1988 NBA playoffs

A ticket for Game 1 of the 1988 Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks.
A ticket for Game 1 of the 1988 NBA Finals at The Forum.

The 1988 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1987–88 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. James Worthy was named NBA Finals MVP. The Lakers became the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1969 to repeat as champions, a feat that coach Pat Riley guaranteed the previous offseason.

This marked the first time since 1983 that the Celtics did not represent the East in the NBA Finals, but they did win one of the most memorable games of the 1988 playoffs, beating the Hawks 118–116 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Boston Garden. Larry Bird scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston overcome the 47 points scored by Dominique Wilkins.

The Dallas Mavericks made their first trip to the Western Conference Finals, losing in 7 to the Lakers. They would not advance that far again until 2003, and would not face the Lakers again until 2011.

The New York Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 1984. They remained regulars until 2001, which included NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. On the other hand, the Washington Bullets did not return until 1997, and would not win a playoff game again until 2005 as the Wizards.

In the first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Michael Jordan scored 50 or more points twice—50 points in Game 1, and 55 points in Game 2—becoming the first player to do so in the same series.

This was the first time in NBA history that a game other than a Finals game was played during the month of June.

Game 4 of the Hawks-Bucks series was the last game ever played at the MECCA, later known as the US Cellular Arena. The Bucks moved to the Bradley Center the next season; BMO Harris Bank purchased its naming rights in 2012. The Bucks played there for 30 seasons, moving into the Fiserv Forum for the 2018-19 season.

Game 5 of the NBA Finals was the last NBA game ever played at the Pontiac Silverdome.

This was the last NBA postseason to have back-to-backs in the conference finals (they would still occur in the conference semifinals until 2000).

Bracket

 First RoundConference SemifinalsConference FinalsNBA Finals
                   
E1Boston*3 
E8New York1 
 E1Boston*4 
 E4Atlanta3 
E4Atlanta3
E5Milwaukee2 
 E1Boston*2 
Eastern Conference
 E2Detroit*4 
E3Chicago3 
E6Cleveland2 
 E3Chicago1
 E2Detroit*4 
E2Detroit*3
E7Washington2 
 E1Detroit*3
 W1LA Lakers*4
W1LA Lakers*3 
W8San Antonio0 
 W1LA Lakers*4
 W5Utah3 
W4Portland1
W5Utah3 
 W1LA Lakers*4
Western Conference
 W3Dallas3 
W3Dallas3 
W6Houston1 
 W3Dallas4
 W2Denver*2 
W2Denver*3
W7Seattle2 


* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage


First Round

Eastern Conference First Round

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) New York Knicks

April 29
New York Knicks 92, Boston Celtics 112
Scoring by quarter: 29–26, 22–27, 24–29, 17–30
Pts: Gerald Wilkins 24
Rebs: Ewing, Green 11 each
Asts: Mark Jackson 9
Pts: McHale, Bird 29 each
Rebs: Robert Parish 13
Asts: Dennis Johnson 9
Boston leads series, 1–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Earl Strom, Paul Mihalak
May 1
New York Knicks 102, Boston Celtics 128
Scoring by quarter: 25–29, 23–34, 24–28, 30–37
Pts: Gerald Wilkins 24
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 10
Asts: Mark Jackson 7
Pts: Larry Bird 36
Rebs: Kevin McHale 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 9
Boston leads series, 2–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Hue Hollins, Ed Rush
May 4
Boston Celtics 100, New York Knicks 109
Scoring by quarter: 21–22, 24–23, 25–28, 30–36
Pts: Kevin McHale 24
Rebs: Robert Parish 11
Asts: Larry Bird 12
Pts: Johnny Newman 34
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 10
Asts: Mark Jackson 14
Boston leads series, 2–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 19,591
Referees: Mike Mathis, Hugh Evans
May 6
Boston Celtics 102, New York Knicks 94
Scoring by quarter: 28–21, 24–25, 19–24, 31–24
Pts: Larry Bird 28
Rebs: Robert Parish 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 12
Pts: Mark Jackson 28
Rebs: Patrick Ewing 20
Asts: Mark Jackson 9
Boston wins series, 3–1
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
Attendance: 19,591
Referees: Jess Kersey, Joe Crawford

This was the 12th playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning six of the first 11 meetings.

