The 1989 NBAChampionship Series – Lakers and Pistons


Detroit 63-19 coached by Chuck Daly with Jack McCloskey as executive faced the Los Angeles Lakers 57-25 coached by Pat Riley and with general manager Jerry West for the NBA title.

LA wentthroughthe playoffs undefeated led by Magic Johnson 22.5 points per game, 12.8 assists per game, 7.9 rebounds per game, James Worthy20.5 ppg, 6 rpg, Byron Scott 19.6 ppg, A. C. Green 13.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg and 41 year oldKareem Abdul Jabbar playing in the last of his twenty seasons in the NBA, 10.1 ppg.

Detroit too had an easy time in the playoffs losing only two games and those to the Micheal Jordan led Chicago Bulls in the eastern conference finals. They were led by Isiah Thomas 18.2 ppg, 8.3 apg, Joe Dumars 17.2 ppg, 5.7 apg, Bill Laimbeer 13.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg, Mark Aguirre who had been traded for Adrian Dantley in mid-season 15.5 ppg, Dennis Rodman 9.4 rpg, Vinnie Johnson 13.3 ppg and Rick Mahorn 6.9 rpg.

Detroit was a deep, hungry team that played good defense for their stylishly dressed coach Chuck Daly who was considered to be one of if not the best dressed coach in the league.

Game one was played in the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan and the Pistons led throughout most of the game for a 109-97 victory as they outrebounded the Lakers 45-32 and were led by Isiah Thomas with 24 points, Joe Dumars with 22 and Dennis Rodman and Mark Aguirre both with 10 rebounds each and the Pistons lead the series 1-0.

Magic Johnson with 17 points and 14 assists and James Worthy with 17 points led LA.

Game two was still in Michigan and the Lakers took an early lead and led 92-84 after three quarters but could muster only 13 fourth quarter points and lost 108-105 to go down to the Pistons who according to youtube were led by Isiah Thomas who scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half to take a two games to none lead in the series.

Mychal Cooper and James Worthy led the Lakers with 19 points each.

Game three was at the Forum and again the Lakers led after three quarters but the Pistons outscored them in the fourth quarter for a 114-110 win to go up three game to none. Detroit was led by Joe Dumars with 31 points and Isiah Thomas with 26 and Dennis Rodman with 19 rebounds while the 41 year old Jabbar scored 24 points and pulled down 13 rebounds and James Worthy had 26 points.

The Lakers were hampered by having Magic Johnson for only five minutes of the game as he reinjured his hamstring and was not able to play for the rest of the series as seen on rebroadcast of the game on youtube.

The Lakers again got out to a first quarter lead in game four in LA but without Magic Johnson they were outmatched by the Pistons and Detroit wins the game 105-97 and sweeps the Lakersfour games to none to win the series.

Joe Dumars led the Pistons with 23 points and got the series MVP award while James Worthy had 40 points and A. C. Green had 12 rebounds for the Lakers.

The Pistons would be back the next year while the Lakers returned to the finals in 1991.

Game four marked the end of the career of one of the NBA’s greatest players in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as in 20 seasons he scored 38,387 points (first all time), won six NBA titles, six NBA MVP awards, two NBA finals awards and pulled down 17, 440 rebounds, third lifetime behind Wilt Chamberlain with 23,924 and Bill Russell with 21,620.

That is in addition to his stellar career at UCLA where he was on three NCAA tournament championship teams.

The statistics were obtained from

By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

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