The 1987-88 Mavericks maintained the pace they had set the previous season, slipping only two games in the victory column to a 53-29 record. MacLeod collected his 600th career victory on January 13 when Dallas beat the Indiana Pacers, with Roy Tarpley grabbing 23 rebounds in the game. Mark Aguirre and James Donaldson played in the 1988 NBA All-Star Game in February. Then, beginning on February 14, the Mavericks ran off a club-record 11-game winning streak. On February 24, during the sixth game of the streak, Rolando Blackman scored his 10,000th career point. </font></p> Won 53, lost 29 (second, Midwest)advanced to the Conference Finals for the first time in club history, losing to the eventual World Champion Lakers in Dallas’ first-ever 7-game series...ousted Houston and Denver in the first two rounds of the playoffs, winning four road games in the process...the Denver series was the first ever won by Dallas without the benefit of home court advantage...in his first year as head coach, John MacLeod became the eighth man in NBA history to inherit a 50-win team, and post 50+ wins...he also became the eighth coach to reach the 600-win milestone (Jan. 13)...Mark Aguirre and James Donaldson both played in the All-Star Game in Chicago...Roy Tarpley won the NBA Sixth Man Award by averaging 13.5 ppg and 11.8 rpg in 28.5 minutes...he ranked seventh in NBA rebounding, the first non-starter ever among the leaders...improved upon club defense record by 4.1 ppg, allowing just 104.9 ppg - sixth in the NBA (two year earlier Dallas had placed 21st)...also set club records for FG percent defense (.470), rebounding (46.8, tops in the league) and blocks (446)...won a club record 11-straight games from February 14 through March 4...only NBA team to use just 12 players...the lineup of Aguirre, Perkins, Donaldson, Harper and Blackman started 56 games including the opener and finale.
With an April 15 loss, Dallas fell out of first place in the Midwest Division for the first time since December 21. After 110 days at the top, the club was displaced by Denver and finished the year one game behind the Nuggets.
For the sixth consecutive season Aguirre led the team in scoring, with 25.1 points per game. Tarpley won the NBA Sixth Man Award by averaging 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds.
Dallas enjoyed its finest postseason run in 1988. After dumping the Houston Rockets in four games and Denver in six, the Mavericks found themselves in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in team history. All that stood between Dallas and the NBA Finals were the defending NBA-champion Lakers. The Mavericks gave the Lakers all they could handle in the series, but Los Angeles's playoff experience prevailed. The Lakers won the seventh and deciding game, 117-102.
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