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (7) Washington Bullets

April 28
Washington Bullets 87, Detroit Pistons 96
Scoring by quarter: 21–20, 21–18, 19–29, 26–29
Pts: Jeff Malone 33
Rebs: Moses Malone 13
Asts: John Williams 9
Pts: Isiah Thomas 34
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 12
Asts: Joe Dumars 6
Detroit leads series, 1–0
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 17,356
Referees: Darell Garretson, Terry Durham
April 30
Washington Bullets 101, Detroit Pistons 102
Scoring by quarter: 23–28, 23–23, 36–25, 19–26
Pts: Jeff Malone 31
Rebs: Moses Malone 14
Asts: Jeff Malone 4
Pts: Isiah Thomas 30
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 11
Asts: Joe Dumars 5
Detroit leads series, 2–0
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 18,293
Referees: Hugh Evans, Bruce Alexander
May 2
Detroit Pistons 106, Washington Bullets 114 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 25–29, 26–23, 24–28, 23–18, Overtime: 8–16
Pts: Isiah Thomas 29
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 8
Asts: Isiah Thomas 8
Pts: Jeff Malone 35
Rebs: Moses Malone 9
Asts: Steve Colter 6
Detroit leads series, 2–1
Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland
Attendance: 9,673
Referees: Jack Madden, Mike Mathis
May 4
Detroit Pistons 103, Washington Bullets 106
Scoring by quarter: 29–27, 21–26, 28–25, 25–28
Pts: Dantley, Rodman 23 each
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 10
Asts: Isiah Thomas 10
Pts: Jeff Malone 25
Rebs: Moses Malone 8
Asts: Darrell Walker 5
Series tied, 2–2
Capital Centre, Landover, Maryland
Attendance: 10,513
Referees: Earl Strom, Jess Kersey, Dick Bavetta
May 8
Washington Bullets 78, Detroit Pistons 99
Scoring by quarter: 22–27, 18–23, 20–23, 18–26
Pts: Bernard King 18
Rebs: Moses Malone 12
Asts: three players 3 each
Pts: Joe Dumars 20
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 11
Asts: Isiah Thomas 11
Detroit wins series, 3–2
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 18,403
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Ed Rush

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Pistons winning the first meeting.

(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Cleveland Cavaliers

April 28
Cleveland Cavaliers 93, Chicago Bulls 104
Scoring by quarter: 29–23, 19–30, 28–20, 17–31
Pts: Craig Ehlo 21
Rebs: Larry Nance 8
Asts: Mark Price 12
Pts: Michael Jordan 50
Rebs: Charles Oakley 15
Asts: John Paxson 7
Chicago leads series, 1–0
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees: Jack Madden, Hue Hollins, Bruce Alexander
May 1
Cleveland Cavaliers 101, Chicago Bulls 106
Scoring by quarter: 36–23, 19–28, 24–28, 22–27
Pts: Larry Nance 27
Rebs: Brad Daugherty 13
Asts: Larry Nance 8
Pts: Michael Jordan 55
Rebs: Charles Oakley 12
Asts: Sam Vincent 14
Chicago leads series, 2–0
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,645
Referees: Darell Garretson, Paul Mihalak
May 3
Chicago Bulls 102, Cleveland Cavaliers 110
Scoring by quarter: 22–35, 28–24, 24–30, 28–21
Pts: Michael Jordan 38
Rebs: Charles Oakley 9
Asts: Michael Jordan 9
Pts: Mark Price 31
Rebs: Brad Daugherty 10
Asts: Mark Price 6
Chicago leads series, 2–1
Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio
Attendance: 20,068
Referees: Jess Kersey, Dick Bavetta
May 5
Chicago Bulls 91, Cleveland Cavaliers 97
Scoring by quarter: 19–27, 24–28, 25–21, 23–21
Pts: Michael Jordan 44
Rebs: Charles Oakley 10
Asts: Sam Vincent 5
Pts: Ron Harper 30
Rebs: Brad Daugherty 9
Asts: Mark Price 7
Series tied, 2–2
Richfield Coliseum, Richfield, Ohio
Attendance: 20,026
Referees: Joe Crawford, Mike Mathis
May 8
Cleveland Cavaliers 101, Chicago Bulls 107
Scoring by quarter: 35–23, 21–28, 21–29, 24–27
Pts: Mark Price 25
Rebs: Brad Daugherty 10
Asts: Mark Price 7
Pts: Michael Jordan 39
Rebs: Charles Oakley 20
Asts: Rory Sparrow 7
Chicago wins series, 3–2
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,008
Referees: Hugh Evans, Earl Strom, Tommy Nunez (alternate)

This was the first playoff meeting between the Bulls and the Cavaliers.

