Puneet Varma

1988 NBA Playoffs

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Season  1987–88
Teams  16
1988 NBA Playoffs

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.

Contents

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.

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. Allen Iverson would later equal that feat in the 2001 NBA Playoffs against the Toronto Raptors.

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 NBA game ever played at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Western Conference

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
  • This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first three meetings.

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

  • Game 1 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (April 29): Denver 126, Seattle 123
  • Game 2 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 1): Seattle 111, Denver 91
  • Game 3 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 3): Denver 124, Seattle 115
  • Game 4 @ Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle (May 5): Seattle 127, Denver 117
  • Game 5 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 7): Denver 115, Seattle 96
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the SuperSonics winning the first meeting.

    (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
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the Rockets.

    (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
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Trail Blazers and the Jazz.

    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
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Lakers and the Jazz.

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

  • Game 1 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 10): Denver 126, Dallas 115
  • Game 2 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 12): Dallas 112, Denver 108
  • Game 3 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 14): Denver 107, Dallas 105
  • Game 4 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 15): Dallas 124, Denver 103
  • Game 5 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 17): Dallas 110, Denver 106
  • Game 6 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 19): Dallas 108, Denver 95
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the 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
  • This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first two meetings.

    Eastern Conference

    Champion: Detroit Pistons

    1st Round

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

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 29): Boston 112, New York 92
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 1): Boston 128, New York 102
  • Game 3 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 4): New York 109, Boston 100
  • Game 4 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 6): Boston 102, New York 94
  • This was the 12th playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning six of the first 11 meetings.

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

  • Game 1 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 28): Detroit 96, Washington 87
  • Game 2 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 30): Detroit 102, Washington 101
  • Game 3 @ Capital Centre, Landover (May 2): Washington 114, Detroit 106
  • Game 4 @ Capital Centre, Landover (May 4): Washington 106, Detroit 103
  • Game 5 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 8): Detroit 99, Washington 78
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Pistons winning the first meeting.

    (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
  • This was the first playoff meeting between the Bulls and the 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
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Bucks winning the first meeting.

    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)
  • This was the ninth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning seven of the first eight meetings.

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

  • Game 1 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 10): Detroit 93, Chicago 82
  • Game 2 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 12): Chicago 105, Detroit 95
  • Game 3 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (May 14): Detroit 101, Chicago 79
  • Game 4 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (May 15): Detroit 96, Chicago 77
  • Game 5 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 18): Detroit 102, Chicago 95
  • This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Bulls winning the first meeting.

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

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 25): Detroit 104, Boston 96
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 26): Boston 119, Detroit 115
  • Game 3 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 28): Detroit 98, Boston 94
  • Game 4 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 30): Boston 79, Detroit 78
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 1): Detroit 102, Boston 96 (OT)
  • Game 6 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (June 3): Detroit 95, Boston 90
  • This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning the first three meetings.

    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 throws with 14 seconds left)
  • Game 7 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 21): Los Angeles 108, Detroit 105
  • This was the tenth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning eight of the first nine meetings.

    References

    1988 NBA Playoffs Wikipedia


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