The Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls were boasting about their defense, not bemoaning their shortage of offense, as they rehearsed for tonight’s Game 5 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference championship series.
“Sure, from an offensive standpoint, that was an ugly game,” Piston captain Isiah Thomas said about Monday’s 86-80 victory over the Bulls, in which each team made only 27 baskets in 48 minutes.
“But if you take into account the kind of defense that was being played out there, I think you’d appreciate that it wasn’t a bad basketball game at all. It was a good defensive basketball game. Some good baseball games end up 1-0, you know,” Thomas said.
Michael Jordan of the Bulls, limited to 23 points on a playoff-low 15 shots, agreed, saying: “I think more people should be talking about Detroit’s defense and less about our lack of offense, although we definitely need to start making more of our shots if we’re going to win this thing. Against Detroit’s defense, nothing comes easy.”
The Pistons and Bulls are tied, 2-2, in this best-of-seven series, with home-court advantage having returned to Detroit. Tonight’s game at Auburn Hills, Mich., will begin at 5 p.m., Pacific time, with all key players reported healthy.
Detroit center Bill Laimbeer is the one starter who might be hurt. Responding to a rumor that he broke a bone in his left hand in Monday’s game, Laimbeer was coy. “I don’t think so, and that’s the last thing I’ll say about it,” he said. . . . Mary Thomas, Isiah’s mother, chose not to attend either game at Chicago Stadium. “The fans are so rude to me,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I live in Chicago and I love Michael Jordan. He’s a sweetie pie. But what I don’t like is when all the fans jump up in front of me and call Isiah all kinds of names and Rick Mahorn all kinds of names and Bill Laimbeer all kinds of names. I just said I wasn’t going because I didn’t want to get into an argument with anybody. I know me. Somebody would have had to get me out of jail.”