(4) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Milwaukee Bucks

April 29
Milwaukee Bucks 107, Atlanta Hawks 110
Scoring by quarter: 28–25, 32–23, 16–36, 31–26
Pts: Paul Pressey 21
Rebs: Jack Sikma 12
Asts: Paul Pressey 7
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 26
Rebs: Kevin Willis 9
Asts: Doc Rivers 6
Atlanta leads series, 1–0
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 11,517
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Hue Hollins, Terry Durham
May 1
Milwaukee Bucks 97, Atlanta Hawks 104
Scoring by quarter: 29–26, 25–28, 22–24, 21–26
Pts: Sidney Moncrief 22
Rebs: Jack Sikma 17
Asts: Paul Pressey 9
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 43
Rebs: Kevin Willis 10
Asts: Doc Rivers 8
Atlanta leads series, 2–0
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 11,777
Referees: Hugh Evans, Dick Bavetta
May 4
Atlanta Hawks 115, Milwaukee Bucks 123
Scoring by quarter: 29–31, 28–23, 27–35, 31–34
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 22
Rebs: Dominique Wilkins 14
Asts: Randy Wittman 8
Pts: Terry Cummings 30
Rebs: Jack Sikma 16
Asts: Paul Pressey 6
Atlanta leads series, 2–1
MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 11,052
Referees: Bill Saar, Joe Crawford
May 6
Atlanta Hawks 99, Milwaukee Bucks 105
Scoring by quarter: 27–20, 20–28, 28–28, 24–29
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 31
Rebs: Kevin Willis 8
Asts: Doc Rivers 9
Pts: Terry Cummings 30
Rebs: Jack Sikma 9
Asts: Sidney Moncrief 7
Series tied, 2–2
MECCA Arena, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Attendance: 11,052
Referees: Earl Strom, Bill Oakes
May 8
Milwaukee Bucks 111, Atlanta Hawks 121
Scoring by quarter: 22–26, 25–32, 23–31, 41–32
Pts: Terry Cummings 28
Rebs: Larry Krystkowiak 10
Asts: Moncrief, Pressey 6 each
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 33
Rebs: Dominique Wilkins 10
Asts: Doc Rivers 15
Atlanta wins series, 3–2
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 12,190
Referees: Darell Garretson, Jess Kersey

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Bucks winning the first meeting.

Western Conference First Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) San Antonio Spurs

April 29
San Antonio Spurs 110, Los Angeles Lakers 122
Scoring by quarter: 28–26, 21–34, 31–30, 30–32
Pts: Alvin Robertson 34
Rebs: Anderson, Berry 8 each
Asts: Robertson, Brickowski 5 each
Pts: James Worthy 22
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 14
Asts: Magic Johnson 18
LA Lakers lead series, 1–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Jess Kersey, Mike Mathis, Blane Reichelt
May 1
San Antonio Spurs 112, Los Angeles Lakers 130
Scoring by quarter: 32–25, 26–35, 23–33, 31–37
Pts: Alvin Robertson 28
Rebs: Frank Brickowski 12
Asts: Alvin Robertson 12
Pts: Mychal Thompson 29
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 16
Asts: Magic Johnson 15
LA Lakers lead series, 2–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Jack Nies
May 3
Los Angeles Lakers 109, San Antonio Spurs 107
Scoring by quarter: 39–36, 28–29, 22–26, 20–16
Pts: Magic Johnson 25
Rebs: James Worthy 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
Pts: Frank Brickowski 27
Rebs: Greg Anderson 8
Asts: Alvin Robertson
LA Lakers win series, 3–0
HemisFair Arena, San Antonio, Texas
Attendance: 11,542
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Tommy Nunez Sr.

This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first three meetings.

(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics

April 29
Seattle SuperSonics 123, Denver Nuggets 126
Scoring by quarter: 27–28, 39–28, 28–28, 29–42
Pts: Tom Chambers 29
Rebs: Xavier McDaniel 10
Asts: McDaniel, McMillan 8 each
Pts: Alex English 28
Rebs: Fat Lever 11
Asts: Fat Lever 8
Denver leads series, 1–0
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 17,022
Referees: Jack Nies, Bill Oakes, Jake O'Donnell
May 1
Seattle SuperSonics 111, Denver Nuggets 91
Scoring by quarter: 34–22, 32–19, 25–23, 20–27
Pts: Dale Ellis 24
Rebs: Xavier McDaniel 17
Asts: Nate McMillan 6
Pts: English, Evans 16 each
Rebs: Fat Lever 12
Asts: Michael Adams 5
Series tied, 1–1
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 17,022
Referees: Tommy Nunez Sr., Earl Strom
May 3
Denver Nuggets 124, Seattle SuperSonics 115
Scoring by quarter: 39–34, 24–24, 35–30, 27–26
Pts: Blair Rasmussen 28
Rebs: Blair Rasmussen 12
Asts: Adams, Lever 7 each
Pts: Tom Chambers 34
Rebs: Xavier McDaniel 12
Asts: Nate McMillan 9
Denver leads series, 2–1
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 14,250
Referees: Darell Garretson, Paul Mihalak
May 5
Denver Nuggets 117, Seattle SuperSonics 127
Scoring by quarter: 36–35, 27–30, 30–32, 24–30
Pts: Jay Vincent 28
Rebs: Danny Schayes 8
Asts: English, Evans 5 each
Pts: Xavier McDaniel 27
Rebs: Derrick McKey 7
Asts: Danny Young 8
Series tied, 2–2
Seattle Center Coliseum, Seattle, Washington
Attendance: 14,250
Referees: Ed F. Rush, Hue Hollins
May 7
Seattle SuperSonics 96, Denver Nuggets 115
Scoring by quarter: 22–17, 26–37, 20–32, 28–29
Pts: Tom Chambers 23
Rebs: Alton Lister 8
Asts: Xavier McDaniel 5
Pts: Alex English 23
Rebs: Jay Vincent 7
Asts: Alex English 7
Denver wins series, 3–2
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 16,040
Referees: Jack Madden, Hugh Evans

