This 1987 NBA Playoffs Round 1 final game between the Milwaukee Bucks verses the Philadelphia 76’ers marked the last professional basketball game for the incredible Dr. J….as his 76’ers would go down in defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks by a score of 102 – 89.
The 1986-87 NBA season was the 76ers 38th season in the NBA and 24th season in Philadelphia. In the 1986 Draft, the Sixers made two trades that would cloud the franchise for over a decade. The Sixers traded the # 1 overall pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers….who used this selection to draft Brad Daugherty….for Roy Hinson and cash….then in one of the worst trades ever….they traded Moses Malone, Terry Catledge and two first round draft picks to the Washington Bullets for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson.
Brad Daugherty would have multiple All-Star selections with the Cavs….while Hinson was dealt away after having a short, unremarkable career in Philadelphia…..while Moses Malone would go to the 1987 NBA All Star game….whereas Jeff Ruland played in a total of 5 games that season…..before sustaining an injury that would keep him out of the NBA until a short stint with the Sixers in the 1992 season.
The Sixers would finish nine games worse than the previous season at 45-37….and lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Milwaukee Bucks. This would be the 16th and final season for Julius Erving….who in his last regular season home game….became just the third player in ABA-NBA history to score over 30,000 points for a career….as each road city had a farewell ceremony to honor him.
The 1986-87 NBA season was the Bucks’ 19th season in the NBA….when for the first time since 1979-80, the Bucks did not win their division…..as during the season, coach and general manager Don Nelson started to experience a rift in friendship with Bucks owner Herb Kohl due to personal disagreements with Kohl on how to run the team….when during Game 4 the 1987 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Bucks and the Boston Celtics….Nelson controversially announced to the local and national sports media that he did not expect to return to the Bucks after the season was over due to said rift with Kohl…..as Coach Don Nelson would in fact resign after the Bucks lost the series to Boston in seven games….even after coming back from being down 3-1 in the series only to lose the seventh and deciding game in Boston Garden. After 11 seasons coaching and managing the Bucks, Nelson took the year off only to return in the 1988-89 season as coach and manager of the Golden State Warriors…..while the Bucks hired Nelson’s assistant coach, Del Harris, to take over the team for the 1987-88 season.