The 1988 NBA Championship Series – Lakers and Pistons


By Ron Griffitts - Contributing Columnist



The Los Angeles Lakers62-20 still coached by Pat Riley and had as general manager Jerry West faced the Detroit Pistons a team that had not been to the finals since they were in Fort Wayne in 1956. The Pistons were coached by Chuck Daly and their executive was Jack McCloskey.

The Lakers had a more difficult time getting to the finals as they had to win two seven game series, one against the Jazz and one against the Mavericks to get there

They were led by Byron Scott 21.7 points per game, Magic Johnson 19.6 ppg, 6.2 rebounds per game, 11.9 assists per game, James Worthy 19.7 ppg, A. C. Green 11.4ppg, 8.7 rpg, 40 year oldKareem Abdul-Jabbar 14.6 ppg, Mychal Thompson 11.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg and Tony Campbell 11.0 ppg.

The Pistons were led by Isiah Thomas 21.7 ppg, Bill Laimbeer 13.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg, Joe Dumars 14.2 ppg, 4.7 apg, Adrian Dantley 20.0 ppg, Rick Mahorn 10.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, Dennis Rodman 11.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg and Vinnie Johnson 12.2 ppg.

The series opened for the second consecutive year in the Forum in LA.Game one was close in the first quarter but the Pistons went on a 35-19 run in the second quarter to hold on for an away game victory 105-93 to go up in the series 1-0.

The Pistons were led by Adrian Dantley who made 14 of 16 field goal attempts for 34 points and Isiah Thomas with 12 assists while the Lakers were paced by Magic Johnson with 28 points and 10 assists and A. C. Green with 12 rebounds.

The Lakers responded in game two with a 108-96 win to tie the series at one game each. James Worthy led with 26 points and 10 rebounds, Byron Scott added 24 points and Magic Johnsonhad 23 points and 11 assists while A. C. Green contributed 13 rebounds, 10 of which were defensive rebounds.

The Pistons had six players in double figures with Adrian Dantley leading with 19 points.

Game three was in the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit and the Lakers played good defense holding the Pistons to 86 points in a 99-86 win to go up twogames to one. Detroit was led by Isiah Thomas with 28 points and Dennis Rodman with 12 rebounds while James Worthy led LA with 24 points, A. C. Green had 21 points and Magic Johnson had 14 assists.

In game four the Pistons bounced back to tie the series at two games each with a 111-86 victory. Magic Johnson had 23 points for LA and A. C. Green contributed 10 rebounds while Adrian Dantley scored 27 points and Isiah Thomas had 12 assists for the Pistons.

In game five still in Detroit the Pistons outrebounded the Lakers 53-31 on their way to a 104-94 victory to take a three gamesto two series lead led by Adrian Dantley’s 25 points, 11 rebounds from Bill Laimbeer and 10 rebounds from John Salley and the teams head back to LA for game six.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 26 points and Magic Johnson had 17 assists for the Lakers.

Game six was in LA and the Pistons were trying to close out the Lakers in a pivotal game in which according the NBA website Isiah Thomas despite a sprained ankle scored 25 points in the third quarter to keep the Pistons in the game even though they ended up losing 103-102 on a foul by Bill Laimbeer in which Kareem scored the winning points on two free throws and the Lakers even the series three games each. (This can be seen on youtube.)

Thomas had 43 points and six steals while Joe Dumars had 10 assists. For LA James Worthy scored 28 points, Magic Johnson had 22 points and 19 assists and A. C. Green added 10 rebounds.

Game seven at the Forum was just as close as the Lakerswon the game and title with a 108-105 win. The Lakers went on a 35-21 run in the third quarter to hold off Detroit as Isiah Thomas hampered by his sore ankle played only 28 minutes and scored only 10 points.

The Lakers were led by James Worthy with 36 points, 10 assists and 16 rebounds, while Magic Johnson had 14 assists and Byron Scott had 21 points. The Pistons were led by Joe Dumars with 25 points and John Salley with 10 rebounds.

James Worthy got the series MVP and the same two teams would be back in the 1989 finals.

Statistics were garnered from basketball-reference.com.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate