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You Tube Gold: Bird’s 1987 Steal Against The Pistons Dissected

One of the great plays in NBA history broken down

Detroit Pistons Vs. Boston Celtics At Boston Garden
BOSTON - MAY 26: The Boston Celtics bench reacts to final Celtics points as Larry Bird steals the ball and passes to Dennis Johnson for the winning basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons, May 26 ,1987.
Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Larry Bird wrote his legend all over the NBA book but in terms of clutch plays - of which there were many - the greatest one came against the Detroit Pistons in 1987.

Isaiah Thomas was going to inbound the ball to the most hated man in the NBA, Bill Laimbeer, when Bird stepped in front of Laimbeer, swiped the ball, then swayed on the baseline waiting for Dennis Johnson to cut to the basket.

Which he did of course, giving Boston a remarkable win in the game and series.

Years later, Thomas talked about it and illustrated the play and how Bird reacted after it was over. It’s a pretty great story.

Also, here’s an extended examination of the play.