1988 NBA Playoffs

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The 1988 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1987–88 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. James Worthy was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Lakers became the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1969 to repeat as champions, a feat that coach Pat Riley guaranteed the previous offseason.

This marked the first time since 1983 that the Celtics did not represent the East in the NBA Finals, but they did win one of the most memorable games of the 1988 playoffs, beating the Hawks 118–116 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Boston Garden. Larry Bird scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston overcome the 47 points scored by Dominique Wilkins.[1]

The Dallas Mavericks made their first trip to the Western Conference Finals, losing in 7 to the Lakers. They would not advance that far again until 2003, and would not face the Lakers again until 2011.

The New York Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 1984. They remained regulars until 2001, which included NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. On the other hand, the Washington Bullets did not return until 1997, and would not win a playoff game again until 2005 as the Wizards.

In the first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Michael Jordan scored 50 or more points twice—50 points in Game 1, and 55 points in Game 2—becoming the first player to do so in the same series.[2] Allen Iverson would later equal that feat in the 2001 NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors.[3]

This was the first time in NBA history that a game other than a Finals game was played during the month of June.

Game 4 of the Hawks-Bucks series was the last game ever played at the MECCA, later known as the US Cellular Arena. The Bucks moved to the Bradley Center the next season; BMO Harris Bank purchased its naming rights in 2012.

Game 5 of the NBA Finals was the last game ever played at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Bracket[edit]

First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 L.A. Lakers 3
8 San Antonio 0
1 L.A. Lakers 4
5 Utah 3
4 Portland 1
5 Utah 3
1 L.A. Lakers 4
Western Conference
3 Dallas 3
3 Dallas 3
6 Houston 1
3 Dallas 4
2 Denver 2
2 Denver 3
7 Seattle 2
W1 L.A. Lakers 4
E2 Detroit 3
1 Boston 3
8 New York 1
1 Boston 4
4 Atlanta 3
4 Atlanta 3
5 Milwaukee 2
1 Boston 2
Eastern Conference
2 Detroit 4
3 Chicago 3
6 Cleveland 2
3 Chicago 1
2 Detroit 4
2 Detroit 3
7 Washington 2

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

1st Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) San Antonio Spurs: Lakers win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 29): Los Angeles 122, San Antonio 110
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 1): Los Angeles 130, San Antonio 112
  • Game 3 @ HemisFair Arena, San Antonio (May 3): Los Angeles 109, San Antonio 107

Last Playoff Meeting: 1986 Western Conference First Round (Los Angeles won 3-0)

(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: Nuggets win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1978 Western Conference Finals (Seattle won 4-2)

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Mavericks win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 28): Dallas 120, Houston 110
  • Game 2 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 30): Houston 119, Dallas 108
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (May 3): Dallas 93, Houston 92
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (May 5): Dallas 107, Houston 97

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Rockets and Mavericks.

(4) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (5) Utah Jazz:Jazz win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 28): Portland 108, Utah 96
  • Game 2 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 30): Utah 114, Portland 105
  • Game 3 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 4): Utah 113, Portland 108
  • Game 4 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 6): Utah 111, Portland 96

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Jazz and Trail Blazers.

Conference Semifinals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Lakers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 8): Los Angeles 110, Utah 91
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 10): Utah 101, Los Angeles 97
  • Game 3 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 13): Utah 96, Los Angeles 89
  • Game 4 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 15): Los Angeles 113, Utah 100
  • Game 5 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 17): Los Angeles 111, Utah 109 (Michael Cooper hits the game-winner with 7 seconds left; John Stockton ties the NBA playoff record for assists)
  • Game 6 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 19): Utah 108, Los Angeles 80
  • Game 7 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 21): Los Angeles 109, Utah 98

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Jazz and Lakers.

(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks: Mavericks win series 4-2

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Mavericks and Nuggets.

Conference Finals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks: Lakers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 23): Los Angeles 113, Dallas 98
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 25): Los Angeles 123, Dallas 101
  • Game 3 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 27): Dallas 106, Los Angeles 94
  • Game 4 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 29): Dallas 118, Los Angeles 104
  • Game 5 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 31): Los Angeles 119, Dallas 102
  • Game 6 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (June 2): Dallas 105, Los Angeles 103
  • Game 7 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 4): Los Angeles 117, Dallas 102

Last Playoff Meeting: 1986 Western Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles won 4-2)

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Detroit Pistons

1st Round

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) New York Knicks: Celtics win series 3-1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Boston won 4-3)

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Washington Bullets: Pistons win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1987 Eastern Conference First Round (Detroit won 3-0)

(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Cleveland Cavaliers: Bulls win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (April 28): Chicago 104, Cleveland 93
  • Game 2 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (May 1): Chicago 106, Cleveland 101
  • Game 3 @ The Coliseum, Richfield (May 3): Cleveland 110, Chicago 102
  • Game 4 @ The Coliseum, Richfield (May 5): Cleveland 97, Chicago 91
  • Game 5 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (May 8): Chicago 107, Cleveland 101

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Bulls and Cavaliers.

(4) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Milwaukee Bucks: Hawks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 29): Atlanta 110, Milwaukee 107
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 1): Atlanta 104, Milwaukee 97
  • Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 4): Milwaukee 123, Atlanta 115
  • Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 6): Milwaukee 105, Atlanta 99
  • Game 5 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 8): Atlanta 121, Milwaukee 111

Last Playoff Meeting: 1984 Eastern Conference First Round (Milwaukee won 3-2)

Conference Semifinals (1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 11): Boston 110, Atlanta 101
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 13): Boston 108, Atlanta 97
  • Game 3 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 15): Atlanta 110, Boston 92
  • Game 4 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 16): Atlanta 118, Boston 109
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 18): Atlanta 112, Boston 104
  • Game 6 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 20): Boston 102, Atlanta 100
  • Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 22): Boston 118, Atlanta 116 (Wilkins/Bird Duel)

Last Playoff Meeting: 1986 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Boston won 4-1)

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (3) Chicago Bulls: Pistons win series 4-1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1974 Western Conference Semifinals (Chicago won 4-3)

Conference Finals (1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1987 Eastern Conference Finals (Boston won 4-3)

NBA Finals[edit]

Main article: 1988 NBA Finals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (2) Detroit Pistons: Lakers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 7): Detroit 105, Los Angeles 93
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 9): Los Angeles 108, Detroit 96
  • Game 3 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (June 12): Los Angeles 99, Detroit 86
  • Game 4 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (June 14): Detroit 111, Los Angeles 86
  • Game 5 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (June 16): Detroit 104, Los Angeles 94
  • Game 6 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 19): Los Angeles 103, Detroit 102 (Isiah Thomas scores a Finals record 25 points in the 3rd quarter, despite having a severely sprained ankle; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hits the game-winning free throw with 14 seconds left)
  • Game 7 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 21): Los Angeles 108, Detroit 105

Last Playoff Meeting: 1962 Western Division Finals (Los Angeles won 4-2)

External links[edit]