The Bulls–Pistons rivalry is an NBA rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. The rivalry began in the late 1980s and was one of the most intense in NBA history for a couple of years, when Michael Jordan evolved into one of the league's best players and the Pistons became a playoff contender. They represent the two largest metro areas in the Midwest and are only separated by a 280-mile stretch of road, mostly covered by I-94.
The rivalry started in the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals after the Pistons and Bulls beat the Bullets and Cavs in the first round 3-2. The aggressive Bad Boys, as Detroit became known, were the rising power in the Eastern Conference. Michael Jordan, on the other hand, was league MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and the ultimate challenge for the Pistons' top-notch defense. In a nationally televised game in Detroit on Easter Sunday, Jordan scored 59 points in a 112-110 Bulls victory. Previously, in 1987, he had scored 61 points in a 125-120 OT victory in 1987. This angered Chuck Daly, who vowed never to allow Jordan to light them up again. Despite Jordan's individual skills, the Bulls lacked the talent and mental toughness to beat Detroit, who defeated Chicago in 5 games. The Pistons went on to beat Boston in 6 and won their first Conference title since they moved from Fort Wayne. In 1989, the Pistons were stronger and posted a season-best record of 63-19. They reached the Conference Finals by sweeping the Celtics and Bucks. The 6th-seeded Bulls (47-35) had surprising success in the playoffs by upsetting the Cavs 3-2 with The Shot and Knicks 4-2. The Bulls met Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals. Bulls success continued as they took a 2-1 series lead. But the Pistons clamped down and employed the "Jordan Rules" (which consisted of solely targeting Jordan) which worked so well for them the year prior. While they remained silent about them when asked by the media, many Pistons today say that it was just another psychological ploy they made up to throw the Bulls off their game. According to Pistons forward Rick Mahorn,
The Pistons won 3 straight games and went on to win their first NBA title.
While both teams intensely disliked each other, there was particular animosity between Michael Jordan and Pistons star Isiah Thomas. Thomas, who was a Chicago native and basketball legend in the city, is accused of feeling that Jordan was taking the city away from him and getting unearned attention. Thomas was accused of leading a so-called "freeze-out" in the 1985 NBA All-Star Game that involved Thomas and other NBA veterans keeping the ball away from Jordan. In retaliation, when the 1992 United States men's Olympic basketball team was being formed Isiah was not part of the team, which people attribute to Jordan and Scottie Pippen stating that they did not want to play if Thomas was on the team, with Pippen going as far to label him as a "cheap shot artist".
For the 1989-90 season under new coach Phil Jackson, the Bulls sought to subvert the "Jordan Rules" by focusing on the triangle offense refined by assistant coach Tex Winter. By sharing responsibility rather than shouldering it, Jordan led Chicago to the second-best record in the East at 55-27 behind the defending champion Pistons, who finished 59-23. The rematch was set up when Detroit swept Indiana in the opening round, then ousted New York in 5. The Bulls beat the Bucks in 4 and 76ers in 5. In an Eastern Conference Finals rematch, Chicago pushed Detroit to the limit. But the Pistons showed their dominance and won Game 7 at home. The Pistons went on to win their 2nd straight NBA title against the Blazers.
For the 1990-91 season Bulls posted the best record in the East at 61-21, while the Pistons would drop to third with a record of 50-32. The Bulls reached the Conference Finals by sweeping the Knicks and beating the 76ers in 5, while the Pistons disposed of Atlanta in 5 and beat Boston in 6. Both teams met in the Conference Finals for the third straight year, with Chicago holding home-court advantage for the first time. Chicago swept Detroit. Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Mark Aguirre, in their last show of defiance, walked off the court with 7.9 seconds left so as not to congratulate them. Only Joe Dumars and John Salley shook hands with any of the Bulls. In the NBA Finals, the Bulls defeated Magic Johnson's Lakers to win their 1st NBA title.
