The 1988 NBA Finals: 5 Highlights

Curious about the 1988 NBA finals and 5 highlights from that era? The 1988 NBA finals pitted the Los Angeles Lakers against the Detroit Pistons. The series was a tug of war between two teams with NBA Hall of Fame players. The Lakers would win the series and the NBA championship in game seven. Here are 5 highlights from one of the most contested NBA finals in history.

  1. The Lakers had their backs against the wall in game two of the 1988 NBA finals. After losing game one, they knew they had to win this game or travel to Detroit down two in the series, an almost no-win situation. With their backs against the wall, the Lakers came out and played well, defeating the Pistons 108 to 96. James Worthy led the Lakers with 26 points, but had help from stars Bryon Scott and Magic Johnson, who had 24 and 23 points respectively.
  2. Game three was a pivotal game in the 1988 NBA finals. With both teams split at one win apiece, the Lakers were eager to steal one in Detroit. Magic Johnson was still battling the flu but came out and played extremely well. Johnson had eighteen points and fourteen assists and led the Lakers to a 99 to 86 win.
  3. Game five marked the last game the Pistons would play in the Pontiac Silverdome. With the series tied at two games apiece, the Pistons wanted to send the dome out in style. Adrian Dantley scored 25 points and helped the Pistons defeat the Lakers 104 to 94. The win meant Detroit would only have to win one game in Los Angeles.
  4. In game six, Isiah Thomas put on a scoring clinic. Eager to put the series away, Thomas was on fire in the third quarter. Despite injuring his ankle, Thomas was able to score 25 points in the third quarter. The Lakers would rally back to tie the series at three games apiece, but it was Thomas’ ability to fight off injury that would go down as one of the toughest performances in history.
  5. Game seven of the 1988 NBA finals lived up to the hype. The game was series of lead changes that saw the Pistons up five at halftime only to trail the Lakers by double digits late into the fourth quarter. The Pistons cut into the Laker lead and were able to get it to 102 to 100 on a jumper by Joe Dumars with a minute seventeen left. The Lakers were able to rally back and made it 108 to 105 with only a few seconds left. The last few seconds would live forever in controversy. Thomas received the ball at midcourt and was bumped by Johnson with a few seconds left. No foul was called and Thomas was unable to get off a shot. At the same time, fans were storming onto the court and the refs allowed play to continue despite the interference. The win marked back to back NBA titles for the Lakers, who also won the 1987 NBA championship.


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