I know, I know. The suspense is killing you. So I’ll save you a few anxious hours as you await today’s Game 7 between the Pistons and Bulls. After all, we know what’s going to happen, don’t we? . . .
FIRST QUARTER: The Pistons walk out for the opening tap. SHRIIEEK! Bill Laimbeer is called for a foul. It is the first time ever a player has been penalized for entering the game. CBS does a quick graphic. Meanwhile, the action starts and the Pistons race to a 10-2 lead, with Joe Dumars hitting five jumpers in a row. His goal is to tire Michael Jordan by forcing him to stay with him. During the first time-out, Dumars does a lap around the court. Jordan follows him. “What defense!” squeals the TV announcer. Back to the game. James Edwards gets hot and reels off a series of fade-away jumpers. After each shot, he is heard mumbling, “Call me old, will they? . . . Call me tired, will they? . . . ” The Palace crowd begins to roar as the Pistons pull ahead! Unfortunately, play is interrupted for a very important Comedy Clips segment on the giant screen. The fans sit back down and order popcorn. With the sudden drop in enthusiasm, the Bulls are able to come back, and the quarter ends in a 25-25 tie.
SECOND QUARTER: Isiah Thomas begins the period with a quick steal, and races the length of the court, but is lifted, twirled and slammed to the floor by Jordan. No foul is called. On the other end, Bill Laimbeer sneezes. He is charged with his second personal. “AW, C’MON JAKE,” screams Chuck Daly. “WHY DON’T YOU JUST GIVE ‘EM THE DAMN TITLE?” The referee turns to the Daly. “I’m Earl. That’s Jake.” Meanwhile, Dennis Rodman, wearing a size 13 shoe to fit his swollen left ankle, goes up for a rebound and comes down limping. “Give me the size 15s,” he yells. CBS immediately does a special report on shoe size. Craig Hodges enters the game and sinks four three-point baskets. The Bulls take the lead, 41-34. The Palace tries to excite the crowd by showing them an inspiring Trivia Quiz on the big screen. Doesn’t work. With 18 seconds left in the half, Jordan shoots the ball from 80 feet away. Swish! “Oh, I thought there was 1.8 seconds left,” he shrugs. CBS runs its feature on Jordan’s new endorsement deal with Timex. HALFTIME: Laimbeer called for two fouls. THIRD QUARTER: Chicago takes a 10-point lead, with Scottie Pippen hitting three quick hoops. Daly, desperate for a spark, looks down the bench.
“GREENBERG! GET IN THERE!” “Uh, that’s Greenwood, sir,” says David Greenwood. In he goes. Inspired by the new face, the Pistons narrow the gap to 63-58. Meanwhile, Dumars continues trying to tire Jordan by racing up eight flights of stairs to the executive suite level. But Jordan stays right with him. In fact, while he is up there, Jordan drops in two long shots and licks a few stamps. Actually, a fan just holds the stamps out as Jordan runs past, and Jordan’s tongue gets them. Down on the floor, Dennis Rodman falls again. The ankle swells. He is given a size 20 shoe. John Paxson tries on one of Rodman’s old shoes and suddenly is able to leap three feet in the air and grab every rebound. He also starts waving his fist after each basket. Bill Laimbeer flicks dust from his eye, and is whistled for his fifth foul. At the buzzer, the Pistons trail, 76-61. FOURTH QUARTER: During a time-out, Daly is handed a telephone. “What?” he screams into the receiver. His face drops. He hangs up. “Pat Riley got the NBC announcer job,” he says. “Looks like I’ll be back next year . . . and I guess I’ll decide who we trade.” The Pistons race out and score 13 unanswered points. John Salley blocks four shots in a row. Mark Aguirre suddenly plays defense. Dumars takes Jordan all the way to the parking lot. “You tired yet?” Dumars pants. “Unnnghh . . . ?” Jordan moans. Just then, Dumars trips over a thick electrical cord, and inside the Palace, the scoreboard goes blank and the speakers are silenced. The fans rise to their feet. They are as loud as the Chicago Stadium crowd. Vinnie Johnson jumper . . . good! Isiah three-pointer . . . good! Score tied, 89-89. With two seconds left, James Edwards is hammered unconscious by Horace Grant. SHRIIEEK! Bill Laimbeer is ejected. And he’s not even in the game. Edwards, meanwhile, cannot shoot the free throws, so the Bulls get to pick a sub. They choose Rodman, traditionally the worst foul shooter. And since his shoes are now size 27, he must stand five feet behind the line. He shoots. It hits the rim once, twice, three times . . . and plop. It falls! Pistons win! The Palace goes crazy! In the locker room, Daly is asked whether NBC had really called. “Nah,” he says.
“Just my tailor.” Hours later, Dumars finally gets home and drops in the couch. So does Jordan, right next to him. “Who won?” they ask each other, but they fall asleep before the answer.