1957/58: After 16 years in the small town of Fort Wayne, Indiana the Pistons hit the road and ended up in Detroit. Owner Fred Zollner decided to keep the name Pistons since, Detroit is known as the automobile manufacturing capital of the world. In their first season in Detroit the Pistons played at the old Olympia posting a 33-39 record while finishing in second place, as George Yardley led the league with 27.8 ppg. In the playoffs the Pistons would get past the Cincinnati Royals in two straight games to reach the Western Finals. However, in the Western Finals they would be dominated in five games by the St. Louis Hawks, losing the final two games by a combined 78 points.
1958/59: In their second season in Detroit the Pistons struggle from the start posting a poor record of 28-44. However, by finishing in third place the Pistons would still sneak into the playoffs. In the playoffs the Pistons would be knocked off by the Minneapolis Lakers in a three game series.
1959/60: The Pistons continue to struggle as they post a 30-45 record. However, by finishing in second place the Pistons would make it back into the playoffs, where they would be swept by the Minneapolis Lakers in two straight games.
1960/61: The Pistons continue to lose more games they win at 34-45. However, once again they would make into the playoffs by finishing in third place. In the playoffs the Pistons would rally after losing the first two games on the road to force a fifth game in Los Angels against the Lakers. However, once again the Pistons would fall in the first round as they are beaten by 17 points in the decisive fifth game.
1961/62: The Pistons get a new arena of their own as they move into the Cobo Arena. However, on the court it was much of the same as the Pistons finished with a losing record of 37-43, but made the playoffs by finishing in third place. In the playoffs the Pistons would shock the Cincinnati Royals in four games to reach the Western Division Finals. However, with a trip to the NBA Finals on the line the Pistons would struggle dropping the first three games to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pistons would rally to win two straight games. However, with a chance to force a seventh game the Pistons would be beaten by the Lakers 123-117.
1962/63: The Pistons make the playoffs again with a losing record finishing in third place with a less then stellar 34-46 mark. However, there would be no trip the Western Finals this time as they are beaten by the St. Louis Hawks in four games.
1963/64: The losing finally catches up to the Pistons as they miss the playoffs for the first time since moving to Detroit, by posting a horrible 23-57 record which landed them in last place in the Western Division.
1964/65: As the Pistons continue to struggle, management decides to turn over the coaching reigns to 6’6″ Dave DeBusschere, who was only 24 and playing in his third NBA season. Under DeBusschere the Pistons would miss the playoffs for the second straight season finishing in fourth place with a 31-49 record.
1965/66: The Pistons continue to struggle, finishing in last place for the second time in three years with a league worst 22-58 record, as player-coach Dave DeBusschere averages double digits in scoring and rebounding.
1966/67: The experiment of Dave DeBusschere serving as player-coach is ended as he replaced in the middle of the season by Donnie Butcher. Under DeBusschere the Pistons would go on to finish in last place again with a record of 30-51. However, Guard Dave Bing would provide a bright spot and hope for the future by winning the Rookie of the Year with 20.0 ppg.
1967/68: With expansion the Pistons are moved to the Eastern Division where they don’t have to worry about as many long road trips to California. In their first year in the East the Pistons would end a four year playoff drought by posting a 40-42 record as Dave Bing leads the league in scoring with 27.1 ppg. However, the Pistons would make a quick exit in the playoffs as they are beaten by the Boston Celtics in six games.
1968/69: Just two years after being relieved of his coaching duties Dave DeBusschere is traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives in an early season trade. Without DeBusschere the Pistons would miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six years with a record of 32-50.
1969/70: The Pistons continue to struggle as they finish in last place with a terrible record of 31-5, as Dave Bing had no help posting a solid 22.9 ppg, which was tenth best in the league.
1970/71: The Pistons select St. Bonaventure star Bob Lanier in the first round. Lanier a 6-11 Center was physical presence and was the perfect complement for the outside shooting of Dave Bing. The Pistons would be shipped back out West as the NBA starts divisional play with the Pistons placed in the Midwest Division. The inside-outside combination of Bing and Lanier helps the Pistons post their first winning season since moving to Detroit at 45-37. However, in the tough Midwest Division the Pistons would finish in last place missing the playoffs again.
1971/72: Injuries limit Dave Bing to just 45 games as the Pistons take a major step backwards finishing in last place with an awful record of 26-56.
1972/73: Despite Bob Lanier and Dave Bing each averaging more then 20 points per game the Pistons miss the playoffs for the fifth straight season by finishing in 3rd place with a mediocre 40-42 record.
1973/74: With the 1-2 punch of Dave Bing and Bob Lanier leading the way the Pistons end five years of frustration by making the playoffs, with a solid record of 52-30, topping the 50-win mark for the first time in franchise history. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would be beaten by the Chicago Bulls in a hard fought seven game series. Following the season Fred Zollner who had owned the Pistons from the start all the way back in 1941 in the NBL sells the team to William Davidson.
1974/75: After topping 50 wins for the first time in franchise history the Pistons play mediocre basketball finishing in third place with a 40-42 record. However, under a newly expanded playoff format the Pistons would make it into the postseason. However, once again the Pistons would fall in the first round as they were beaten by the Seattle Supersonics in a three game series.
1975/76: Despite a poor record of 36-46 the Pistons are in a race for the Midwest Division until the final dyes of the season. By finishing in second place the Pistons would make it to the playoffs for the third straight season where they won a series for the first time in 14 years by beating the Milwaukee Bucks in a three game series. However, in the second round the Pistons would be knocked off by the Golden State Warriors in six games.
1976/77: The Pistons again challenge for the Midwest Division, as they fall six games short with a respectable 44-38 record. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would make another first round exit as they are beaten by the Golden State Warriors in a three game series.
