Trisha Shetty

1987 NBA Playoffs

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Season  1986–87
Teams  16
1987 NBA Playoffs

The 1987 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1986–87 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. The Lakers earned their 10th NBA championship, and Magic Johnson was named NBA Finals MVP for a then-record third time.

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Before 2008, this was the last time the Celtics and Lakers met in the NBA Finals, though Boston threatened in 2002, making it to the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Nets in 6 games.

By making it to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons advanced farther in the playoffs than they had in the past 25 years. They would make their first NBA Finals appearance since 1956 the following season, the first of 3 straight trips to the Finals (winning the last 2).

The Warriors & Pacers made their first playoff appearances since 1977 and 1981. The Pacers also won their first NBA playoff game, in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Hawks.

By beating Dallas 3–1, the Sonics became the first #7 seed to defeat a #2 seed since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. They reached the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the Lakers. As of 2016, they are the most recent team with a sub-.500 record (39-43) to advance as far as the conference finals. The 1989 & 1991 Warriors, 1998 Knicks and 2010 Spurs were the other 7th seeds to beat the 2nd seed.

One of the most memorable moments of the playoffs occurred in the final moments of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals when, with Boston down 107-106, Isiah Thomas had his inbounds pass stolen by Larry Bird, who passed to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup.

The only dent in the Lakers' run to the Finals came in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors, when Sleepy Floyd scored a playoff record 39 points in the second half, with a record 29 coming in the fourth quarter, to seal a 129-121 win. Both records still stand.

Western Conference

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

1st Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Lakers win series 3–0

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 23): Los Angeles 128, Denver 95 (Magic Johnson hits an 88-foot shot at the buzzer to end the first half)
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 25): Los Angeles 139, Denver 127
  • Game 3 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (April 29): Los Angeles 140, Denver 103
  • This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first two meetings.

    (2) Dallas Mavericks vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: SuperSonics win series 3–1

  • Game 1 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 23): Dallas 151, Seattle 129
  • Game 2 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 25): Seattle 112, Dallas 110
  • Game 3 @ Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle (April 28): Seattle 117, Dallas 107
  • Game 4 @ Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle (April 30): Seattle 124, Dallas 98 (Seattle becomes first 7th seeded team to eliminate 2nd seeded team since Playoffs moved to 16-team format in 1984.)
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Mavericks winning the first meeting.

    (3) Portland Trail Blazers vs.(6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 3–1

  • Game 1 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 24): Houston 125, Portland 115
  • Game 2 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 26): Portland 111, Houston 98
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (April 28): Houston 117, Portland 108
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (April 30): Houston 113, Portland 101
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Rockets and the Trail Blazers.

    (4) Utah Jazz vs. (5) Golden State Warriors: Warriors win series 3–2

  • Game 1 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (April 23): Utah 98, Golden State 85
  • Game 2 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (April 25): Utah 103, Golden State 100
  • Game 3 @ Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland (April 29): Golden State 110, Utah 95
  • Game 4 @ Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland (May 1): Golden State 98, Utah 94
  • Game 5 @ Salt Palace, Salt Lake City (May 3): Golden State 118, Utah 113
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Warriors and the Jazz.

    Conference Semifinals

    (1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Golden State Warriors: Lakers win series 4–1

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 5): Los Angeles 125, Golden State 116
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 7): Los Angeles 116, Golden State 101
  • Game 3 @ Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland (May 9): Los Angeles 133, Golden State 108
  • Game 4 @ Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Arena, Oakland (May 10): Golden State 129, Los Angeles 121 (Sleepy Floyd's record 39-point 2nd half and 29-point 4th quarter)
  • Game 5 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 12): Los Angeles 118, Golden State 106
  • This was the sixth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning four of the first five meetings.

    (6) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: SuperSonics win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ The Summit, Houston (May 2): Seattle 111, Houston 106
  • Game 2 @ The Summit, Houston (May 5): Seattle 99, Houston 97
  • Game 3 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 7): Houston 102, Seattle 84
  • Game 4 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 9): Seattle 117, Houston 102
  • Game 5 @ The Summit, Houston (May 12): Houston 112, Seattle 107
  • Game 6 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 14): Seattle 128, Houston 125 (Double-OT; Hakeem Olajuwon scored 49 points, with 25 rebounds and six blocked shots)
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the SuperSonics winning the first meeting.

