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On this date: Showtime Lakers win back-to-back NBA championships

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In 1988, the Los Angeles Lakers went for back-to-back NBA championships after their head coach, Pat Riley, guaranteed they would do so after winning the previous year’s world title.

But the road was rocky. They were taken to the full seven games by the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks in the second and third rounds of the playoffs.

Then, in the NBA Finals versus the Detroit Pistons, L.A. fell behind 3-2, and it had to earn a gutsy win in Game 6 to force a winner-take-all showdown.

In Game 7, the Lakers’ offense was a bit off-kilter in the first half, and although Isiah Thomas was playing on a badly sprained ankle, he scored 10 points to give the Pistons a 52-47 halftime lead.

Just when it seemed the Lakers might go out without achieving glory, they came out and blitzed Detroit with peak Showtime.

L.A. hit the Pistons with a massive third-quarter run, stifling them with its defense and fast break. The Lakers went up by 10 at the end of the period and increased their lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter.

Thomas and company staged a frantic comeback in the final comeback, coming to within two points, 102-100, with 1:17 left, but a couple of miscues allowed L.A. to go up 106-102 with 14 seconds remaining.

The Pistons weren’t done. Bill Laimbeer hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one. But on the ensuing inbound pass, Magic Johnson spotted A.C. Green downcourt for a breakaway layup that broke Detroit and ended its championship hopes.

With a 108-105 win, the Lakers won their second straight NBA world championship and their fifth in nine years, making them, beyond any doubt, the team of the 1980s.

James Worthy was the man of the hour. He posted a triple-double with 36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. It earned him the Finals MVP award, and it was arguably the greatest individual performance in Game 7 of a championship series.

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