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1987–88 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
TV partner/s CBS, TBS
Regular season
Season MVP Michael Jordan (Chicago)
Top scorer Michael Jordan (Chicago)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Detroit Pistons
Eastern runners-up Boston Celtics
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
Western runners-up Dallas Mavericks
Finals
Finals champions Los Angeles Lakers
Runners-up Detroit Pistons
Finals MVP James Worthy (L.A. Lakers)

The 1987–88 NBA season was the 42nd season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Los Angeles Lakers winning their second straight Championship, beating the Detroit Pistons in seven hard fought games in the NBA Finals, becoming the NBA's first repeat champions since the Boston Celtics did it in the 1968–69 NBA season.


Notable occurrences

  • The 1988 NBA All-Star Game was played at Chicago Stadium in Chicago, with the East defeating the West 138–133. Local hero Michael Jordan steals the show during the week-end, taking home the game's MVP award, after winning the slam dunk contest earlier in the week.
  • Michael Jordan becomes the only player in NBA history to win both the scoring title and Defensive Player of the Year honors. He is also the only player in NBA history to combine these awards with the season's Most Valuable Player award.
  • James Worthy records the first ever Game Seven triple double as he records 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
  • The league awards expansion franchises to Charlotte, Miami, Minneapolis, and Orlando. The Charlotte and Miami franchises would debut in the 1988–89 NBA season, while Minneapolis and Orlando would begin play in the 1989–90 NBA season.
  • With the exception of a first round sweep of San Antonio, the Los Angeles Lakers played seven-game series the rest of the way. During the run, they overcame the Utah Jazz in the semifinals, the Dallas Mavericks in the conference finals, and the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
  • On January 5, 1988, Hall of Famer Pete Maravich died of a heart attack during a pickup game. He was 40 years old. The Utah Jazz subsequently honored him by sporting a patch containing his jersey No. 7.
  • The Detroit Pistons play their final season at Pontiac Silverdome.
  • The Milwaukee Bucks play their final season at MECCA (Milwaukee Arena).
  • The Sacramento Kings play their final season at ARCO Arena I.

Final standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Boston Celtics 57 25 .695 -
Washington Bullets 38 44 .463 19
New York Knicks 38 44 .463 19
Philadelphia 76ers 36 46 .439 21
New Jersey Nets 19 63 .232 38
Central Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Detroit Pistons 54 28 .659 -
Chicago Bulls 50 32 .610 4
Atlanta Hawks 50 32 .610 4
Cleveland Cavaliers 42 40 .512 12
Milwaukee Bucks 42 40 .512 12
Indiana Pacers 38 44 .463 16

Western Conference

Midwest Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Denver Nuggets 54 28 .659 -
Dallas Mavericks 53 29 .646 1
Utah Jazz 47 35 .573 7
Houston Rockets 46 36 .561 8
San Antonio Spurs 31 51 .378 23
Sacramento Kings 24 58 .293 30
Pacific Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Los Angeles Lakers C 62 20 .756 -
Portland Trail Blazers 53 29 .646 9
Seattle SuperSonics 44 38 .537 18
Phoenix Suns 28 54 .341 34
Golden State Warriors 20 62 .244 42
Los Angeles Clippers 17 65 .207 45

'C - NBA Champions'

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 35.0
Rebounds per game Michael Cage Los Angeles Clippers 13.0
Assists per game John Stockton Utah Jazz 13.8
Steals per game Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 3.2
Blocks per game Mark Eaton Utah Jazz 3.8
FG% Kevin McHale Boston Celtics 60.4
FT% Jack Sikma Milwaukee Bucks 92.2
3FG% Craig Hodges Milwaukee Bucks 49.2

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
  • Rookie of the Year: Mark Jackson, New York Knicks
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
  • Sixth Man of the Year: Roy Tarpley, Dallas Mavericks
  • Most Improved Player: Kevin Duckworth, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Coach of the Year: Doug Moe, Denver Nuggets
  • All-NBA First Team:
    • F - Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
    • F - Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers
    • C - Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
    • G - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
    • G - Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
  • All-NBA Second Team:
    • F - Karl Malone, Utah Jazz
    • F - Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta Hawks
    • C - Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks
    • G - Clyde Drexler, Portland Trail Blazers
    • G - John Stockton, Utah Jazz
  • All-NBA Rookie Team:
    • Derrick McKey, Seattle SuperSonics
    • Cadillac Anderson, San Antonio Spurs
    • Mark Jackson, New York Knicks
    • Kenny Smith, Sacramento Kings
    • Armen Gilliam, Phoenix Suns
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team:
    • Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics
    • Rodney McCray, Houston Rockets
    • Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
    • Michael Cooper, Los Angeles Lakers
    • Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team:
    • Buck Williams, New Jersey Nets
    • Karl Malone, Utah Jazz
    • Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz (tie)
    • Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks (tie)
    • Alvin Robertson, San Antonio Spurs
    • Lafayette Lever, Denver Nuggets

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