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The 1990 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1989-1990 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons successfully defending their championship by beating the Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers four games to one. Isiah Thomas of the Pistons was awarded the title of NBA Finals MVP.

It was the first trip to the NBA Finals for the Portland Trail Blazers since their stunning championship win of 1977.

The Chicago Bulls fell to the Pistons for the third consecutive year, but the following year they would gain revenge by sweeping them out of the Eastern Conference finals on their way to the first of six NBA championships in the next eight years.

The Phoenix Suns defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in a playoff series for the first time ever.

It was the first time since 1981 that the Lakers failed to reach at least the conference finals.

The New York Knicks fell 0-2 behind to the Boston Celtics in their first round Eastern Conference matchup, but came back to take the series 3-2 by winning the decisive Game 5 on the road in Bostonmarker

The Indiana Pacers made only their third playoff appearance since their NBA debut in the 1976-77 season; they would proceed to make the playoffs 16 out of the next 17 years (missing only in 1997).

Game 5 of the 1990 NBA Finals marked the final NBA game to be televised on CBS.


Western Conference

Champion: Portland Trail Blazers

1st Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Houston Rockets:Lakers win series 3-1

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Denver Nuggets:Spurs win series 3-0

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) Dallas Mavericks:Blazers win series 3-0

(4) Utah Jazz vs. (5) Phoenix Suns:Suns win series 3-2

Conference Semifinals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Phoenix Suns:Suns win series 4-1

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers:Blazers win series 4-3

Conference Finals

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (5) Phoenix Suns:Blazers win series 4-2

Eastern Conference

Champion: Detroit Pistons

1st Round

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (8) Indiana Pacers:Pistons win series 3-0

(2) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (7) Cleveland Cavaliers:76ers win series 3-2

(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks:Bulls win series 3-1

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) New York Knicks:Knicks win series 3-2

Conference Semifinals

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (5) New York Knicks:Pistons win series 4-1

(2) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (3) Chicago Bulls:Bulls win series 4-1

Conference Finals

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (3) Chicago Bulls:Pistons win series 4-3

NBA Finals

(1) Detroit Pistons vs. (3) Portland Trail Blazers:Pistons win series 4-1
  • Game 1 @ Detroit: Detroit 105, Portland 99
  • Game 2 @ Detroit: Portland 106, Detroit 105
  • Game 3 @ Portland: Detroit 121, Portland 106
  • Game 4 @ Portland: Detroit 112, Portland 109
  • Game 5 @ Portland: Detroit 92, Portland 90 (Vinnie Johnson hits the championship-winning shot)

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