1977/78: The Pistons string of four straight playoff appearances comes to an end as they struggle to finish in fourth place with a disappointing record of 38-44. It would also mark the Pistons final season at the Cobo Arena as they were set to move into the Pontiac Silverdome.
1978/79: Moving into the spacious Silverdome the Pistons hire a new Coach Dick Vitale who had been the popular coach at Detroit-Mercy University. In addition to a new arena and coach the Pistons found themselves in a new division as they were back in the Eastern Division playing in the Central Division. However, the Pistons would continue to struggle as they finished in fifth place with an awful 30-52 record.
1979/80: The Pistons decide to completely rebuild after getting off to another poor start which leads to the ouster of Coach Dick Vitale who would go on to become a popular television personality, with catch phrases like “diaper dandy” and “dipsee do dunk aroo.” However the Pistons were hardly awesome with a capital A as they finished dead last with a franchise worse record of 16-66 under Vitale’s replacement Richie Adubato.
1980/81: Under new Coach Scotty Robertson the Pistons continued to struggle finishing in last place for the second straight season with an awful 21-61 record. Following the season the Pistons would begin to lay the foundation for the future by selecting Isaiah Thomas, who had just led the University of Indiana to a National Championship with the second overall pick.
1981/82: In his first season with the Pistons Isiah Thomas would average a soiled 17.0 ppg. However, he was out done by fellow first round pick Kelly Tripuka who averaged 21.6 ppg in his rookie season. The two rookies would each help the Pistons get back into playoff contention as they missed the final playoff spot by just three games finishing in third place with a 39-43 record.
1982/83: Kelly Tripuka and Isiah Thomas continued to provide the foundation of the future by average over 20 points per game. However, the Pistons struggled to post a 37-45, as management decided to get tougher by acquiring Bill Laimbeer from the Cleveland Cavaliers. Following the season the Pistons would hire a new coach in Chuck Daly to lead the young team.
1983/84: Under new Coach Chuck Daly the Pistons were finally able to come together and end their seven year playoff drought by posting a solid 49-33 record as their young guns Kelly Tripuka and Isiah Thomas each had a team best 21.3 ppg. In the playoffs the Pistons would battle the New York Knicks in an unforgettable first round five game series, which featured a classic Game 5 duels between Isiah Thomas and Knicks star Bernard King at the Joe Louis Arena, which the Pistons were forced to use during the postseason. However, the Knicks would end up pull out the overtime classic by a score of 127-123.
1984/85: The Pistons continue to play solid basketball as they made the playoffs for the second straight season by finishing in second place with a respectable 46-36 record. In the playoffs the Pistons would take another step forward as they won their first playoff series in 9 years by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in three straight games. However, in the second round the young Pistons would be knocked off by the Championship tested Boston Celtics in six games.
1985/86: The young Pistons continued to improve by selecting Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman in the NBA draft. Rodman would not get any playing time, while Dumars average just under ten points per game in his rookie season as the Pistols finished in third place with a 46-36 record. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would be upended by the Atlanta Hawks in four games. After missing the playoffs the Pistons decide to retool by trading Kelly Tripuka to the Utah Jazz for Adrian Dantley, who was one of the top scorers in the NBA.
1986/87: Newly acquired Adrian Dantley leads the way with 21.5 ppg as the Pistons have four players average more then 15 points per game. However, it is the team’s aggressive defensive style led by Bill Laimbeer that gets all the attention as the Pistons employ a rough style of play earning the nick name of “The Bad Boys” on the way to finishing in second place with a 52-30 record. In the playoffs the Bad Boys style of play would lead to success as they dominated the Washington Bullets in three straight games. In the second round the Pistons continued to fire on all cylinders as they upset the Atlanta Hawks in five games to reach their first Conference Final in 26 years. In the Eastern Finals the Pistons would get off to a rough start as they dropped the first two games on the road against the Boston Celtics. However, upon arrival at the Silverdome the Pistons would be spurred on by record crowds to blow out the Celtics in the next two games and even the series. Back in Boston for Ganme 5 the Pistons were on the verge of an upset leading by one point with five seconds left. However, Isiah Thomas had his inbound pass picked off by Larry Bird who passes it off to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning basket. The Pistons would bounce back to win Game 6 at home. However, they would end up dropping the series in Game 7 at the Boston Garden by three points.
1987/88: After their dramatic trip to the Eastern Conference Finals the Pistons found themselves among the NBA elite teams as they captured the Central Division with a solid 54-28 record while playing in front of record crowds at the Silverdome. The Pistons who had 7 players average double digit in scoring would be put to the test in the first round as they need to beat the Washington Bullets in a 5th game after nearly blowing a 2-0 series lead. However, in the second round the Pistons would play up to their regular season levels as they beat the Chicago Bulls in five games to set up an Eastern Finals rematch with the Boston Celtics. After the home team won all seven games the year previously the Pistons appeared to have the upper hand taking Game 2 in Boston. However, after taking Game 3 at the Silverdome the Pistons would find themselves needing to win Boston again after the Celtics evened the series with a one point win in Game 4. This time the Pistons would not let Game 5 get away as they won 102-96, before closing the series out at home in six games to reach the NBA finals for the first time since moving to Detroit. In the NBA Finals the Pistons were matched up against the defending Champion Los Angeles Lakers. After splitting the first two games on the road the Pistons were welcomed by a record crowd at the Silverdome in Game 3. However, the Lakers would send the fans home unhappy as they beat the Pistons 99-86. The Pistons would bounce back winning Game 4 and Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead back to Los Angeles. Needing to win just one of the final two games the Pistons would drop Game 6 by one point. Game 7 would be another hard fought battle as Isiah Thomas played valiantly on a sprained ankle. However, it would not be enough as the Lakers won the NBA Championship with a 108-105 win.
