Season by Season
Led by Magic Johnson, the Lakers became the first team since the 1968-69 Boston Celtics to win back-to-back championships.
As the Lakers looked to repeat, a new challenger was rising in the East. Boston won an East-high 57 games, but Detroit, which had pushed the Celtics to the Eastern Finals the previous year, won 54 games and the Central Division. General Manager Jack McCloskey and Coach Chuck Daly had surrounded 6-1 superstar guard Isiah Thomas with rugged rebounders Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn, scorers Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson, and young, aggressive defensive forwards Dennis Rodman and John Salley.
Each team was battle-tested on its way to the Finals, with Detroit going 11-5 and the Lakers 11-6. The Pistons defeated Boston by winning two of three games at Boston Garden. The Lakers outlasted Dallas in seven hard-fought games with the home team winning each time. In the Finals, Los Angeles needed every bit of its homecourt advantage, coming back from a 3-2 deficit to win two close games in the Forum to become the first repeat Champions since the 1968-69 Boston Celtics.
THOMAS' GUTTY PERFORMANCE FORCES SEVENTH GAME
Isiah Thomas yearned for recognition, not as one of the NBA's top guards, or top little men, but as one of the game's top players. He had entered the league with Detroit after the Pistons had suffered through a 21-61 campaign. By Thomas' third season, the Pistons had a head coach, Chuck Daly, who had figured out how to maximize his superstar's strengths, so that a team built around a point guard could contend.
"What Isiah Thomas did in the second half was just incredible,"
marveled Lakers Coach Pat Riley.