ESPN Network: | | | | ABCSports | EXPN | INSIDER | FANTASY   

Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Bird steal, pass to DJ, leads to Celtics win
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

May 26, 1987

Once, it was John Havlicek who stole the ball. Today, it's Larry Bird.

The Detroit Pistons are poised to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals in Boston Garden. With the Celtics trailing by a point, Bird's shot is blocked by rookie Dennis Rodman and the ball goes out of bounds off Boston's Jerry Sichting with five seconds left.

Pistons guard Isiah Thomas, whose jumper had given Detroit a 107-106 lead with 17 seconds left, takes the ball out from the side, and lofts a pass to center Bill Laimbeer, who is alone and has his arms up near Boston's basket.

Out of nowhere comes Bird, who anticipates the throw as he leaves his man. He intercepts the toss and almost instantly passes to a cutting Dennis Johnson, whose layup with a second left gives the Celtics a 108-107 victory. Bird finishes with 36 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and, yes, one steal.

The Pistons will win Game 6 at home, but the Celtics will take the series with a seventh-game victory in Boston.

Send this story to a friend | Most sent stories