1988/89: After their tough loss in the NBA Finals the Pistons would find themselves in a new home as they left the cavernous Silverdome for a beautiful new Place in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills. In their new home the Pistons seemed to get tougher and nastier as they posted a franchise best record of 63-19 for their second straight Central Division title. A potential trap lay ahead of them in the playoffs as they faced the Boston Celtics in the first round. However, the Pistons would not lose their focus, as they easily knocked of the banged up Celtics in three straight games. Moving on to the second round the Piston continued to roll as they swept the Milwaukee Bucks in four straight games to reach the Eastern Conference Finals. In the Eastern Finals for the third straight year the Pistons were now the team that had been through al the battles who were facing an upstart Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan, who had taken two of the first three games against the Pistons. Needing to win Game 4 on the road the Pistons rose to the occasion evening the series with an 86-80 win in a hard fought defensive battle. The Pistons would go on to win the series in six games to set a rematch with Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. In the Finals the Pistons would get off to a fast start taking the first two games at home. As the series shifted to Los Angeles the Pistons physical play would begin to take effect on the Lakers as the Lakers endured several key injuries including to Magic Johnson. The Pistons would take full advantage of the hobbled Lakers by completing the four game series sweep with two wins at the Forum to win their first NBA championship in franchise history, as Joe Dumars is named NBA Finals MVP.
1989/90: Coming off their first NBA Championship the Pistons remained the top team in the East winning their 3rd straight division title with a solid record of 59-23, as Dennis Rodman was named Defensive Player of the Year with 9.7 rebounds per game. The Pistons continued to roll in the playoffs sweeping the Indiana Pacers with three straight double-digit wins. In the second round the Pistons would continue to dominate, as they needed just five games to knock off the New York Knicks. In the Eastern Conference Finals the Pistons were matched up against the Chicago Bulls for the second straight year. The Pistons would get off to a fast start taking the first two games at home. However, as the series shifted to Chicago the Bulls even the series at two games apiece. Back at home in Game 5 the Pistons exerted their will on the Bulls winning 97-83. However, the Bulls would bounce back to force a seventh game. In Game 7 the Pistons defense would step it up holding the Bulls to 74 points as they marched on to the NBA Finals for the third year in a row. Seeking their second straight title the Pistons were matched up against the Portland Trail Blazers. After taking Game 1 at home by 6 points the Pistons would be stunned din Game 2 losing in the final minutes 106-105. However, as the series shifted to Portland the Bad Boys would step it to another level dominating the Blazers in Game 3, which they won by 15 points. The Pistons would take a 3-1 lead by the beating the Blazers 112-109. With a 3-1 series lead the Pistons were hardly in a must win situation as they trailed the Blazers 90-83 with two minutes left. Had they lost the series would have shifted back to Detroit for Games 6 and Game 7. However, the Pistons wanted to end it as quickly as possible as they held the Blazers scoreless the rest of the way ending the game on 9-0 run to pull out a 92-90 win which was capped by final second jumper by Vinnie Johnson who scored seven point in the final two minutes. Isiah Thomas would go on to win NBA Finals MVP as the Pistons celebrated their second straight NBA Championship.
1990/91: Dennis Rodman continued to be a defensive force winning the Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season while finishing second in rebounding with 12.5 boards per game. However, the Pistons would lose their grip on the Central Division as they settled for second place with a solid 50-32 record, as Isiah Thomas played just 48 games due to injuries. In the playoffs the battle weary Pistons were pushed to the limit right away as they need five games to beat the Atlanta Hawks. In the second round the Pistons rallied to beat the Boston Celtics in six games winning the final three games after falling behind two games to one. Back in the Eastern Finals the Pistons were matched up against the Chicago Bulls for the third year in a row as they continued to seek their third straight NBA Championship. However, the Pistons ran out of gas as they were swept by the Chicago Bulls in four straight games.
1991/92: Despite leading the NBA with an incredible 18.7 rebound s per game Dennis Rodman falls short of his quest for a third straight Defensive Player of the Year award as the Pistons begin to show their age finishing in third place with a 48-34 record. In the playoffs the Pistons would make a quick exit as they are beaten by the New York Knicks in a hard fought five game series. Following the season Coach Chuck Daly would leave to coach the New Jersey Nets. Meanwhile the Bulls-Pistons rivalry took another ugly turn as Isiah Thomas was left off the Dream Team, Coached by Daly, reportedly at the request of Bulls superstar Michael Jordan.
1992/93: Under new Coach Ron Rothstein the Pistons years of battle would catch up with them as they missed the playoffs for the first time in ten years with a record of 40-42. Despite the struggles Dennis Rodman would again lead the NBA in rebounding with 18.3. However, his bizarre behavior off the court was of great concern as he is involved in several off the court incidents. Following the season Rodman would be dealt to the San Antonio Spurs for Sean Elliott.
1993/94: Already playing without Dennis Rodman, the Championship Pistons would continue to crumble as Bill Laimbeer retires 11 games into the season after an ugly practice scuffle with Isiah Thomas. During the Championship years scuffles like this were commonplace. However, now it was just another sign the Pistons glory days were over. After the retirement of Laimbeer the Pistons would plummet finishing tied for 6th place with an awful 20-62 record. Following the season Isiah Thomas who played just 58 games would become the next Piston to retire leaving just Joe Dumars from the Championship days.
1994/95: After losing 60 games and the retirement of Isiah Thomas the Pistons started a new era by drafting Grant Hill, who became an immediate fan favorite leading the team with 19.9 ppg as he made the All-Star team in his rookie season. Hill would go on to share the Rookie of the Year honors with Dallas s Mavericks playmaker Jason Kidd. However, the Pistons would not do much better on the court finishing in last place with a 28-54 record.