The Pistons and Bulls would never again meet in the playoffs during the Bulls dynasty, although they came close in both 1992 and 1997. Following the 1991 sweep, James Edwards and Vinnie Johnson would leave the Pistons as free agents, and the team would see a steady decline. Chuck Daly would resign as head coach after the 1991-92 season. Following Daly's departure, the Pistons went through a lengthy transitional period, as key players either retired (Laimbeer in 1993 and Thomas in 1994) or got traded (John Salley, Dennis Rodman among others). They would bottom out in the 1993-94 season, finishing only 20-62. With the arrival of Grant Hill (drafted 3rd overall in 1994), the Pistons once again became a playoff team in the latter half of the 1990s. Despite seeing some success during that period, they never became true title contenders Meanwhile, the Bulls proceeded to win 6 titles in 8 years, including two three-peats, with an early retirement and return of Michael Jordan in between. Former Piston Dennis Rodman, would be traded to the Bulls in 1995 and play an integral part in the second three-peat (John Salley and James Edwards were also on the team during the record-breaking 72-win 1995-96 season). After the 6th title, the Bulls were dramatically dismantled: Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Rodman, and coach Phil Jackson all left. Afterwards, the Bulls had five losing seasons and did not yield a competitive squad until former Bull John Paxson (who was a member of the first 3 title teams) became the GM and acquired players to form a team with efficient perimeter offense and strong interior defense. Meanwhile, after being swept by the Miami Heat in the 2000 playoffs, Joe Dumars was hired as President of Basketball Operations of Pistons. Dumars eventually formed a team similar to his own: a group of players who played a hard-nosed, defensively strong, fundamentally sound, team-oriented style of play. He revamped the Pistons' roster with players like Ben Wallace, Chucky Atkins, Chauncey Billups, Richard "Rip" Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince. and Rasheed Wallace.. They were constant playoff contenders with Six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances between 2003 and 2008. They defeated Los Angeles in five games for the team's third NBA championship in 2004 NBA Finals.
The rivalry was restored in the 2006 offseason when the Bulls signed free agent Ben Wallace, the cornerstone of the Pistons' defense. The addition of Wallace was immediately felt when the Bulls won the first regular season game in a blowout against the defending champion Miami Heat, the team that defeated the Pistons in the 2006 Eastern Conference Finals. The move of Ben Wallace stymied the Pistons early in the season, as the team sought to look for consistency without him. Dumars took the initiative and signed Chris Webber, who was just released from the 76ers. The teams met in the Eastern Conference Semifinals after the Pistons swept the Magic and the Bulls swept the Heat. The Pistons dominated the early parts of the series, stifling the Bulls' guards to sub-40% shooting to win not only the first two games at home, but also the first game in Chicago, in which the Pistons came back from a 17-point deficit in the second half. The Bulls shut down the Pistons' offense in the next two games to win Games 4 and 5. However, the Pistons won Game 6 in Chicago, winning the series 4-2.
The Pistons made it back to the Conference Finals in 2008. Chauncey Billups was traded early in the 2009 season, and they steadily declined. The Cleveland Cavaliers swept them in 2009. The Pistons signed free-agents Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva, and welcomed back Ben Wallace that offseason. However, injuries demoted them from an Eastern Conference power, winning only 27 games in the 2010 season, thus a rebuilding period for the team began. The team did manage to make it to the playoffs once again in 2016, once again losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a four-game sweep.
After missing the playoffs in a dismal 2008, the Bulls earned the first pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. They selected Chicago native Derrick Rose. The Bulls steadily rose to one of the NBA's elite teams; after a pair of 41-win seasons in Rose's first two seasons, the Bulls signed free-agent forward Carlos Boozer, and with the development of Joakim Noah to one of the best centers in the league, the Bulls rose the ranks in the Eastern Conference. However, subsequent injuries to Rose demoted them from being an elite team, and the team would struggle with inconsistency for several years. After trading Rose in 2016 and star forward Jimmy Butler in 2017, another rebuilding period began for the Bulls.
The following players have played for both the Bulls and the Pistons in their careers:
The 1991–92 NBA season was the Pistons' 44th season in the National Basketball Association, and 35th season in the city of Detroit. During the offseason, the Pistons acquired Orlando Woolridge from the Denver Nuggets. The Pistons got off to a slow start with a 9–13 record, but managed to win 10 of their next 13 games. They won seven consecutive games in March, then won six in a row in April, finishing third in the Central Division with a 48–34 record. Three members of the team, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman were all selected for the 1992 NBA All-Star Game. Despite leading the league with an incredible 18.7 rebounds per game, Rodman fell short of his quest for a third straight Defensive Player of The Year award. Throughout the season, speculation that it was Chuck Daly's last season as coach of the Pistons lingered in the media, intensifying as the season went out and well into the playoffs.As the “Bad Boys” era was fading, they were eliminated in five games in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Knicks. The Pistons would not return to the playoffs until 1996. Following the season, Chuck Daly left to coach the New Jersey Nets, and John Salley was traded to the Miami Heat. Meanwhile, the Bulls-Pistons rivalry took another ugly turn as Thomas was left off the Dream Team coached by Daly, reportedly at the request of Michael Jordan.Bears–Lions rivalry
The Bears–Lions rivalry is a National Football League (NFL) rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions. The franchises first met in 1930 when the Lions were known as the Portsmouth Spartans and based in Portsmouth, Ohio. They moved to Detroit for the 1934 season. The Bears and Lions have been division rivals since 1933 and have usually met twice a season since the Lions franchise began. The two teams play in the two largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest. Chicago and Detroit’s home stadiums, Soldier Field and Ford Field, are 280 miles apart and both are easily accessible from I-94.
