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NBA FINALS: PISTONS 87, LAKERS 75 | SPOTLIGHT

Parish Isn't Too Impressed

June 07, 2004|From Staff Reports

If the Lakers go on and win their fourth NBA title in five years, most people agree that they will rank among the best teams in league history. But according to former Boston Celtic great Robert Parish, that doesn't mean that they could play with the best teams of the 1980s.

"We would have stepped all in them ... all in their backside," said Parrish, who won three championship rings playing with the Celtics. "It would be no contest.

"Our '85-86 team would have had its way. We had myself, Larry [Bird], Kevin [McHale] and Bill Walton and the guys. We were too strong."

And the Magic Johnson-led Showtime Lakers?

"That was a team. I mean with Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Magic, [James] Worthy and all of those guys, it wouldn't even be close."

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What are the Pistons to do about Shaquille O'Neal? Maybe they could recruit actor Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile"), who was at Sunday night's game. Duncan, who is 6 feet 5, 280 pounds, was a power forward at Alcorn State.

"If I had Shaq's height, I could handle him," Duncan said. "And I'm a lot better free-throw shooter."

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So what was Shaq's day like Sunday?

"He's always very serious on game days," wife Shaunie O'Neal said. "When I told him that [Jennifer Lopez] got married, he said, 'No, she didn't.' And I said, 'Yes, she did.' We went back and forth for a while, but otherwise there was no kidding around at our house."

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Marge Hearn was at the game, decked out in bright yellow blouse and yellow Laker cap. "I feel like a bumblebee," she said.

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The Lakers, born in Minneapolis, aren't the only team in the NBA Finals that brought its nickname from somewhere else.

Though their moniker fits well in the Motor City, the Detroit Pistons formerly were based in Fort Wayne, Ind., and known as the Zollner Pistons, so dubbed by a piston magnate named Fred Zollner.

When they moved to Detroit in 1957, they shortened the name.

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Hard to believe now, what with their smothering defense and inability to consistently make shots, but the Pistons combined with the Denver Nuggets to produce the highest-scoring game in NBA history.

On Dec. 13, 1983, in front of 9,655 in Denver's McNichols Arena, the Pistons defeated the Nuggets, 186-184, in triple overtime.

The teams combined to make 56.6% of their shots, with six players from each team scoring in double figures. Isiah Thomas scored 47 points, John Long 41, Kelly Tripucka 35, Terry Tyler 18, Bill Laimbeer 17 and Vinnie Johnson 12 for the Pistons. For the Nuggets, Kiki Vandeweghe scored 51, Alex English 47, Dan Issel 28, Mike Evans 16, Richard Anderson 13 and Danny Schayes 11.

The score was tied, 145-145, at the end of regulation.

When the game ended, the Pistons had won despite making only 61.7% of their free throws, 37 of 60.

Times staff writers Jerry Crowe, Larry Stewart and Lonnie White contributed to this report.

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