1990 NBA Finals - Background

Background

The Portland Trail Blazers last made the NBA Finals when they won the NBA championship in 1977. In between finals appearances, the Blazers made the playoffs every year except 1982, but most of the time were eliminated in the first or second round. During this period the Blazers had excellent draft choices in Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter and Jerome Kersey in addition to game-changing deals such as trading for Buck Williams and Kevin Duckworth, but also had poor selections such as 1984 No. 2 pick Sam Bowie and 1978 top pick Mychal Thompson, as well as disappointing trades for Kiki Vandeweghe and Steve Johnson. But things would soon change when original Blazer Rick Adelman took over the team in 1989.

In the 1989-90 campaign, the Trail Blazers posted a 59-23 record, and defeated the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs. Portland won with gritty defense and rebounding, the aerial highlights of Clyde Drexler and Jerome Kersey, and the deadly outside shooting of Terry Porter and Dražen Petrović. The team was ultimately defeated by the defending champion Detroit Pistons, led by Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, and Isiah Thomas (the Finals MVP after averaging 27.6 points per game, 7.0 assists per game, and 5.2 rebounds per game in the series.) 4-1.

For the Pistons, the 1989-90 campaign was almost identical as the year before. The Pistons reached the finals by defeating the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, and the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Pistons won their second straight championship, and Dennis Rodman won Defensive Player of the Year honors. This despite losing Rick Mahorn to the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason.

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