This rivalry is the longest-running annual series in the NFL as both teams have met at least once a season since 1930. (Due to the 1982 strike, the Bears–Packers rivalry, which began in 1921, was not played that season.)
The Bears lead the overall series 99–74–5. The Bears won the only playoff meeting between the two teams, the 1932 NFL Championship Game, 9–0.Blackhawks–Red Wings rivalry
The Blackhawks–Red Wings rivalry is a Interconference rivalry in the National Hockey League (NHL) between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. Prior to the 2013–14 league-wide divisional realignment, it was the most intense rivalry in the Central Division during the post-lockout era. They represent the two largest metro areas in the Midwest and are only separated by a 280-mile stretch of road, mostly covered by I-94. The clubs began playing each other in 1926–27, during the inaugural season for both franchises.Bulls–Knicks rivalry
The Bulls–Knicks rivalry is a rivalry between the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The two basketball teams have played each other every year since the Bulls first joined the NBA in 1966. However, the rivalry began to grow in intensity during the late 1980s and early 1990s, when both teams became huge playoff contenders. This was due to a variety of factors: the great frequency in which the teams competed against each other in high-stakes contests and playoff series; well-known players such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing, and John Starks; the reputations of the team's respective cities; and personnel changes and conflicts between the teams. The two teams met in the playoffs seven times between 1981 and 1996, with the Bulls winning six of those series.Celtics–Pistons rivalry
The Celtics–Pistons rivalry is a National Basketball Association (NBA) rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. The two teams played each other in the NBA playoffs five times from 1985–1991, with Boston winning in 1985 and 1987, and Detroit winning en route to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 1988 and 1989, and 1991. The rivalry peaked in the late 1980s, featuring players such as Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, and Bill Laimbeer.Lakers–Pistons rivalry
The Lakers–Pistons rivalry is an American professional basketball rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons. This rivalry, which was showcased three times in the NBA Finals (1988, 1989, 2004), pitted the high-flying, All-Star filled Lakers teams against the blue collar, team-first oriented Pistons squads. Despite playing the role of underdog in all three of their final round meetings with Los Angeles, Detroit enjoyed significant success against the Lakers, claiming the NBA title against them twice.List of National Basketball Association rivalries
Throughout more than 70 seasons, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has had many intense rivalries. This article lists some of the famous rivalries in the NBA. Rivalries are classified into three primary groups; intradivisional, interdivisional, and interconference.
Interconference rivalries comprise games between opponents in different conferences. A team plays each opponent from the other conference in one home game and one away game.
Intradivisional rivalries comprise games between opponents in the same division. Since the 2004–05 NBA season, there are 30 teams in six divisions of 5 teams each. Each team plays each division opponent 4 times during the regular season (twice at home, twice away) for a total of 16 games out of 82 total regular season games.
Interdivisional rivalries comprise games between opponents in different divisions but within the same conference. A team plays against each team from the other two divisions in its conference either three or four times. The total interdivisional games an NBA team plays is 36. Conference games are often important, as a team's record in common games, as well as its overall record against its conference, are sometimes used as tiebreakers for playoff seeding at the end of the regular season. Also, many regular season opponents have met again in the playoffs, and the result of a regular season game can affect where the playoff game will be played.National Football League rivalries
As with all sports leagues, there are a number of significant rivalries in the National Football League (NFL). Rivalries are occasionally created due to a particular event that causes bad blood between teams, players, coaches, or owners, but for the most part, they arise simply due to the frequency with which some teams play each other, and sometimes exist for geographic reasons.
Rivalries in the NFL are commonly recognized as such by fans and players alike. While many rivalries are well established, others are of more recent vintage, accepted as existing by the nature of the competition and history between the two teams. Other rivalries have fallen by the wayside due to league realignment and reduction in frequencies of meetings.
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