averaging 86.1 points.
"People have tried to put the 'Bad Boys II' label on us, but we're a totally different team," said Lindsey Hunter, who was drafted by the Pistons in
1993 and spent his first seven seasons with them. "As soon we lose a game, some people will be screaming, 'Well, they're not as good as the Bad
The Pistons have a swarming defense, but they rarely knock opponents down like the Bad Boys did.
"They got in all kinds of fights and I don't think we got in one this year," said Darvin Ham, who grew up watching the Pistons in Saginaw. "They had
more scorers, but we're extremely more athletic.
"If we could get this team to play that team, it would be interesting."
Mahorn doesn't think so.
"It wouldn't be close," Mahorn said. "We would be so far in their heads, they wouldn't know what to do.
"Somebody needs to give this team its own nickname."
Dumars, the nice guy on the Bad Boys, is now Pistons president of basketball operations. He has built a team set up for success now -- and in the
"I hesitate to compare the two teams, because one team won two NBA championships and the other is only getting to the Finals for the first time,"
Dumars said. "But I guess if you have to compare, I would say both teams took tremendous pride in defense and both had an edge to them."
Before Rasheed Wallace was acquired on Feb. 19, the Pistons didn't have a player that regularly played with emotion or made colorful comments.
Now, they do.
After Wallace said Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal was the most dominating player in the league, he bristled when asked if the Pistons are intimidated by
"That don't mean we gotta be scared of him," Wallace said. "Look at Michael Jordan, he was the most dominating player at his time. Was Joe Dumars
scared of him?
"If you got a punk dude guarding (O'Neal), then yeah, you gonna be scared of him. But if you got a dog with heart, then you go out and get it."
[Edited on 6/4/2004 by Ben]