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The 1987 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1986–87 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. The Lakers earned their 10th NBA championship, and Magic Johnson was named NBA Finals MVP for a then-record third time.

1987 NBA playoffs
DatesApril 23–June 14, 1987
Season1986–87
Teams16
ChampionsLos Angeles Lakers (10th title)
Runners-upBoston Celtics (18th finals appearance)
Semifinalists
A ticket for Game 2 of the 1987 Western Conference Semifinals between the Houston Rockets and the Seattle SuperSonics.

This was the last time the Celtics would appear in the NBA Finals until 2008. Boston only advanced as far as the Conference Finals twice in that stretch: losing the following year to the Detroit Pistons in six games and in 2002 to the New Jersey Nets, also in 6 games.

The Pistons appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals was the franchise's first (and their first Division/Conference Final appearance since 1962). It would be the first of five straight Conference Finals appearances for Detroit. They would make their first NBA Finals appearance since 1956 the following season, the first of 3 straight trips to the Finals (winning the last 2).

The Warriors & Pacers made their first playoff appearances since 1977 and 1981 respectively. The Pacers also won their first NBA playoff game, in Game 3 of their first-round series against the Hawks.

By beating Dallas 3–1, the Supersonics became the first #7 seed to defeat a #2 seed since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984. They reached the Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the Lakers. As of 2016, they are the most recent team with a sub-.500 record (39-43) to advance as far as the conference finals. The 1989 & 1991 Warriors, 1998 Knicks and 2010 Spurs were the other 7th seeds to beat the 2nd seed.

One of the most memorable moments of the playoffs occurred in the final moments of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals when, with Boston down 107-106, Isiah Thomas had his inbounds pass stolen by Larry Bird, who passed to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup.

The only dent in the Lakers' run to the Finals came in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Warriors, when Sleepy Floyd scored a playoff record 39 points in the second half, with a record 29 coming in the fourth quarter, to seal a 129-121 win. Both records still stand.

It would also be the final playoff series for Julius Erving, as he retired at the end of the season. the 76ers lost to the Bucks in the first round.

Contents

BracketEdit

  1st Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
1 LA Lakers 3  
8 Denver 0  
  1 LA Lakers 4  
  5 Golden State 1  
4 Utah 2
5 Golden State 3  
  1 LA Lakers 4  
Western Conference
  7 Seattle 0  
3 Portland 1  
6 Houston 3  
  6 Houston 2
  7 Seattle 4  
2 Dallas 1
7 Seattle 3  
  W1 LA Lakers 4
  E1 Boston 2
1 Boston 3  
8 Chicago 0  
  1 Boston 4
  4 Milwaukee 3  
4 Milwaukee 3
5 Philadelphia 2  
  1 Boston 4
Eastern Conference
  3 Detroit 3  
3 Detroit 3  
6 Washington 0  
  3 Detroit 4
  2 Atlanta 1  
2 Atlanta 3
7 Indiana 1  


Western ConferenceEdit

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

1st RoundEdit

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Lakers win series 3–0

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 23): Los Angeles 128, Denver 95 (Magic Johnson hits an 88-foot shot at the buzzer to end the first half)
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 25): Los Angeles 139, Denver 127
  • Game 3 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (April 29): Los Angeles 140, Denver 103
Regular-season series
Los Angeles won 5–0 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[1]
Los Angeles leads 2–0 in all-time playoff series

(2) Dallas Mavericks vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: SuperSonics win series 3–1

  • Game 1 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 23): Dallas 151, Seattle 129
  • Game 2 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (April 25): Seattle 112, Dallas 110
  • Game 3 @ Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle (April 28): Seattle 117, Dallas 107
  • Game 4 @ Hec Edmundson Pavilion, Seattle (April 30): Seattle 124, Dallas 98 (Seattle becomes first 7th seeded team to eliminate 2nd seeded team since Playoffs moved to 16-team format in 1984.)
Regular-season series
Dallas won 5–0 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[2]
Dallas leads 1–0 in all-time playoff series

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs.(6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 3–1

  • Game 1 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 24): Houston 125, Portland 115
  • Game 2 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (April 26): Portland 111, Houston 98
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (April 28): Houston 117, Portland 108
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (April 30): Houston 113, Portland 101
Regular-season series
Portland won 3–2 in the regular-season series
November 18, 1986
Portland Trail Blazers 115, Houston Rockets 111 (OT)

This was the first playoff meeting between the Rockets and the Trail Blazers.[3]

(4) Utah Jazz vs. (5) Golden State Warriors: Warriors win series 3–2

Regular-season series
Utah won 3–2 in the regular-season series

This was the first playoff meeting between the Warriors and the Jazz.[4]

Conference SemifinalsEdit

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Golden State Warriors: Lakers win series 4–1

Regular-season series
Los Angeles won 4–2 in the regular-season series

This was the sixth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning four of the first five meetings.