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the SuperSonics winning the first meeting.

(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (6) Houston Rockets

April 28
Houston Rockets 110, Dallas Mavericks 120
Scoring by quarter: 29–29, 17–32, 27–16, 37–43
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 34
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 14
Asts: Sleepy Floyd 11
Pts: Roy Tarpley 24
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 9
Asts: Derek Harper 8
Dallas leads series, 1–0
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Joe Crawford, Bill Saar
April 30
Houston Rockets 119, Dallas Mavericks 108
Scoring by quarter: 32–28, 28–34, 29–27, 30–19
Pts: Sleepy Floyd 42
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 26
Asts: Sleepy Floyd 9
Pts: Roy Tarpley 23
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 13
Asts: Derek Harper 8
Series tied, 1–1
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Jack Madden, Dick Bavetta, Bennett Salvatore
May 3
Dallas Mavericks 93, Houston Rockets 92
Scoring by quarter: 25–23, 28–22, 20–32, 20–15
Pts: Roy Tarpley 17
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 13
Asts: Rolando Blackman 7
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 35
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 12
Asts: Sleepy Floyd 5
Dallas leads series, 2–1
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
Referees: Bruce Alexander, Earl Strom
May 5
Dallas Mavericks 107, Houston Rockets 97
Scoring by quarter: 14–23, 32–21, 37–32, 24–21
Pts: Mark Aguirre 38
Rebs: James Donaldson 10
Asts: Rolando Blackman 10
Pts: Hakeem Olajuwon 40
Rebs: Hakeem Olajuwon 15
Asts: Sleepy Floyd 9
Dallas wins series, 3–1
The Summit, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 16,611
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Paul Mihalak

This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the Rockets.

(4) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (5) Utah Jazz

April 28
Utah Jazz 96, Portland Trail Blazers 108
Scoring by quarter: 30–33, 18–27, 24–26, 24–22
Pts: Thurl Bailey 31
Rebs: Karl Malone 13
Asts: John Stockton 9
Pts: Clyde Drexler 26
Rebs: Clyde Drexler 13
Asts: Terry Porter 12
Portland leads series, 1–0
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,666
Referees: Jess Kersey, Mike Mathis
April 30
Utah Jazz 114, Portland Trail Blazers 105
Scoring by quarter: 36–23, 22–30, 21–20, 35–32
Pts: Karl Malone 37
Rebs: Karl Malone 16
Asts: John Stockton 13
Pts: Clyde Drexler 25
Rebs: Maurice Lucas 14
Asts: Terry Porter 7
Series tied, 1–1
Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Oregon
Attendance: 12,666
Referees: Bill Saar, Joe Crawford
May 4
Portland Trail Blazers 108, Utah Jazz 113
Scoring by quarter: 17–25, 24–24, 34–32, 33–32
Pts: Jerome Kersey 23
Rebs: Kevin Duckworth 16
Asts: Drexler, Porter 4 each
Pts: Karl Malone 35
Rebs: Karl Malone 9
Asts: John Stockton 16
Utah leads series, 2–1
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 12,444
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Bill Oakes
May 6
Portland Trail Blazers 96, Utah Jazz 111
Scoring by quarter: 22–25, 31–26, 27–31, 16–29
Pts: Kevin Duckworth 33
Rebs: Kersey, Duckworth 10 each
Asts: Clyde Drexler 6
Pts: Karl Malone 38
Rebs: Mark Eaton 11
Asts: John Stockton 10
Utah wins series, 3–1
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 12,444
Referees: Darell Garretson, Hue Hollins

This was the first playoff meeting between the Trail Blazers and the Jazz.

