Back in the 1988 playoffs, Isiah Thomas led the Pistons to the NBA Finals defeating Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and Larry Bird’s Celtics in the East.
With Stephen Curry winning his fourth NBA title and lifting his maiden Finals MVP trophy this year, several analysts and basketball enthusiasts have promoted the GSW guard as one of the greatest point guards ever. While several still have Magic Johnson as their #1 point guard of all time, a majority have now placed Steph above the likes of Isiah Thomas.
Several fans compare Curry’s 4 championships to Zeke’s 2 titles. However, what people don’t take into consideration is the difference in the level of competition they faced on their quests to the NBA Finals.
For instance, in these playoffs Curry and co. handed the Nuggets a gentlemen’s sweep in the first round, defeated the Grizzlies in the second round, eliminated Luka Doncic and co. in the WCF, and finally won the championship after defeating the inexperienced Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Whereas, IT had to overcome the likes of Moses Malone and co., Michael Jordan’s Bulls, and Larry Bird’s Celtics, only to lose to Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers in the 1988 NBA Finals.
In 1988, Isiah Thomas recorded one of the greatest NBA Finals performances of all-time
Thomas had some of his best productions in the series against the Lakers. Averaging 19.7 points, 9 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game The Baby-Faced Assassin was just unstoppable.
However, none of his performances was as iconic as his Game 6 outings.
What Magic Johnson calls Thomas’ “greatest game”, Isiah sustained a horrific right ankle injury and went on to put on the greatest finals display ever.
The guard went on to finish the night with a staggering 43 points and 8 assists, 6 steals on 56% field goal and 61% true shooting, and a 25-point 3rd quarter explosion that included 11 FGM (both are finals record).
On this day 34 years ago, Isiah Thomas had his Greatest Finals Game
25 points in 3rd quarter (Finals record)
11 FGM in 3rd quarter (Finals record)
Against the Showtime Lakers in the 1988 NBA Finals. pic.twitter.com/wMoanwgsx2
— NBA Muse (@NBAMuse24) June 19, 2022
Yes, Steph might have a better-looking resume than Thomas, but we can never disrespect the Pistons legend.