1995/96: After finishing in last place the Pistons hire Doug Collins to coach the young team now led by Grant Hill. Under Collins the Pistons would remerge as a playoff contender ending a string of three straight losing seasons without the playoffs by finishing in fifth place with a respectable 46-36 record. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would just make a cameo, as they are swept by the Orlando Magic in three straight games.
1996/97: Grant Hill continued to develop into one of the premier players in the NBA leading the Pistons with 21.4 ppg as the Pistons finished in third place with a solid 54-28 record. Hill, was not the only star on the Pistons as veteran Joe Dumars had another solid season with 14.7 ppg. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would have a let down as they are beaten by the Atlanta Hawks in five games after blowing a chance to close out the series with a home win in Game 4.
1997/98: Despite the signing of Free Agent Center Bison Dele the Pistons would get off to a slow start. Holding a 21-24 record around the All-Star break the Pistons would change coaches replacing Doug Collins with Alvin Gentry. However, despite another stellar season from Grant Hill the Piston would go on to miss the playoffs with a disappointing record of 37-45.
1998/99: In a season cut in half by a four month lockout the Pistons would bounce back from their disappointing season to finish in third place with a 29-21. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would be knocked off in the first round again as they are beaten by the Atlanta Hawks in five games. The season would mark an end of an era as Joe Dumars retired after a solid 14-year career. In his final season Dumars would average 11.3 ppg in 38 games.
1999/00: Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse provide a solid 1-2 scoring punch as the Pistons post a record of 42-40 finishing in fourth place. However, as the season wound down Hill would suffer a devastating ankle injury. Without Hill the Pistons would be swept in the playoffs in three straight games by the Miami Heat. Following the season the Pistons would have t make some tough decisions, as Grant Hill is not resigned. It would end up being the right decision as Hill would never be the same player again as his ankle injury would limit him to just a handful of games over the next few seasons.
2000/01: Just a little over a year after his final game Pistons legend Joe Dumars was put in charge of rebuilding the team. One key piece to the Pistons future appeared to be Jerry Stackhouse who had a stellar season with 29.8 ppg. However, the Pistons would struggle finishing in fifth place with a terrible record of 32-50.
2001/02: After losing 50 games new Coach Rick Carlise comes on and employs a tough defensive system centering around Ben Wallace who has a break out season leading the league in blocked shots, while finishing 2nd in rebounding, as he was named Defensive player of the Year. Meanwhile Corliss Williamson provided strong support of the bench winning the 6th man award as the Pistons who were picked by most experts to finish out of the playoffs win the Central Division with a solid 50-32 record, as Rick Carlisle was named Coach of the Year. However, in the playoffs the Pistons would struggle as they barely held on to an 85-82 win in Game 5 over the Toronto Raptors after establishing a 2-0 series lead. In the second round the Pistons would be upset by the Boston Celtics in five games dropping four straight after taking Game 1. In all ten playoff games the Pistons failed to reach 100 points, while also holding their opponents under 100, including a 66-64 Game 3 loss in the 2nd round to the Celtics.
2002/03: For the second year in a row the Pistons won with defense as Richard Hamilton who was acquired in a trade with the Washington Wizards for Jerry Stackhouse led the team in scoring with only 19.7 ppg. However with Ben Wallace winning defensive player of the year for the second straight season it was good enough as the Pistons finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference at 50-32. In the playoffs the Pistons would get off on the wrong foot as they trailed the eighth seeded Orlando Magic 3-1 after four games. Had it been previous years the Pistons would have been finished. However, for the first time the NBA decided to increase the opening round match ups to best of seven series. Beginning with a 98-67 win at home in Game 5 the Pistons defense would take over shutting down league leading scorer Tracy MacGrady with their zone defense to come form behind and win the series in seven games. The Pistons carried the momentum into the second round as they jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with two wins at home. However, the 76ers would rally to win the next two games in Philadelphia to even the series at two games apiece. In a key fifth game at the Palace the Pistons found themselves down by one point in the final seconds as Chucky Atkins lay up was swatted away by Derrick Coleman. However the play would be ruled goaltending and the basket would count giving the Pistons a crucial 78-77 victory. The Pistons would go on to eliminate the 76ers in 6 as Chauncey Billups exploded for nine points in overtime in a 93-89 victory as the Pistons reached the Conference Finals for the first time in 12 years. In the Conference Finals the Pistons were held to 11 points in the 4th Quarter at home as the New Jersey Nets rallied to win Game 1 by a score of 76-74. In Game 2 the Pistons would allow another lead get away in the 4th as the Nets took a 2-0 series lead with 88-86 win. After two heartbreaking losses at home the Pistons would not recover as they lost the next two games by double digits on the road as the Nets completed the sweep. Despite making it to the Conference Finals Coach Rick Carlisle would be dismissed following the season as the Pistons hired Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown.
