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1989–90 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
TV partner/s CBS, TBS, TNT
Regular season
Season MVP Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers)
Top scorer Michael Jordan (Chicago)
Playoffs
Eastern champions Detroit Pistons
Eastern runners-up Chicago Bulls
Western champions Portland Trail Blazers
Western runners-up Phoenix Suns
Finals
Finals champions Detroit Pistons
Runners-up Portland Trail Blazers
Finals MVP Isiah Thomas (Detroit)

The 1989–90 NBA season was the 44th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Detroit Pistons winning their second-straight NBA Championship, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals.


Notable occurrences

  • The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Orlando Magic enter the NBA as the league's 26th and 27th franchises. The Timberwolves began the season playing at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, home of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and former home of the American League Minnesota Twins. They would move to smaller-capacity Target Center for the 1990-91 season. The Magic would play at Orlando Arena (later known as TD Waterhouse Centre and Amway Arena) for the next 21 years.
  • The 1990 NBA All-Star Game was played at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida, with the East defeating the West 130–113. Magic Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers takes home the game's MVP award.
  • The Charlotte Hornets are aligned in the Midwest Division in the Western Conference. Charlotte would be aligned in the Central Division for good starting next year. The league had placed the four new teams in different divisions to spread them out over their first few seasons.
  • The NBA on CBS concludes its 17 year run (dating back to 1973). The program is succeeded by The NBA on NBC.
  • The NBA adopts the FIBA rule and a mandating clocks register tenths of seconds in the final minute of a period. This rule turns controversial during the season because of clock calibration problems in many venues; following a January 15, 1990 game between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls where Trent Tucker sank a three-point basket with the ball put in play with one-tenth of a second remaining, the NBA mandates clock calibration and prohibits any shot made when the ball is put in play with less than three-tenths of a second remaining from counting unless it is a dunk or tip-in.
  • All Texas teams make the playoffs. This would not happen again until 2004.
  • This was the last of nine consecutive seasons in which the Lakers finished at the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They would not return there until 2000.
  • Long-time Boston Celtics announcer Johnny Most retired after 37 years behind the mic. Most was best known for his call of "Havlicek stole the ball!!" in the 1965 Eastern Division Finals between the Celtics and the Sixers.

Final standings

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Philadelphia 76ers 53 29 .646 -
Boston Celtics 52 30 .634 1
New York Knicks 45 37 .549 8
Washington Bullets 31 51 .378 22
Miami Heat 18 64 .220 35
Orlando Magic 18 64 .220 41
New Jersey Nets 17 65 .207 36
Central Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Detroit Pistons C 59 23 .720 -
Chicago Bulls 55 27 .671 4
Milwaukee Bucks 44 38 .537 15
Cleveland Cavaliers 42 40 .512 17
Indiana Pacers 42 40 .512 17
Atlanta Hawks 41 41 .500 18

Western Conference

Midwest Division
Team W L PCT. GB
San Antonio Spurs 56 26 .683 -
Utah Jazz 55 27 .671 1
Dallas Mavericks 47 35 .573 9
Denver Nuggets 43 39 .524 13
Houston Rockets 41 41 .500 15
Minnesota Timberwolves 22 60 .268 34
Charlotte Hornets 19 63 .232 37
Pacific Division
Team W L PCT. GB
Los Angeles Lakers 63 19 .768 -
Portland Trail Blazers 59 23 .720 4
Phoenix Suns 54 28 .659 9
Seattle SuperSonics 41 41 .500 22
Golden State Warriors 37 45 .451 26
Los Angeles Clippers 30 52 .366 33
Sacramento Kings 23 59 .280 40

C - NBA Champions

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points per game Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 33.6
Rebounds per game Akeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets 14.0
Assists per game John Stockton Utah Jazz 14.5
Steals per game Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls 2.8
Blocks per game Akeem Olajuwon Houston Rockets 4.6
FG% Mark West Phoenix Suns 62.5
FT% Larry Bird Boston Celtics 93.0
3FG% Steve Kerr Cleveland Cavaliers 50.7

NBA awards

  • Most Valuable Player: Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Rookie of the Year: David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs
  • Defensive Player of the Year: Dennis Rodman, Detroit Pistons
  • Sixth Man of the Year: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Most Improved Player: Rony Seikaly, Miami Heat
  • Coach of the Year: Pat Riley, Los Angeles Lakers
  • All-NBA First Team:
    • F - Karl Malone, Utah Jazz
    • F - Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers
    • C - Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks
    • G - Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
    • G - Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers
  • All-NBA Second Team:
    • F - Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
    • F - Tom Chambers, Phoenix Suns
    • C - Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
    • G - John Stockton, Utah Jazz
    • G - Kevin Johnson, Phoenix Suns
  • All-NBA Third Team:
    • F - James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers
    • F - Chris Mullin, Golden State Warriors
    • C - David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs
    • G - Clyde Drexler, Portland Trail Blazers
    • G - Reggie Miller, Indiana Pacers
  • NBA All-Rookie Team:
    • Tim Hardaway, Golden State Warriors
    • Pooh Richardson, Minnesota Timberwolves
    • David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs
    • Sherman Douglas, Miami Heat
    • Vlade Divac, Los Angeles Lakers
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team:
    • Dennis Rodman, Detroit Pistons
    • Buck Williams, Portland Trail Blazers
    • Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
    • Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
    • Joe Dumars, Detroit Pistons
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team:
    • Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics
    • Rick Mahorn, Philadelphia 76ers
    • David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs
    • Derek Harper, Dallas Mavericks
    • Alvin Robertson, Milwaukee Bucks

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