Conference Semifinals

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Atlanta Hawks

May 11
Atlanta Hawks 101, Boston Celtics 110
Scoring by quarter: 23–38, 25–16, 20–28, 33–28
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 25
Rebs: Doc Rivers 9
Asts: three players 5 each
Pts: Larry Bird 38
Rebs: Robert Parish 14
Asts: Danny Ainge 12
Boston leads series, 1–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Dick Bavetta
May 13
Atlanta Hawks 97, Boston Celtics 108
Scoring by quarter: 9–25, 30–20, 32–30, 26–33
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 22
Rebs: Tree Rollins 9
Asts: Doc Rivers 6
Pts: Kevin McHale 32
Rebs: Robert Parish 14
Asts: Dennis Johnson 9
Boston leads series, 2–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Jack Madden, Paul Mihalak
May 15
Boston Celtics 92, Atlanta Hawks 110
Scoring by quarter: 22–24, 23–28, 23–30, 24–28
Pts: Larry Bird 22
Rebs: Robert Parish 13
Asts: Larry Bird 8
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 25
Rebs: Kevin Willis 13
Asts: Spud Webb 13
Boston leads series, 2–1
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 16,451
Referees: Earl Strom, Mike Mathis
May 16
Boston Celtics 109, Atlanta Hawks 118
Scoring by quarter: 38–32, 21–34, 24–29, 26–23
Pts: Larry Bird 30
Rebs: Kevin McHale 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 10
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 40
Rebs: Tree Rollins 12
Asts: Doc Rivers 22
Series tied, 2–2
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 16,451
Referees: Hugh Evans, Hue Hollins
May 18
Atlanta Hawks 112, Boston Celtics 104
Scoring by quarter: 23–24, 20–24, 26–29, 43–27
Pts: Kevin Willis 27
Rebs: Kevin Willis 14
Asts: Doc Rivers 7
Pts: Robert Parish 24
Rebs: Robert Parish 13
Asts: Dennis Johnson 10
Atlanta leads series, 3–2
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Jess Kersey
May 20
Boston Celtics 102, Atlanta Hawks 100
Scoring by quarter: 32–30, 26–27, 25–21, 19–22
Pts: Kevin McHale 26
Rebs: Larry Bird 11
Asts: Danny Ainge 14
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 35
Rebs: Willis, Rollins 11 each
Asts: Spud Webb 7
Series tied, 3–3
Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 16,451
Referees: Darell Garretson, Joe Crawford
May 22
Atlanta Hawks 116, Boston Celtics 118
Scoring by quarter: 30–28, 28–31, 24–25, 34–34
Pts: Dominique Wilkins 47
Rebs: Kevin Willis 11
Asts: Doc Rivers 18
Pts: Larry Bird 34
Rebs: Kevin McHale 13
Asts: Danny Ainge 10
Boston wins series, 4–3
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Hugh Evans

This was the ninth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning seven of the first eight meetings.

(2) Detroit Pistons vs. (3) Chicago Bulls

May 10
Chicago Bulls 82, Detroit Pistons 93
Scoring by quarter: 22–31, 24–25, 20–19, 16–18
Pts: Michael Jordan 29
Rebs: Charles Oakley 13
Asts: Michael Jordan 6
Pts: Adrian Dantley 23
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 14
Asts: Isiah Thomas 8
Detroit leads series, 1–0
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 18,312
Referees: Darell Garretson, Hue Hollins
May 12
Chicago Bulls 105, Detroit Pistons 95
Scoring by quarter: 25–20, 30–20, 26–22, 24–33
Pts: Michael Jordan 36
Rebs: Charles Oakley 12
Asts: Vincent, Pippen 5 each
Pts: Isiah Thomas 25
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 14
Asts: Isiah Thomas 13
Series tied, 1–1
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 20,281
Referees: Jess Kersey, Mike Mathis
May 14
Detroit Pistons 101, Chicago Bulls 79
Scoring by quarter: 27–15, 25–23, 21–20, 28–21
Pts: Vinnie Johnson 23
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 10
Asts: Isiah Thomas 11
Pts: Michael Jordan 24
Rebs: Charles Oakley 12
Asts: Sam Vincent 6
Detroit leads series, 2–1
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees: Bill Saar, Earl Strom
May 15
Detroit Pistons 96, Chicago Bulls 77
Scoring by quarter: 25–19, 21–15, 25–21, 25–22
Pts: Adrian Dantley 24
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 13
Asts: Isiah Thomas 11
Pts: Michael Jordan 23
Rebs: Charles Oakley 10
Asts: Michael Jordan 5
Detroit leads series, 3–1
Chicago Stadium, Chicago, Illinois
Attendance: 18,676
Referees: Paul Mihalak, Ed C. Rush
May 18
Chicago Bulls 95, Detroit Pistons 102
Scoring by quarter: 26–30, 22–23, 23–20, 24–29
Pts: Michael Jordan 25
Rebs: Charles Oakley 15
Asts: Jordan, Paxson 8 each
Pts: Isiah Thomas 25
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 13
Asts: Isiah Thomas 9
Detroit wins series, 4–1
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 21,371
Referees: Jack Madden, Joe Crawford

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Bulls winning the first meeting.