2003/04: With new Coach Larry Brown a Hall of Famer the Pistons goal was to reach the next level. Once again they were a tough defensive team as they got off to a solid 32-16 start at the end of January. However as February began the Pistons started to sputter as they fell out of first place losing six games in a row as the NBA went into the All-Star Break looking for a jump start the Pistons traded for Rasheed Wallace another tough player with a bad reputation that would have fit well with the Bad Boys of the past. Wallace fit in well with the Pistons and in March the team’s defense set a record by holding teams under 70 points in five straight games. The Pistons would go on to finish the season strong with a 54-28 record good enough for the second best record in the East, but not for the Division Title. In the playoff the Pistons would slip at home in the first round losing Game 2 to the Milwaukee Bucks 92-88, but in Milwaukee the Pistons rebounded taking both games easily on the way to taking the series in five games. In the second Round they faced the New Jersey Nets who bounced them from the playoff a year earlier. This time things were different as the Pistons took the first two games at home. However as the series shifted to New Jersey the Pistons offense struggled as they dropped both games. Needing a win in Game 5 the Pistons needed a miracle shot by Chauncey Billups to force overtime where the teams battle to a classic Triple Overtime thriller. However, with Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshuan Prince and Richard Hamilton fouling out the Pistons ran out of man power as the Nets took a 3-2 series lead with a 127-120 victory. Things got off to a slow start in Game 6 as the Pistons trailed early 13-2. However they would get within two points at the end of the first and would take the lead in the 2nd Quarter on the way to a solid 81-75 win on the road to force Game 7. In Game 7 the Pistons would roll winning easily 90-69 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers. In the conference finals against the Pacers the Pistons found a familiar face in former Coach Rick Carlisle who was now running the Pacers. The Pistons would lose Game 1 in Indiana in heartbreaking fashion as Reggie Miller nailed a 3-point shot with 31 seconds left to give the Pacers a 78-74 win. In Game 2 the Pistons would bounce back winning a defensive struggle 72-67. As the series shifted to Detroit the Pistons took control capturing Game 3 by 7 points. However after losing Game 4 they need to win in Indiana in Game 5 to avoid facing elimination again. They would do just that by smothering the Pacers all night in an impressive 83-65 win. Game 6 at home would be another defensive struggle as the Pistons edged the Pacers 69-65 to advance to the NBA Finals for a showdown with the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers.
204 NBA Finals: The NBA Finals began with nobody taking the Pistons seriously the year seemed made for the Lakers as they were in the news everyday with 4 Hall of Famers. It was like it was written in stone that the Pistons from the weak Eastern Conference where just there for the coronation. However the Pistons would draw first blood with a solid 87-75 win in Game 1 in Los Angeles. The Pistons would control Game 2 as well. However Kobe Bryant tied the game with a dramatic 3-point shot with 2.1 seconds left to force overtime where the Lakers would dominate to even the series with a 99-91 win. Rather then being depressed over the heartbreaking Game 2 loss the Pistons refocused and came out like gang busters in Game 3 as they crushed the Lakers 88-68 at home to retake control of the series. In Game 4 the Pistons dominated the Lakers again winning 88-8o to take a commanding 3-1 series lead as people watched stunned across America. In Game 5 the Pistons continued their dominant ways as they established an 82-59 lead at the end of three quarters, with Detroit ready to celebrate they would hold off one last Lakers charge to claim the NBA title with a 100-87 victory, wrapping up the biggest upset in NBA Finals history in five games. Indicative of the improbable victory journey man Chauncey Billups was named Finals MVP.
2004/05: Coming off their upset of the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA Championship the Pistons walked around with a swagger carrying a Championship Belt. That swagger bred some resentment which would boil over in a November 19th game against the Indiana Pacers when a brawl erupted between Pacers players and Pistons fans after Pistons Center Ben Wallace and Ron Artest of the Pacers got into a shoving match. The brawl would give the Pistons organization and the NBA a black eye as it was shown repeatedly on the news. Meanwhile Coach Larry Brown coming off hip surgery began to express dissatisfaction with his situation in Detroit and openly contemplated retirement. The early season turmoil would affect the Pistons on the court as they had a mediocre 15-13 record at the end of December. Towards the end of January the Pistons would begin to play up their Championship level as they lost just one of 13 games from January 26th through March 1st. The Pistons strong play would continue for the rest of the season as they went on an 11-game winning streak which was ended with a 97-86 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats in the final game of the season with many Pistons regulars sitting out, as they won the Central Division with a 54-28 record, while Ben Wallace claimed the Defensive Player of the Year award for the third time in four years. In the playoffs the Pistons continued their strong play quickly knocking off the Philadelphia 76ers in five games to set up a rematch with the Pacers. The Pistons would start the series off with a solid 96-81 win, but would find themselves in a trouble after losing the next two games. Facing the prospect of falling behind 3-1 the Pistons rose to the occasion winning in Indiana 89-76. The Pistons would go on to win the next 2 and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for a third straight year. As the Pistons went to face the Miami Heat there was heavy speculation that Coach Larry Brown would leave as he express interest in a front office job with the Cleveland Cavaliers as well as the coaching job with his hometown New York Knicks. Despite the distraction the Pistons would start the series off with a win beating the Heat in Miami 90-81. However, the Heat would recover and would win the next two games including Game 3 at the Palace. Once again the Pistons would rally to a 106-96 win in Game 4 to even the series. After losing Game 5 on the road, the Pistons faced elimination at home where their defense put up a dominating before winning 81-66 to force a decisive seventh Game. In Game 7 in Miami the Pistons would take the game over in 4th Quarter winning 88-82 to return to the NBA Finals.
2005 NBA Finals: In a match up of the previous two NBA Champions the Pistons got off to a rocky start getting blown out in the first two games to the San Antonito Spurs on the road. However, a return to the Palace would be rejuvenating as the Pistons won the next two games easily. The third game in the Palace would become an instant classic as the Pistons and Spurs battled into overtime where Robert Horry of the Spurs who had a history of clutch playoff shots delivered the dagger nailing an open three pointer with five seconds left to give the Spurs a 96-95 win. However, the Pistons would not go down without a fight winning Game 6 in San Antonio to set up a dramatic Game 7 finish. The final game would be tight through out, as it was tied after three quarters. However, the Spurs would prove to be too much as they ended up pulling away in the final minutes for an 81-74 win to win the NBA Championship. Following the season, the Pistons would suffer another loss when Larry Brown decided to take the New York Knicks vacant coaching job.
