Detroit Pistons

Happy 32nd birthday, Larry Bird's steal against the Pistons

Happy 32nd birthday, Larry Bird's steal against the Pistons

It is one of the signature plays of Larry Bird's Hall of Fame career. And it happened 32 years ago today.

May 26, 1987. Eastern Conference Finals Game 5. Series tied at 2. The Celtics trail the Pistons 107-106 with five seconds left after the C's lose the ball out of bounds after Dennis Rodman blocks Bird's shot on a drive to the basket.

Isiah Thomas only needs to inbound the ball successfully and the Celtics will have to foul for any chance to get the ball back.

Larry Legend had other plans.

As you watch the video of the play above, it's interesting to note not only Bird's awareness as he intercepts Thomas' pass intended for Bill Laimbeer, but fellow Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson immediately moving to the basket to await the pass from Bird for the game-winning layup after Bird makes the steal. Final score: Celtics 108, Pistons 106. Boston takes a 3-2 series lead on its way to a seven-game series victory. 

Bird's stat line from Game 5: 36 points (no 3's!), 12 rebounds, nine assists and one big steal.

The banged-up Celtics would go on to lose to the Lakers in the NBA Finals in six games but no one would soon forget the theft that got them there.

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NBA Playoffs: Predictions, analysis for every series

NBA Playoffs: Predictions, analysis for every series

The NBA regular season is officially in the rear-view mirror, and now comes the real fun: two months of playoff basketball, with 16 teams chasing a championship.

On the heels of four straight trips to the Finals, the defending champion Warriors entered the season as the odds-on favorite to repeat — but this is about as vulnerable as we’ve seen them during their reign of dominance in the NBA. And the West is loaded as always, with each of the eight playoff teams coming off a season with at least 48 wins.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Conference is as wide open as it's been in years, now that LeBron James has taken his talents to Los Angeles (where the Lakers missed the playoffs altogether). Can Giannis cap off an MVP-caliber season by leading the Bucks to the Finals? Can the Celtics rebound from an inconsistent regular season? Will Kawhi Leonard bring the Raptors an Eastern Conference crown for the first time in franchise history?

A. Sherrod Blakely and Chris Forsberg look at every postseason series and forecast which team will win — and why — all the way through the NBA Finals. (Spoiler alert: their Finals predictions are completely different, and they only agree on one team as a conference finalist.)

Click here for their round-by-round predictions.>>>>>

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Which Eastern Conference teams will rise and fall after the All-Star break?

Which Eastern Conference teams will rise and fall after the All-Star break?

Click here for the gallery.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.