Western Conference Semifinals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Utah Jazz

May 8
Utah Jazz 91, Los Angeles Lakers 110
Scoring by quarter: 8–24, 23–31, 31–30, 29–25
Pts: Karl Malone 29
Rebs: Thurl Bailey 8
Asts: John Stockton 16
Pts: James Worthy 23
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 10
Asts: Magic Johnson 9
LA Lakers lead series, 1–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Jack Madden, Paul Mihalak
May 10
Utah Jazz 101, Los Angeles Lakers 97
Scoring by quarter: 24–22, 30–21, 20–23, 27–31
Pts: Karl Malone 29
Rebs: Mark Eaton 12
Asts: John Stockton 13
Pts: Byron Scott 26
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 12
Asts: Magic Johnson 10
Series tied, 1–1
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Bruce Alexander, Joe Crawford
May 13
Los Angeles Lakers 89, Utah Jazz 96
Scoring by quarter: 23–31, 19–25, 27–25, 20–15
Pts: Byron Scott 29
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 12
Asts: Magic Johnson 6
Pts: Karl Malone 29
Rebs: Mark Eaton 14
Asts: John Stockton 12
Utah leads series, 2–1
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 12,444
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Bill Oakes
May 15
Los Angeles Lakers 113, Utah Jazz 100
Scoring by quarter: 29–31, 24–23, 31–22, 29–24
Pts: James Worthy 29
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 9
Pts: Karl Malone 29
Rebs: Karl Malone 11
Asts: John Stockton 13
Series tied, 2–2
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 12,444
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Dick Bavetta
May 17
Utah Jazz 109, Los Angeles Lakers 111
Scoring by quarter: 32–37, 27–22, 19–27, 31–25
Pts: Thurl Bailey 28
Rebs: Karl Malone 16
Asts: John Stockton 24
Pts: James Worthy 27
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 13
LA Lakers lead series, 3–2
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Darell Garretson, Mike Mathis
May 19
Los Angeles Lakers 80, Utah Jazz 108
Scoring by quarter: 13–31, 29–25, 18–25, 20–27
Pts: Byron Scott 16
Rebs: Mychal Thompson 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 9
Pts: Karl Malone 27
Rebs: Karl Malone 11
Asts: John Stockton 17
Series tied, 3–3
Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah
Attendance: 12,444
Referees: Hugh Evans, Hue Hollins
May 21
Utah Jazz 98, Los Angeles Lakers 109
Scoring by quarter: 27–32, 24–25, 24–30, 23–22
Pts: Karl Malone 31
Rebs: Karl Malone 15
Asts: John Stockton 20
Pts: Byron Scott 29
Rebs: Magic Johnson 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 16
LA Lakers win series, 4–3
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Earl Strom, Jess Kersey

This was the first playoff meeting between the Lakers and the Jazz.

(2) Denver Nuggets vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks

May 10
Dallas Mavericks 115, Denver Nuggets 126
Scoring by quarter: 32–34, 15–25, 28–35, 40–32
Pts: Mark Aguirre 26
Rebs: James Donaldson 13
Asts: Derek Harper 5
Pts: Fat Lever 30
Rebs: Fat Lever 11
Asts: Lever, English 8 each
Denver leads series, 1–0
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 17,022
Referees: Jess Kersey, Mike Mathis
May 12
Dallas Mavericks 112, Denver Nuggets 108
Scoring by quarter: 28–33, 22–18, 30–23, 32–34
Pts: Rolando Blackman 31
Rebs: James Donaldson 1
Asts: Derek Harper 8
Pts: Lever, English 22 each
Rebs: Danny Schayes 12
Asts: Michael Adams 7
Series tied, 1–1
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 17,022
Referees: Bill Saar, Joe Crawford
May 14
Denver Nuggets 107, Dallas Mavericks 105
Scoring by quarter: 24–31, 29–30, 25–26, 29–18
Pts: Alex English 23
Rebs: Fat Lever 11
Asts: Fat Lever 12
Pts: Sam Perkins 17
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 15
Asts: Mark Aguirre 6
Denver leads series, 2–1
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Darell Garretson, Hue Hollins
May 15
Denver Nuggets 103, Dallas Mavericks 124
Scoring by quarter: 24–29, 24–34, 23–32, 32–29
Pts: Alex English 24
Rebs: Wayne Cooper
Asts: Michael Adams 9
Pts: Mark Aguirre 34
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 13
Asts: Derek Harper 10
Series tied, 2–2
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Hugh Evans, Bill Oakes
May 17
Dallas Mavericks 110, Denver Nuggets 106
Scoring by quarter: 25–23, 30–28, 23–27, 32–28
Pts: Mark Aguirre 25
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 16
Asts: Derek Harper 6
Pts: Danny Schayes 33
Rebs: Danny Schayes 13
Asts: Adams, English 6 each
Dallas leads series, 3–2
McNichols Sports Arena, Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 17,022
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Dick Bavetta
May 19
Denver Nuggets 95, Dallas Mavericks 108
Scoring by quarter: 27–25, 26–33, 27–24, 15–26
Pts: Alex English 34
Rebs: Danny Schayes 9
Asts: Michael Adams 8
Pts: Perkins, Blackman 23 each
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 19
Asts: Derek Harper 9
Dallas wins series, 4–2
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Earl Strom, Paul Mihalak, Bill Saar

This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the Nuggets.

Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Detroit Pistons

May 25
Detroit Pistons 104, Boston Celtics 96
Scoring by quarter: 30–28, 22–25, 23–20, 29–23
Pts: Isiah Thomas 35
Rebs: Rick Mahorn 10
Asts: Isiah Thomas 12
Pts: Kevin McHale 31
Rebs: Robert Parish 13
Asts: Dennis Johnson 10
Detroit leads series, 1–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Paul Mihalak, Earl Strom
May 26
Detroit Pistons 115, Boston Celtics 119 (2OT)
Scoring by quarter: 29–28, 17–25, 32–28, 24–21, Overtime: 7–7, 6–10
Pts: Isiah Thomas 24
Rebs: John Salley 12
Asts: Isiah Thomas 11
Pts: Robert Parish 26
Rebs: Larry Bird 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 10
Series tied, 1–1
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Jack Madden, Mike Mathis
May 28
Boston Celtics 94, Detroit Pistons 98
Scoring by quarter: 29–29, 21–29, 21–26, 23–14
Pts: Kevin McHale 32
Rebs: Larry Bird 11
Asts: Larry Bird 8
Pts: Joe Dumars 29
Rebs: John Salley 9
Asts: Isiah Thomas 6
Detroit leads series, 2–1
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 26,481
Referees: Jess Kersey, Joe Crawford
May 30
Boston Celtics 79, Detroit Pistons 78
Scoring by quarter: 16–10, 30–26, 14–32, 19–10
Pts: Larry Bird 20
Rebs: Larry Bird 10
Asts: D. Johnson, Bird 6 each
Pts: Bill Laimbeer 29
Rebs: three players 8 each
Asts: Isiah Thomas 7
Series tied, 2–2
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 26,625
Referees: Darell Garretson, Ed Rush
June 1
Detroit Pistons 102, Boston Celtics 96 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 26–29, 14–25, 25–16, 27–22, Overtime: 10–4
Pts: Isiah Thomas 35
Rebs: John Salley 9
Asts: Dumars, Thomas 5 each
Pts: Larry Bird 27
Rebs: Larry Bird 17
Asts: Dennis Johnson 8
Detroit leads series, 3–2
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Hue Hollins
June 3
Boston Celtics 90, Detroit Pistons 95
Scoring by quarter: 25–21, 21–27, 17–27, 27–20
Pts: Kevin McHale 33
Rebs: Larry Bird 14
Asts: Dennis Johnson 9
Pts: Vinnie Johnson 24
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 9
Asts: Isiah Thomas 9
Detroit wins series, 4–2
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 38,912
Referees: Earl Strom, Hugh Evans

This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Celtics winning the first three meetings.

Western Conference Finals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Dallas Mavericks

