1990 Championship Series – Pistons and Trail Blazers

The world champion Detroit Pistons 59-23 coached by Chuck Daly and with executive Jack McCloskey returned to the finals to face the Portland Trail Blazers 59-23 coached by Rick Adelman with executive Bucky Buckwalter.

The Pistons had to win a seven game eastern conference championship roundagainst the Chicago Bulls as even though he did not play in the finals Micheal Jordan still led all scorers in the playoffs with 578 points averaging over 36 points a game.

The Pistons were led by Isiah Thomas 18.4 points per game, 9.4 assists per game, Joe Dumars 17.8 ppg, 4.9 apg, Bill Laimbeer 12.1 ppg, 9.6 rebounds per game, Dennis Rodman 9.7 rpg, James Edwards 14.5 ppg, Mark Aguirre 14.1 ppg and Joe Salley 5.4 rpg.

The Trail Blazers wereled by Clyde Drexler 23.3 ppg, 5.9 apg, 6.9 rpg, Terry Porter 17.6 ppg, 9.1 apg, Jerome Kersey 16.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, Buck Williams 13.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg, and Kevin Duckworth 16.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg.

The series opened in The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan and the Trail Blazers led 80-76 after three quarters but the Pistons outscored them 29-19 to win game one 105-99. The Pistons were led by Isiah Thomas with 33 points, Joe Dumars with 20 points and Bill Laimbeer with 15 rebounds.

Portland was paced by Buck Williams 20 points and 12 rebounds and Clyde Drexler with 21 points and 9 rebounds and the Pistons go up 1-0 in the series.

The Trail Blazers hung tough and came back to win game two 106-105 in overtime to even the series at one game each in a game in which free throws made the difference.

As seen on youtube Terry Porter made two free throws with just a few seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 94-94 and Clyde Drexler made two free throws with seconds left in overtime for the one point victory.

Drexler finished with 33 points, Terry Porter 21 and Buck Williams pulled down 12 rebounds to lead Portland while Isiah Thomas had 23 points and 11 assists, and James Edwards added 26 points and Bill Laimbeer had 26 points and 11 rebounds as the series switches to Portland.

For game three the teams move to Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon. Detroit dominated, winning 121-106 to take a two games to one lead in the series. Joe Dumars led the Pistons with 33 points, Isiah Thomas added 21 and Bill Laimbeer pulled down 12 rebounds.

Clyde Drexler had another good game with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Jerome Kersey added 27 points and Terry Porter scored 20.

In game four the Pistons led 83-73 after three quarters and although the Trail Blazers made a run in the fourth quarter Detroit won 112-109 to lead three games to one. Isiah Thomas led with 32 points, Joe Dumars added 26 and Bill Laimbeer had 12 rebounds while for Portland Clyde Drexler had 34 points and 10 assists and Jerome Kersey added 33 points.

Game five was back in Auburn Hills and the teams were tied late in the game when as seen on youtube Vinnie Johnson made a basket with less than a second left in the game to win it and the NBA title for the Pisotns with a 92-90 victory.

Isiah Thomas got the series MVP and Portland returned two years later in 1992 against the Chicago Bulls while Detroit did not return to the finals until 2004.

Basketball-reference.com was used for the statistics of this series.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate