Over the next several days we are going to take a trip back in the Peachtree Hoops time machine to take a look at the 1988 Eastern Conference Semis against the Boston Celtics. For many, myself included, this was the era of Hawks basketball that led me to becoming a fan of the team and the NBA. This series also was the pinnacle of the Dominique Wilkins era in Atlanta as this was as close as the team would ever come to the NBA Finals. It coincides with one of the best stretches in franchise history for the Hawks as Mike Fratello led them to four consecutive 50 win seasons including a Central Division crown in 1986-87 season when they won 57 games.
After winning 57 games and the Central Division in 1987, Atlanta slipped back to 50 wins and finished four games behind the Detroit Pistons and in a tie with the Chicago Bulls for second in the Central Division in 1988. The Hawks entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and needed home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs to escape the Milwaukee Bucks winning the series 3-2. That set the stage for a match up with the top seeded Boston Celtics who were the Eastern Conference's top seed with 57 wins.
What followed was an entertaining series that saw the Hawks fall down 0-2 only to rally and win the next three games. The Game 5 victory at the Boston Garden to this day stands as one of the biggest wins in franchise history. Atlanta returned to the Omni for Game 6 with a chance to close things out and dropped a close 102-100 contest that set up the "shoot out" between Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird in Game 7 of the series.
Here is my plans for this series. I will be re-watching each game and making notes as if they were happening now. We will then be writing up recaps with hopefully some video highlights and some key quotes from some of the participants. I remember this series fondly as I lived and died with each shot it seemed so this should be a lot of fun.
Exit Question: How many of you remember watching this series? As you look back now what are your thoughts on that series and that Hawks team?