    Conference Finals

    (1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: Lakers win series 4–0

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 16): Los Angeles 92, Seattle 87
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 19): Los Angeles 112, Seattle 104
  • Game 3 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 23): Los Angeles 122, Seattle 121 (Michael Cooper's game-saving block on Dale Ellis with 35 seconds left)
  • Game 4 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 25): Los Angeles 133, Seattle 102
  • This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the SuperSonics winning two of the first three meetings.

    Eastern Conference

    Champion: Boston Celtics

    1st Round

    (1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Chicago Bulls: Celtics win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 23): Boston 108, Chicago 104
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 26): Boston 105, Chicago 96
  • Game 3 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (April 28): Boston 105, Chicago 94
  • This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning the first two meetings.

    (2) Atlanta Hawks vs. (7) Indiana Pacers: Hawks win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 24): Atlanta 110, Indiana 94
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 26): Atlanta 94, Indiana 93
  • Game 3 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (April 29): Indiana 96, Atlanta 87
  • Game 4 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 1): Atlanta 101, Indiana 97
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Hawks and the Pacers.

    (3) Detroit Pistons vs. (6) Washington Bullets: Pistons win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 24): Detroit 106, Washington 92
  • Game 2 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 26): Detroit 128, Washington 85
  • Game 3 @ Capital Centre, Landover (April 29): Detroit 97, Washington 96
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Pistons and the Bullets.

    (4) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (5) Philadelphia 76ers: Bucks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 24): Milwaukee 107, Philadelphia 104
  • Game 2 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 26): Philadelphia 125, Milwaukee 122
  • Game 3 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (April 29): Milwaukee 121, Philadelphia 120 (Jack Sikma gets his shot blocked, jumps back up, catches the ball in mid-air and line-drives it in with 2 seconds left for the game-winner.)
  • Game 4 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (May 1): Philadelphia 124, Milwaukee 118
  • Game 5 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 3): Milwaukee 102, Philadelphia 89 (Julius Erving's final NBA game)
  • This was the seventh playoff meeting between these two teams, with the 76ers winning four of the first six meetings.

    Conference Semifinals

    (1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 5): Boston 111, Milwaukee 98
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 6): Boston 126, Milwaukee 124
  • Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 8): Milwaukee 126, Boston 121
  • Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 10): Boston 138, Milwaukee 137
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 13): Milwaukee 129, Boston 124
  • Game 6 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 15): Milwaukee 121, Boston 111
  • Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 17): Boston 119, Milwaukee 113
  • This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning three of the first four meetings.

    (2) Atlanta Hawks vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 3): Detroit 112, Atlanta 111
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 5): Atlanta 115, Detroit 102
  • Game 3 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 8): Detroit 108, Atlanta 99
  • Game 4 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 10): Detroit 89, Atlanta 88 (Isiah Thomas makes the game-winning layup with 1 second left)
  • Game 5 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 13): Detroit 104, Atlanta 96
  • This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Hawks winning three of the first four meetings.

    Conference Finals

    (1) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 19): Boston 104, Detroit 91
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 21): Boston 110, Detroit 101
  • Game 3 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 23): Detroit 122, Boston 104
  • Game 4 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 24): Detroit 145, Boston 119
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 26): Boston 108, Detroit 107 (Larry Bird steals Isiah Thomas' inbound pass and gives the ball to Dennis Johnson, who hits the game-winning lay-up with 1 second left)
  • Game 6 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 28): Detroit 113, Boston 105
  • Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 30): Boston 117, Detroit 114
  • This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning the first two meetings.

    NBA Finals

    (1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (1) Boston Celtics Lakers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 2): Los Angeles 126, Boston 113
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 4): Los Angeles 141, Boston 122 (Michael Cooper hits six 3-pointers)
  • Game 3 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 7): Boston 109, Los Angeles 103
  • Game 4 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 9): Los Angeles 107, Boston 106 (Magic Johnson hits the game-winning "Baby-Hook" with 2 seconds left)
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 11): Boston 123, Los Angeles 108
  • Game 6 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 14): Los Angeles 106, Boston 93 (Bill Walton's final NBA game)
  • This was the tenth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning eight of the first nine meetings.

    References

    1987 NBA Playoffs Wikipedia


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