The highlight of the Los Angeles Lakers was Magic Johnson leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals, where they lost 1–4 to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The Lakers would not return to the Finals until 2000. The season is generally considered the final season of the team’s successful, uptempo Showtime era.
The Lakers finished the regular season with a 58–24 record, but for the first time since the 1980–81 season, did not win their division. Johnson finished second behind Jordan in the voting for the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Johnson was the league’s third-oldest point guard, and had grown more powerful and stronger than in his earlier years, but was also slower and less nimble. Mike Dunleavy was the new head coach, the offense used more half-court sets, and the team had a renewed emphasis on defense.
In the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers swept the Houston Rockets in three straight games, then defeated the 7th-seeded Golden State Warriors in five games in the semifinals. In the Western Conference Finals, they defeated the top-seeded and Pacific Division champion Portland Trail Blazers in six games to advance to the NBA Finals.
Game 5 of the NBA Finals was the last Finals game played at the Forum. It was also Magic’s last NBA game as he would retire later in November due to an HIV Virus. Magic would make a brief return to the Lakers midway through the 1995–96 NBA season. After losing to the Houston Rockets in that year’s playoffs, Magic retired again.