May 23
Dallas Mavericks 98, Los Angeles Lakers 113
Scoring by quarter: 28–33, 21–19, 20–28, 29–C33
Pts: three players 18 each
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 20
Asts: Derek Harper 7
Pts: James Worthy 28
Rebs: three players 6 each
Asts: Magic Johnson 12
LA Lakers lead series, 1–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Jack Madden, Joe Crawford
May 25
Dallas Mavericks 101, Los Angeles Lakers 123
Scoring by quarter: 30–32, 18–27, 22–30, 31–34
Pts: Mark Aguirre 28
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 13
Asts: Derek Harper 8
Pts: Byron Scott 30
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 7
Asts: Magic Johnson 19
LA Lakers lead series, 2–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Bill Oakes
May 27
Los Angeles Lakers 94, Dallas Mavericks 106
Scoring by quarter: 25–26, 26–26, 25–23, 18–31
Pts: James Worthy 19
Rebs: Magic Johnson 8
Asts: Magic Johnson 10
Pts: Mark Aguirre 23
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 20
Asts: Brad Davis 6
LA Lakers lead series, 2–1
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Darell Garretson, Hue Hollins
May 29
Los Angeles Lakers 104, Dallas Mavericks 118
Scoring by quarter: 25–23, 32–33, 26–33, 21–29
Pts: Magic Johnson 28
Rebs: A. C. Green 12
Asts: Magic Johnson 12
Pts: Derek Harper 35
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 13
Asts: Rolando Blackman 11
Series tied, 2–2
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Dick Bavetta
May 31
Dallas Mavericks 102, Los Angeles Lakers 119
Scoring by quarter: 27–33, 20–31, 24–28, 31–27
Pts: Mark Aguirre 31
Rebs: Roy Tarpley 11
Asts: Derek Harper 6
Pts: James Worthy 28
Rebs: A. C. Green 10
Asts: Magic Johnson 20
LA Lakers lead series, 3–2
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Hugh Evans, Earl Strom
June 2
Los Angeles Lakers 103, Dallas Mavericks 105
Scoring by quarter: 26–25, 24–28, 30–29, 23–23
Pts: Worthy, Scott 27
Rebs: James Worthy 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 12
Pts: Mark Aguirre 23
Rebs: Mark Aguirre 13
Asts: Derek Harper 10
Series tied, 3–3
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 17,007
Referees: Jess Kersey, Ed T. Rush
June 4
Dallas Mavericks 102, Los Angeles Lakers 117
Scoring by quarter: 29–29, 24–25, 26–33, 23–30
Pts: Mark Aguirre 24
Rebs: James Donaldson 14
Asts: Derek Harper 11
Pts: James Worthy 28
Rebs: Magic Johnson 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
LA Lakers win series, 4–3
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Jack Madden

This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first two meetings.

NBA Finals: (W1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (E2) Detroit Pistons

June 7
Detroit Pistons 105, Los Angeles Lakers 93
Scoring by quarter: 22–21, 35–19, 23–28, 25–25
Pts: Adrian Dantley 34
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 7
Asts: Isiah Thomas 12
Pts: Magic Johnson 28
Rebs: A. C. Green 12
Asts: Magic Johnson 10
Detroit leads series, 1–0
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Darell Garretson, Joe Crawford
June 9
Detroit Pistons 96, Los Angeles Lakers 108
Scoring by quarter: 20–25, 19–24, 30–27, 27–32
Pts: Adrian Dantley 19
Rebs: Laimbeer, Mahorn 9 each
Asts: Thomas, Dumars 7 each
Pts: James Worthy 26
Rebs: A. C. Green 13
Asts: Magic Johnson 11
Series tied, 1–1
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Ed T. Rush, Jess Kersey
June 12
Los Angeles Lakers 99, Detroit Pistons 86
Scoring by quarter: 23–21, 24–25, 31–18, 21–22
Pts: James Worthy 24
Rebs: James Worthy 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 14
Pts: Isiah Thomas 28
Rebs: Dennis Rodman 12
Asts: Isiah Thomas 9
LA Lakers lead series, 2–1
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 39,188
Referees: Earl Strom, Hugh Evans
June 14
Los Angeles Lakers 86, Detroit Pistons 111
Scoring by quarter: 29–32, 22–26, 14–25, 21–28
Pts: Magic Johnson 23
Rebs: A. C. Green 10
Asts: Magic Johnson 6
Pts: Adrian Dantley 27
Rebs: Isiah Thomas 9
Asts: Isiah Thomas 12
Series tied, 2–2
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 34,297
Referees: Jake O'Donnell, Jack Madden
June 16
Los Angeles Lakers 94, Detroit Pistons 104
Scoring by quarter: 30–27, 20–32, 25–22, 19–23
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 26
Rebs: three players 6 each
Asts: Magic Johnson 17
Pts: Adrian Dantley 25
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 11
Asts: Isiah Thomas 8
Detroit leads series, 3–2
Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan
Attendance: 41,732
Referees: Darell Garretson, Joe Crawford
June 19
Detroit Pistons 102, Los Angeles Lakers 103
Scoring by quarter: 26–20, 20–33, 35–26, 21–24
Pts: Isiah Thomas 43
Rebs: Bill Laimbeer 9
Asts: Joe Dumars 10
Pts: James Worthy 28
Rebs: A. C. Green 10
Asts: Magic Johnson 19
Series tied, 3–3
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Ed Rush, Hugh Evans
  • Isiah Thomas scores a Finals record 25 points in the 3rd quarter, despite having a severely sprained ankle; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hits the game-winning free throws with 14 seconds left.
June 21
Detroit Pistons 105, Los Angeles Lakers 108
Scoring by quarter: 23–21, 29–26, 21–36, 32–25
Pts: Joe Dumars 25
Rebs: John Salley 10
Asts: Isiah Thomas 7
Pts: James Worthy 36
Rebs: James Worthy 16
Asts: Magic Johnson 14
LA Lakers win series, 4–3
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees: Earl Strom, Jake O'Donnell

This was the tenth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning eight of the first nine meetings.

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article 1988 NBA playoffs, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.