Detroit Pistons: Most memorable moments at The Palace

DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons have been playing at The Palace of Auburn Hills since 1988.

Monday night marks the last Detroit Pistons game at the arena.

Here are some of the most memorable moments, as the Pistons prepare to move to Detroit. 

Pistons arrive at The Palace in 1988

The Pistons graced their new home in the 1988 season with an NBA Finals birth. 

The team played at Detroit's Cobo Arena from 1960 to 1978, and then at the Pontiac Silverdome, which they shared with the Detroit Lions.

The 1988 Pistons ended up losing to Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers, despite the memorable 25-point 3rd quarter in Game 6 by an injured Isiah Thomas.

Michael Jordan, Bulls sweep Pistons in 1991

After years of losing to the Pistons, the Chicago Bulls finally got past Detroit by sweeping them in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals.

Michael Jordan and the Bulls routed Detroit at The Palace in Game 4, 115-94, securing their trip to the NBA Finals.

Controversy surrounded the ending of the series as Pistons star Isiah Thomas and other teammates heading to the locker room without acknowledging the Bulls.

Thomas said the Pistons decided to snub the Bulls near the end of Game 4 because Chicago had criticized the Bad Boys: 

"We thought we deserved a little bit of respect as a champion," Thomas said. "Everyone could play and act like the Pistons and adopt our philosophy, except the Pistons. Before the Bulls swept us, I remember clearly Jordan and Phil Jackson and everyone, they went on a day, day-and-a-half tirade about how we were bad for the game, about how we were bad people, about how [Bill] Laimbeer was a thug. They were up 3-0, and then they had this press conference just totally disrespecting us as champions."

Billups, Prince complete series comeback vs T-Mac, Magic in 2003

It was the birth of the "Going to Work" Pistons team. It was also the coming out party for Tayshaun Prince.

Detroit trailed the Orlando Magic 3-1 in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs.

After Game 4, Magic star Tracy McGrady said in a press conference that it "feels good to get into the second round."

That's when the Pistons turned it on. Prince was assigned to McGrady, which slowed his scoring down considerably.

Additionally, Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups took games over, scoring 40 points in Game 6, and 37 in Game 7 at The Palace, as the Pistons completed the comeback.

Pistons beat star-studded Lakers in 2004 finals

It was a battle of opposites: a Lakers team loaded with superstars against a Pistons team made up of "role players."

After losing Game 1 at Staples Center, the Pistons won the next four games, in what would be called a "five-game sweep" for Detroit, which ended with a celebration on The Palace floor.

Pistons point guard Chauncey Billups, a former journeyman in the NBA, was named Finals MVP. 


Malice at The Palace - 2004 Pistons-Pacers brawl

It would go down as the ugliest event in American sports history. 

The ordeal, known as the "Malice at the Palace," happened on November 19, 2004.


LeBron James drops 48 on Pistons in Game 5

Some call it the game that ended the Pistons run in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James scored 48 points against the Pistons in Game 5 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals, scoring 29 of the Cavs' final 30 points, winning in double-overtime, 109-107.

"When they needed a two in the fourth, LeBron got them a dunk. When they needed a three in double-OT, LeBron got them a triple. When they needed a stop after Billups and Prince were taking turns putting it on Damon Jones, LeBron got a steal. When they needed a game winner with the game tied, LeBron got them a finger roll to seal the deal."

About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.