Comment: NBA Playoffs repeating themselves?

Have we seen all of this before in the NBA Playoffs?

The Cavs and Dubs are dominating the NBA playoffs in a way we haven’t seen for 28 years.

So will we see them march back into the finals and slug it out in another seven-game epic?

Not if this post-season ends up going the way it did 28 years ago, when it was the Lakers and Pistons laying waste to all in sight.

And there are plenty of similarities.

Just like Golden State and Cleveland are now, Detroit and LA were looking for a rematch in 1989 after a classic seven-game finals series the previous year.

But where the 2016 finals swung on Draymond Green’s Game 5 suspension, the turning point in 1988 came when Isiah Thomas twisted his ankle in Game 6.

The Bad Boys were 3-2 up and looking to close out LA in the Forum when Thomas got injured.


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In a superhuman effort, he somehow still managed to pour in an NBA finals record 25 third-quarter points, but his team lost by two and never recovered.

So the Pistons were looking for revenge in 1989, and they got it. But instead of another seven-game classic we got a four-game finals sweep.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar retired, and the Showtime Lakers died a death. Magic Johnson would never win another ring

So what happened, and are there any lessons for LeBron, Steph Curry and co?

Well, 1989 was a pretty vintage year for the NBA.

Firstly, there was The Shot. You know, one of the most iconic moments in NBA history (“Here’s Michael at the foul line… The shot on Ehlo… Good!! THE BULLS WIN!”)

But Jordan’s series-winning buzzer beater over the Cavs came in round one, and Chicago would fall to the Bad Boys once again in the Conference Finals.

LA, defending champs, went 11-0 to return to the finals, while Detroit swept Larry Bird’s Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks before meeting the Bulls.

The shot

The shot

But if anything the ECF was the highlight of those NBA playoffs.

Jordan’s Bulls won Game 1, but Thomas paced the Pistons in Game 2 to level the series. Jordan scored 46 as Chicago won Game 3, but Dennis Rodman’s 18 rebounds in Game 4 helped hold the Bulls to a series-low 80 points as Detroit made it 2-2, and the Pistons closed it out from there.

It was a gruelling series full of highlight plays, trash talk and toughness. After that, the finals were a let-down.

It all began badly for LA when starting guard Byron Scott was ruled out with a hamstring injury in practice before Game 1.

It got worse for the defending champs when Isiah, Joe Dumars and Vinnie Johnson combined for 65 points to give Detroit a series lead.

But it was effectively over when Magic pulled up with a hamstring injury early in Game 2. The Pistons never looked back, Dumars won finals MVP, and the Showtime Lakers were suddenly no more.

If the Cavs and Dubs can take anything from that, it’s to look after those hamstrings… Healthy teams win championships, so getting as much chance to rest during the post-season is going to be important. They’re doing a pretty good job so far.

But it’s interesting to compare the teams too.

The Lakers were an ageing team. So are the Cavs. Magic was 30 years old in 89. LeBron is 32 now. Channing Frye, JR Smith, Richard Jefferson and Deron Williams are all the wrong side of 30. By comparison the Dubs look more like the young, hungry Pistons.

At the time, the Bad Boys were also one of the deepest teams ever to win a ring, and their bench turned up big in the finals, with Rodman, Johnson, John Salley and James Edwards all making big contributions.

It’s debatable who has the deeper team out of the Cavs and the Dubs. But how both benches perform could decide it if they do meet in the finals.

Should it happen, let’s just hope we’re not robbed of another seven-game classic by a bad injury or two. Fingers crossed.

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