2005/06: With new Coach Flip Saunders the Pistons seemed to be even stronger as they came flying out of the gates winning their first eight games, with the same strong defense, and more open offense that the players seemed to immediately take a liking to. The Pistons would continue to fire on all cylinders as they won 24 of their first 28 games on the way to an amazing 37-5 record through the first 42 games. The Pistons who at the midpoint were on pace for 72 wins, sent all four of their five starters Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, and Ben Wallace to the All-Star Game along with Coach Flip Saunders. The Pistons would not keep up the amazing pace they set in the second half, but they would still win post a franchise best record of 64-18 earning the top record in the NBA. However, as the season came to a close there were some signs of turbulence in Detroit as Ben Wallace who won his fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award in five years, ended negations for a new contract with the team hinting a desire to leave the team. Meanwhile the sharpness the team had all year was missing in April as they lost three of their last four games. Once the playoffs started the Pistons appeared to be in strong form again, as they won the first two games against the eighth seeded Milwaukee Bucks. However, in Game 3 the Pistons usually strong defense was torched for 124 points in 124-104 loss. It would be the only loss of the series for the Pistons as they won the series in five games. However, it was a sign of more troubles ahead. In the second round against the Cleveland Cavaliers the Pistons once again won their first two games at home. However, as the series shifted to Cleveland the Pistons offense suddenly disappeared as the Cavs held the Pistons under 80 and won the next two games to even the series. Hoping to recover at the Palace the Pistons would continue to struggle in Game 5 as LeBron James made all the clutch shots in the end leading the Cavaliers to a stunning 86-84 win to take a 3-2 series lead. The Pistons would not play much better in Game 6, but their defense and championship experience helped them to an 84-82 win to force a seventh game in Detroit. In Game 7 it was all Detroit Defense as the Pistons shut down the Cavaliers, holding them to just 23 points in the second half as they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the fourth year in a row with a 79-61 win. Facing the Miami Heat for the second year in a row the Pistons seemingly still tired from their seven game battle with the Cavs lost Game 1 at home 91-86. After rebounding to win Game 2 the Pistons road struggles continued to haunt them as they lost both games in Miami falling behind three games to one. The Pistons would not go out quietly as they showed their championship mettle in solid 91-78 win at home in Game 5. However, it was not meant to be as the Pistons who blazed through the regular season never quite had it clicking in the playoffs as they were eliminated in Game 6 by the Heat 95-78. Following the season the losses would continue for the Pistons as Ben Wallace stunned all Detroit fans by signing a 4-year $60 Million Contract with the rival Chicago Bulls.
2006/07: The Pistons would sign Nazr Mohammed to replace Ben Wallace in the middle. However, when the season started the Pistons clearly missed Big Ben’s presence as they got off to a slow start losing five of their first eight games. However, they quickly turned things around, winning eight straight games in the second half of November. Around the start of the New Year the Pistons would struggle again, as Mohammed was not living up to expectations. On January 17th the Pistons signed Chris Webber, who was recently cut lose by the Philadelphia 76ers. The signing of Webber helped both rejuvenate Webber, and lift the Pistons, and he gave them the rebounder they needed, and looked motivated again playing in his hometown, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game, as the Pistons finished strong posting a 28-11 record over their final 39 games as they posted the top record in the Eastern Conference at 53-29. In the playoffs the Pistons stayed hot sweeping the Orlando Magic in four straight games. In the second round against Ben Wallace and the Chicago Bulls, the Pistons would continue to roll winning their first three games to take a 3-0 series lead. However, their attempts to complete a second straight sweep fell short as the Bulls easily won Game 4, 102-87. The Bulls would also win Game 5 beating the Pistons off the perimeter 108-92 as Ben Gordon burnt the Pistons for 28 points. In Game 6 the Pistons defense would respond knocking the Bulls out with a 95-85 win Chicago. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers the Pistons started off strong winning the first two games at home by identical 79-76 scores. However, as the series shifted to Cleveland, LeBron James would take over, winning both games to even the series at two games apiece. In Game 5 back at the Palace the Pistons and Cavaliers battled neck and neck into double overtime, with LeBron James being the star of the show as the Cavs edged the Pistons 109-107, with James scoring the final 25 points for his team. In Game 6 it would be more James, as the Cavs ended the Pistons hopes for a rematch with the San Antonio Spurs winning 98-82.
2007/08: The Pistons celebrated the 50th anniversary of their move to Detroit as they hoped to return to the NBA Finals after back to back frustrating losses in the Eastern Conference Finals. Once again they quickly established themselves as the top team in the Central Division, as they posted an 11-game winning streak that went into the New Year, giving them a solid 26-7 record that was only behind the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference supremacy. They would remain behind the Celtics, all season, but ahead of everyone else as their 59-23 record was the second best overall in the NBA. However, when the playoff began the Pistons stumbled losing the opener to the Philadelphia 76ers 90-86, as they found themselves down two games to one in the first round needing to win Game 4 on the road. Thanks to Tayshaun Prince who missed just one shot from the field, while scoring 23 points the Pistons would even the series with a 93-84 win. The Pistons would go on to win the next two games easily to eighty-six the Sixers in six games. Finding their grove the Pistons got off to a quick start in the second round against the Orlando Magic, winning the first two games at home, including an impressive 91-72 win in Game 1. The Pistons would stumble in Game 3 as the series shifted to Orlando, losing 111-86. However, the Pistons playoff experience would win the day as they would take the next two games, to win the series in five games to reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the sixth straight season, where they would face the Boston Celtics. After dropping Game 1 on the road 88-79, the Pistons got the key split in Boston, winning 103-97, behind the scoring of Richard Hamilton, who had a game high 25 points in Game 2. However, the Pistons were unable to capitalize on the win, as they were beaten at home 94-80 in Game 3. After evening the series with a 94-75 win in Game 4, the Pistons found themselves facing elimination after losing 106-102 in Game 5 in Boston, seeing an 18-point rally just fall short. The Pistons season would come to an end in Game 6, as the Pistons scored just 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals with an 89-81 win. Just three days later the Pistons would announce the firing of Coach Flip Saunders, replacing him with Michael Curry.
