Larry Bird’s steal against the Pistons squares off against Dave Henderson’s home run in the ’86 ALCS in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
7. Larry Bird steals ball against PistonsLarry Bird’s instincts helped secure one of the most memorable moments in Boston sports history. The Detroit Pistons were celebrating a win in Game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference finals on the sidelines, and who could blame them? They were up a point, with the ball, with a timeout to use and only five seconds remaining. But as Isiah Thomas held the ball on the Celtics’ half of the court looking for a man to inbound the ball to, he didn’t hear head coach Chuck Daly calling for a timeout. Neither did the refs nor anyone else on the court, for that matter. So Thomas proceeded to attempt a pass to the sure-handed Bill Laimbeer. Bird, who was covering Adrian Dantley with a close eye on Laimbeer, cut off Thomas’ lob pass and managed to keep his balance and remain in bounds. Celtics point guard Dennis Johnson, anticipating Bird’s steal, broke for the hoop and received a pass from Bird. Johnson laid in an easy two points as the clock wound down, stunning Pistons fans and giving the Celtics a 108-107 win in Game 5 of the ’87 conference finals, which they eventually won in seven games.
10. Hendu’s home run in 1986 ALCSThe Boston Red Sox were down to their last strike of the season. Down three games to one in the 1986 American League Championship Series, Boston trailed the California Angels 5-4 in the top of the ninth in Game 5 at Anaheim Stadium. Another Red Sox campaign appeared destined to end in disappointment. But with Rich Gedman on first base after getting plunked by a pitch, Dave Henderson launched a forkball from Donnie Moore over the left-field wall to give the Red Sox the 6-5 lead. Al Michaels, broadcasting the game for ABC, called Hendu’s blast “one for the ages.” The Red Sox lost the lead in the bottom of the ninth, but Boston won the game in the 11th and went on to capture the AL pennant.
Share your thoughts about Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment on Twitter at @NESN. Include #BGSM in your tweet.