Previous playoff series[5]
Los Angeles leads 4–1 in all-time playoff series

(6) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: SuperSonics win series 4–2

Regular-season series
Seattle won 4–1 in the regular-season series
March 10, 1987
Seattle SuperSonics 136, Houston Rockets 127 (2OT)

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

Previous playoff series[6]
Seattle leads 1–0 in all-time playoff series

Conference FinalsEdit

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Seattle SuperSonics: Lakers win series 4–0

Regular-season series
Los Angeles won 4–2 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[7]
Seattle leads 2–1 in all-time playoff series

Eastern ConferenceEdit

Champion: Boston Celtics

1st RoundEdit

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Chicago Bulls: Celtics win series 3-0

Regular-season series
Boston won 6–0 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[8]
Boston leads 2–0 in all-time playoff series

(2) Atlanta Hawks vs. (7) Indiana Pacers: Hawks win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 24): Atlanta 110, Indiana 94
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 26): Atlanta 94, Indiana 93
  • Game 3 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (April 29): Indiana 96, Atlanta 87
  • Game 4 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 1): Atlanta 101, Indiana 97
Regular-season series
Tied 3–3 in the regular-season series
January 27, 1987
Indiana Pacers 98, Atlanta Hawks 114
February 20, 1987
Indiana Pacers 107, Atlanta Hawks 105

This was the first playoff meeting between the Hawks and the Pacers.[9]

(3) Detroit Pistons vs. (6) Washington Bullets: Pistons win series 3-0

Regular-season series
Tied 3–3 in the regular-season series

This was the first playoff meeting between the Pistons and the Bullets.[10]

(4) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (5) Philadelphia 76ers: Bucks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 24): Milwaukee 107, Philadelphia 104
  • Game 2 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 26): Philadelphia 125, Milwaukee 122 (OT)
  • Game 3 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (April 29): Milwaukee 121, Philadelphia 120 (Jack Sikma gets his shot blocked, jumps back up, catches the ball in mid-air and line-drives it in with 2 seconds left for the game-winner.)
  • Game 4 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (May 1): Philadelphia 124, Milwaukee 118
  • Game 5 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 3): Milwaukee 102, Philadelphia 89 (Julius Erving's final NBA game)
Regular-season series
Philadelphia won 3–2 in the regular-season series
December 3, 1986
Milwaukee Bucks 110, Philadelphia 76ers 115 (OT)

This was the seventh playoff meeting between these two teams, with the 76ers winning four of the first six meetings.

Previous playoff series[11]
Philadelphia leads 4–2 in all-time playoff series

Conference SemifinalsEdit

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 5): Boston 111, Milwaukee 98
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 6): Boston 127, Milwaukee 124
  • Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 8): Milwaukee 126, Boston 121 (OT)
  • Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 10): Boston 138, Milwaukee 137 (OT)
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 13): Milwaukee 129, Boston 124
  • Game 6 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 15): Milwaukee 121, Boston 111
  • Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 17): Boston 119, Milwaukee 113
Regular-season series
Tied 3–3 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[12]
Boston leads 3–1 in all-time playoff series

(2) Atlanta Hawks vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 3): Detroit 112, Atlanta 111
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 5): Atlanta 115, Detroit 102
  • Game 3 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 8): Detroit 108, Atlanta 99
  • Game 4 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (May 10): Detroit 89, Atlanta 88 (Isiah Thomas makes the game-winning layup with 1 second left)
  • Game 5 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 13): Detroit 104, Atlanta 96
Regular-season series
Tied 3–3 in the regular-season series
December 16, 1986
Detroit Pistons 111, Atlanta Hawks 100
February 17, 1987
Detroit Pistons 103, Atlanta Hawks 107

This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Hawks winning three of the first four meetings.

Previous playoff series[13]
Atlanta leads 3–1 in all-time playoff series

Conference FinalsEdit

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Celtics win series 4-3

Regular-season series
Boston won 3–2 in the regular-season series
April 3, 1987
Detroit Pistons 115, Boston Celtics 119 (OT)

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

Previous playoff series[14]
Boston leads 2–0 in all-time playoff series

NBA FinalsEdit

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (1) Boston Celtics Lakers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 2): Los Angeles 126, Boston 113
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 4): Los Angeles 141, Boston 122 (Michael Cooper hits six 3-pointers)
  • Game 3 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 7): Boston 109, Los Angeles 103
  • Game 4 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 9): Los Angeles 107, Boston 106 (Magic Johnson hits the game-winning "Baby-Hook" with 2 seconds left)
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 11): Boston 123, Los Angeles 108
  • Game 6 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 14): Los Angeles 106, Boston 93 (Bill Walton's final NBA game)
Regular-season series
Los Angeles won 2–0 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series[15]
Boston leads 8–1 in all-time playoff series

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Denver Nuggets versus Los Angeles Lakers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  2. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Dallas Mavericks versus Oklahoma City Thunder (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus Portland Trail Blazers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  4. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Golden State Warriors versus Utah Jazz (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  5. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Golden State Warriors versus Los Angeles Lakers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  6. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus Oklahoma City Thunder (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Los Angeles Lakers versus Oklahoma City Thunder (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  8. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Boston Celtics versus Chicago Bulls (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  9. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Atlanta Hawks versus Indiana Pacers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  10. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Detroit Pistons versus Washington Wizards (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  11. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Milwaukee Bucks versus Philadelphia 76ers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  12. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Boston Celtics versus Milwaukee Bucks (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  13. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Atlanta Hawks versus Detroit Pistons (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Boston Celtics versus Detroit Pistons (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  15. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Boston Celtics versus Los Angeles Lakers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.

External linksEdit