2008/09: The Pistons changes continued as the season began as traded Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb to the Denver Nuggets for Allen Iverson on November 3rd. The Pistons would get McDyess back a month later, as he was released by the Nuggets, without playing a single game in Denver. The Iverson deal would almost immediately blow up in the Pistons face, as his style of play seemed to clash with the Pistons style of basketball. Despite the struggles of Iverson the Pistons played well for the first two months, as they entered the New Year with a solid 19-11 record. However, once 2009 arrived the Pistons started to struggle. The Pistons would go ten games above .500 at 22-12 on January 9th, but over the next seven weeks the Pistons would go into a tailspin losing 17 of their next 22 games. The Pistons would end the slump with a four game winning streak as March began, but the team continued to play mediocre basketball for the remainder of the season, as their sellout string came to an end at 259 straight games. The Pistons also suffered a loss off the court as longtime Owner William Davidson died on March 13th at the age 86. Despite the disappointing play the Pistons would still reach the playoffs as they slipped in and grabbed the eighth seed with a record of 39-43. As the playoffs began, Coach Michael Curry decided to bench Allen Iverson and Richard Hamilton. Iverson, citing a back injury chose to sit out as he was placed on injured reserve, bringing in an inauspicious end to his brief Pistons career. The Pistons playoff appearance would also be brief as they were swept in four straight games by the Cleveland Cavaliers losing each game by double digits. Following the season the Pistons would fire Coach Michael Curry, as they began to look toward rebuilding.
2009/10: Under new Coach John Kuester the Pistons looked to getting back on track by bringing back a hero from the past, as the Pistons signed Ben Wallace, who was a key part of the 2004 Championship team. However, Wallace was no longer the physical force he was when he won four Defensive Player of the Year Awards in five years. The Pistons would take advantage of an easy early schedule, winning five of their first nine games. However, as they began to play stronger teams they began to struggle, losing seven straight games. As the New Year began the Pistons were in an even deeper slump; a 13 game losing streak that dropped them to 11-25 and into last place in the Central Division. Long losing streaks seemed to become a common occurrence in Detroit, as the Pistons would also endure an 11 game losing streak late in the season. They never would factor in playoff chase, as they posted a record of 27-55.
2010/11: After missing the playoffs, the Pistons looked to rebound as they selected Center Greg Monroe from Georgetown, with the number seven pick in the draft. When the season the Pistons misfired right away, losing their season opener on the road to the New Jersey Nets 101-98. The Pistons would end up losing their first five games, before beating the Charlotte Bobcats 97-90. The Pistons would continue to struggle, well into December as they dug a deep hole in the Eastern Conference, entering the New Year with an awful 11-22 record. Despite the struggles, the Pistons played well at home, but on the road wins were few and far between. The pattern would continue the entire season, as the Pistons missed the playoffs again, posting a record of 30-52, as they won just nine games on the road. As the season came to an end the Pistons were sold to a new ownership group headed by Billionaire Tom Gores, who purchased the team and the Palace of Auburn Hills from the estate of William Davidson. At the end of the season the Pistons made a change on the bench as Coach John Kuester was fired and replaced by Lawrence Frank, while longtime fan favorite Richard Hamilton was not re-signed.
2011/12: As the season started after a two month lockout the Pistons, were in clear rebuild mode, with new Coach Lawrence Frank. Longtime fan favorite, Richard Hamilton was gone, as the Pistons hoped to move into a new era. Also a part of the new era, was a new owner as Tom Gores hoped to eventually get a new arena for the Pistons in downtown Detroit. However, on the court things did not look good early, as the Pistons got off to an awful 4-20 start. In the second half of the season the Pistons would should some signs of improvement as they split their last 42 games on the way to finishing the season with a record of 25-41. As the season came to an end another fan favorite said good bye to Detroit as Ben Wallace who was a big part of the 2004 Championship team announced his retirement, ending a 17 year career, nine of which were spent playing Detroit Basketball, where he was named Defensive Player of the Year three times. However, for the Pistons it was about the future as Greg Monroe continued to develop into a star leading the Pistons in points with 15.4 per game, and assists at 9.7 per game.
2012/13: Hoping to build off their strong finish, the Pistons again stumbled out of the gate, losing their first eight games as they had a tough early Western road trip. The Pistons finally got their first win on November 14th against the Philadelphia 76ers as Greg Monroe had a big game with 19 points and 18 rebounds. However, wins remained scarce in Detroit as the young Pistons entered the New Year with a record of 11-22. The Pistons would play better in January as players like rookie Andre Drummond became more comfortable with the style of play in the NBA. Looking to free up roster space, the Pistons would deal away Tyshaun Prince and Austin Daye in a three team deal, involving the Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzles that saw them pick up the expiring contract of Jose Calderon. The Pistons would once again be a non-factor in the playoff race, as they dropped 13 of 14 games in March on their way to another 50 loss season. The Pistons would win five of eight games in April as they finished with a record of 29-53. Following the season Coach Lawrence Frank would be fired and replaced by Maurice Cheeks.
