1988 NBA Finals - Lakers Defeat Pistons
The 1988 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1987–88 NBA season.
One of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley's most famous moments came when he promised the crowd a repeat championship during the Lakers' 1986-87 championship parade in downtown Los Angeles. With every team in the league now gunning for them, the Los Angeles Lakers still found a way to win, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title. While the 1988 Lakers did not produce as many wins in the regular season as the 1987 Lakers, they were just as successful in the playoffs, becoming the first team in 20 years to repeat as champions. The Lakers met the physical Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals.
One of Piston guard Isiah Thomas' career-defining performances came in Game 6. Despite badly twisting his ankle midway through the period, Thomas scored a still-NBA Finals record 25 third quarter points, as Detroit fell valiantly, 103-102, to the Lakers at the Forum.
Thomas was still hot enough to pump in 10 first half points in Game 7, as Detroit built a 5 point lead. In the 3rd quarter, the Lakers, inspired by Finals MVP James Worthy and Byron Scott (14 3rd quarter points), exploded as they built a 10-point lead entering the final period. The lead swelled to 15 before Detroit mounted a furious 4th-quarter rally, trimming the lead to 2-points on several occasions. Still several Detroit miscues enabled the Lakers to escape with a 108-105 victory.
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons four games to three in the best-of-seven NBA Finals series to conclude the 1987-88 season. It was the second consecutive championship for the Lakers, and the fifth in nine seasons.
The Pistons were making their first Finals appearance since 1956, when the team was based in Fort Wayne, Ind. It was also their first Finals appearance as an Eastern Conference team; the Fort Wayne Pistons were based in the Western Division.
James Worthy won the NBA Finals MVP award, becoming the fifth different Lakers player to win the award (Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).
The Lakers had home-court advantage for the finals. The Lakers swept the two regular-season meetings between the teams.