The Detroit Pistons are one of basketball's great teams, having won a total of five championships, three of which were in the NBA. Their most recent championship took place in 2004, when they pummeled the Lakers. Their arena, the Palace of Auburn Hills was one of the very first super-arenas in the NBA.
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Originally from Fort Wayne, the Detroit Pistons joined the NBA in 1948. The team experienced little success for more than three decades; 1948 to 1981. After a 16-66 record in 1979-1980 and a 21-61 record in 1980-81, the Pistons experienced a turnaround when they acquired Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson.
In 1987 this Pistons team earned the nickname "The Bad Boys" due to their super-physical, defensive style of play. The 1988-89 Pistons moved to the widely known Palace of Auburn Hills. They were dominant, winning 63 games and roaring through the playoff, where they swept the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals. The following year the Pistons would defend their title. Their second championship ended in dramatic fashion with an 18-foot buzzer beater by Vinnie Johnson with .7 seconds left in the game. Two years later, key players Laimbeer and Thomas retired, marking a swift decline in the Pistons' dominance.
Not until the new millennium would the Pistons experience playoff success again. With a star-studded lineup of Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace, the Pistons faced the equally well-equipped Lakers in the finals. Although critics favored the Los Angeles, Detroit emerged victorious after five games to secure their 3rd championship.
Although the Pistons have made several playoff runs since then, they have yet to experience success similar to that of the 2003-2004 team. The Pistons are clearly in a rebuilding period but considering the loyalty of their fans and the team's legacy, expect to see a stout Pistons team just around the corner.
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