2013/14: After missing the playoffs for straight seasons the Pistons looked to improve by making wholesale changes. Among the moves the Pistons made was signing Chauncey Billups who won the NBA Finals MVP with Detroit in 2004. Billups who played with the Pistons from 2002-2008 signed a one year deal for what would be his final NBA season. The Pistons also signed Free Agent Josh Smith to a four year deal worth $54 million, along with International Free Agent Luigi Datome, who was the MVP of the Italian League with Virtus Roma. In addition the Pistons acquired Brandon Jennings from the Milwaukee Bucks for Brandon Knight, Viacheslav Kravtsov and Khris Middleton. The Pistons even hired Maurice Cheeks to lead the teams as the new coach further inflating optimism. Things looked good for the Pistons on opening night, as they beat the Washington Wizards 113-102 at the Palace. However, the Pistons struggled early in the season and held a 6-10 record at the end of November. The Pistons started December, with four straight wins to get back to .500, but could not maintain it. As the New Year began the Pistons suffered a six game losing streak. All the players the Pistons acquired were not living up to expectations. Despite, leading the team in scoring, Josh Smith failed to bring new life to the Pistons scoring 16.4 points per game his lowest output in four seasons. Brandon Jennings averaged a career low 15.5 ppg, but managed a career high 7.6 assists per game, while Chauncey Billups was a shell of his former self and played in just 10 games. Lugi Datome also had no impact on the Pistons seeing limited action off the bench. Sitting at 21-29 the Pistons would fire Maurce Cheeks on February 9th. Things would not improve under Interim Coach John Loyer as the Pistons missed the playoffs again with a record of 29-53.
2014/15: After a disappointing season, the Detroit Pistons looked to improve by hiring Stan Van Gundy as the team’s new coach. Early on the Pistons struggled, dropping their first three games, before Greg Monroe scored 23 points with 18 rebounds in a 98-95 win over the New York Knicks. Wins would be hard to come by for Detroit, as they suffered a 13 game losing streak, and held a record of 5-23 on December 21st. Looking to shake things up, the Pistons waived Josh Smith a day later. Smith who signed a four year deal worth $54 million with the Pistons in the 2013 had failed to live up to expectations. In 105 career games with the Pistons, Smith averaged 15.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. The departure of Josh Smith turned out to be addition by subtraction for Detroit, as the Pistons won seven straight and nine of ten right after his release. The Pistons appeared to be on the rise, reaching 16-25 on January 17th. However, that game saw them lose Brandon Jennings for the remainder of the season to a torn Achilles tendon. Jennings was ranked second on the team in scoring, with 15.4 points per game, while leading the Pistons with 6.6 assists per game. The Pistons would drop their next four games following the injury to their starting point guard. Looking to find a new play maker, the Pistons acquired Reggie Jackson from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three team deal also involving the Utah Jazz. The Pistons would send D. J. Augustin and Kyle Singler to the Thunder in return. The addition of Jackson would be a big post for the Pistons, as he led the team in scoring with 17.6 points per game and assists with 9.2 per game over the final 27 games. Another player who thrilled Pistons fans was Greg Monroe, who averaged a double-double, with 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Despite Reggie Jackson’s All-Star caliber play, and Monroe’s dominance in the middle, the Pistons did not win much over the last two months, missing the playoffs again with a record of 30-52.
2015/16: It was a busy off-season for the Detroit Pistons, who despite losing Greg Monroe to free agency, made some significant upgrades picking up Ersan ?lyasova, Steve Blake, Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris. However, it was a player that was acquired at the end of the previous season that had the biggest impact on the Pistons. Reggie Jackson, who averaged 17.6 points per game in 27 games after being acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder had a breakout season in his first year in Detroit leading the Pistons in scoring with 18.8 ppg and assists with 6.2 per game. With the playmaking Jackson leading the way the Pistons got off to a strong start, winning five of their first six games. Hitting the road would be tough for the Pistons as they lost seven of ten games away from the Motor City in November. After heading into the New Year with a record of 18-15. The Pistons would keep their pace, for the first six weeks of the 2016, but as the All-Star Game went into a slump, dropping three straight games, and held a 27-27 record at the break. Andre Drummond would represent the Pistons in the All-Star Game in Toronto, as he continued to develop into one of the league premiere big men. Drummond led the NBA in rebounding, averaging 14.8 boards per game, while scoring 16.2 points per game. However, one game Andre Drummond would like to forget was on January 20th, as he set a record for missed free throws with 23, breaking a record held by Wilt Chamberlain. Despite Drummond’s misadventures on the line, the Pistons won a road game against the Houston Rockets 123-114. At the trade deadline, the Pistons looking for more improvement acquired Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic for Ersan ?lyasova and Brandon Jennings. While the Pistons dropped their first two games after the break, extending their losing streak to five games and falling below .500, Harris proved to be a valuable addition for Detroit, averaging 16.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. The Pistons got back on track as February came to an end, winning four straight. In March ruled their home court, winning seven of nine at the Palace, including a key five game winning streak. The Pistons would go on to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years, posting a record of 44-38.
2016 NBA Playoffs: Facing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round the Detroit Pistons played hard despite overwhelming odd against them advancing. In the opener, the Pistons gave the Cavs all they could handle, before losing a close one 106-101. After a 107-90 loss in Game 2, the series came to Detroit where the Pistons continued to keep the games close, but could not match the firepower of the Cavaliers, as they dropped Game 3 by a score of 101-91. In Game 4 Reggie Jackson had a shot at the end of the game, to win it from downtown but came up just short as the Cavs completed the sweep with a 100-98 win on the way to winning the NBA Championship.
2016/17: Playing their final season in Auburn Hills, the Detroit Pistons looked to build off their first playoff appearance in seven years. The Pistons struggled early in the season as they posted a 10-10 record over their first 20 games. As December came to an end the Pistons went into a terrible slump, losing seven of eight as they went into the New Year with a record of 15-20. The Pistons continued to fight an uphill battle at getting back in the playoff chase in January as they posted another losing record of 6-7. After a strong February, in which Detroit posted a record of 8-4, the Pistons made it back to .500 at 33-33 on March 11th. However, from there the Piston went into a tailspin, losing eight of nine to end their playoff hopes. The Pistons would go on to finish the season with a disappointing record of 37-45. On April 10th, the Pistons suffered a 105-101 loss to the Washington Wizards in their final game ever at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Tobias Harris would be the Pistons top scorer with 16.1 points per game.
©MMXVIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Detroit Pistons of the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on April 15, 2003. Last updated on March 11, 2018 at 3:05 am ET.