Cohen: Significant NBA Happenings in History That Many Have Forgotten or Ignored
Cohen's Analysis: It’s gloomy in many ways that many hoops fans associate Isiah Thomas with all the drama and calamity that transpired during his tenure as head coach and general manager of the New York Knicks.
Zeke is one of the best players ever. He won two NBA championships in Detroit and captured an NCAA title at Indiana in 1981.
Only three teams in NBA history have won three consecutive NBA championships: Boston (eight-peat, 1959-66), Chicago (1991-93 & 96-98) and Los Angeles (1952-54 & 2000-02). As a result of all that glory, Bill Russell, Michael Jordan and the combo of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant are forever linked to such an enormous feat.
However, what many people forget is that if not for an inopportune ankle injury to Isiah, the Pistons would have potentially joined that very short, yet illustrious, list.
In Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals, Thomas suffered a severe ankle sprain in the third quarter. Despite having to limp up and down the court for the rest of the night, Isiah managed to rack up 43 points and led Detroit to a memorable victory in L.A. to force a Game 7.
Most assumed it would be impossible for the outstanding point guard to play in the decisive game, but Zeke suited up and actually guided the Pistons to a five-point halftime advantage. However, during the break, Thomas’ ankle stiffened up and unlike the previous game, he was unable to be productive and the Lakers cruised to the title.
Detroit would go on to win the NBA title in each of the next two seasons. But it would have very possibly been a three-peat if not for that unfortunate injury.
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