10.30.2014

Riles Counters with Worthy at Two-Guard

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May 27, 1984

In an effort to counter the Celtics' huge front line, the Lakers' Pat Riley countered with a backcourt of Magic Johnson and the 6-9 James Worthy against the Celtics' starting backcourt of Gerald Henderson, 6-2, and Dennis Johnson, 6-4.

Surprise in Johnson's Eyes

10.28.2014

Cooper Clips Birds' Wings

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May 27, 1984

Larry Bird will be the first to tell you it's tough to fly when you have your wings clipped.

Boston's All-Star forward was upset about not being able to get his game off the ground during the Lakers' 115-109 victory in Game 1 of the NBA Championship Series on Sunday. Game 2 will be played Thursday night in Boston.

10.27.2014

Lakers Double and Triple Team Celtic Bigs

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May 27, 1984


"When we shoot the ball as well as we did," Abdul-Jabbar said, "we're a very hard team to beat, because we have so many versatile players. But the Celtics showed their character by making a run at us, but we played good defense to hold them off."

Abdul-Jabbar's 13 first-quarter points powered his team to a 30-12 lead with 3 minutes 15 seconds left. He added 10 more in the second period.

Parish, in early foul trouble, offered Abdul-Jabbar little resistance defensively. Offensively, he shot 2 for 7 and scored only 5 points in the first half. Parish fouled out with 7:23 left after having shot 6 for 13 and scoring 13 points.

"Their game plan was to double- and triple-team me and the rest of our big guys," Parish said, "and force us to shoot from the outside. They achieved their goal today. They played a near-perfect first half. We allowed them the board in the first half, and they just ran away from us. I don't have the figures, but I'm sure they scored a dozen points on our offensive board. In addition, I don't think I ever saw the man shoot that well. The man was on fire."

Parish said the Celtics would have to rebound better in Thursday's game, and that he would have to stay out of foul trouble.

10.26.2014

Kareem Overcomes Migraine

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May 27, 1984

When he awoke yesterday, the pain was starting.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knew the feeling all too well because, over the years, recurring migraine headaches probably have done more than opposing players to hamper him.

10.25.2014

Celtics Come Out Flat

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May 27, 1984

While the Celtics were sleep-walking through the first half and into the third period, the Lakers ran with ease, played aggressive defense and allowed the Celtics, who were shooting poorly, few second shots. By the time the Celtics awoke, the Lakers were enjoying their second 19-point advantage of the game at 81-62 midway in the third quarter.

"Maybe we were so happy to be here," said K. C. Jones, the Celtic coach, "that we came out awfully flat. L. A. probably set up their game plan and their defenses on their plane. They came here really ready to play, and I hate to see a team that is happy and enthusiastic."

Jones was alluding to the nine hours it took the Lakers to get to Boston from Phoenix, where they eliminated the Suns Friday night to win the Western Conference championship. During the trip, Abdul-Jabbar said his neck was twisted as he tried to sleep on the plane. Early this morning, he awoke with one of his troublesome migraine headaches that caused him to miss breakfast, the team bus and the pregame practice.

Abdul-Jabbar arrived by taxi one hour before the 1 P.M. start. After a neck manipulation by Jack Curran, the Laker trainer, the pain left the N.B.A.'s top scorer.

10.24.2014

Let the Greastest Spectacle on Earth Begin

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Celtics vs. Lakers!

One o'clock!

NBA finals!

No need for holding back. The winner receives the NBA championship trophy, the riches of mankind, pleasant words from Brent Musburger and the right to claim permanent possession of composer/maestro John Williams. The loser has to wear sack cloth or a hair shirt - whichever is worse - for an entire year.

Boston vs. Los Angeles!

East vs. West!

Atlantic Ocean vs. Pacific Ocean!

10.23.2014

It's all in the Packaging

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May 1984

It'll be packaged and sold like diet cola, all-beef patties and home computers.

The choice is yours. Bird or Magic? You are either a Bird Man or a Magic Man. Attach yourself to an image and live by it. Which player suits your particular tax bracket, lifestyle and political persuasion?

The Predictive Power of Regular Season Matchups

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Season      Regular Season Result          NBA Champion
2008-09        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Magic
2007-08        Celtics Sweep             Celtics defeat Lakers
2003-04        Lakers Sweep              Pistons defeat Lakers
2001-02        Celtics Sweep             Lakers defeat Nets
2000-01        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Nets
1999-00        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Pacers
1990-91        Split                     Bulls defeat Lakers
1988-89        Split                     Pistons Sweep Lakers
1987-88        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Pistons
1986-87        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Celtics
1985-86        Celtics Sweep             Celtics defeat Rockets
1984-85        Split                     Lakers defeat Celtics
1983-84        Lakers Sweep              Celtics defeat Lakers
1982-83        Celtics Sweep             Sixers Sweep Lakers
1981-82        Split                     Lakers defeat Sixers
1980-81        Celtics Sweep             Celtics defeat Rockets
1979-80        Lakers Sweep              Lakers defeat Sixers
1975-76        Celtics Sweep             Celtics defeat Suns
1973-74        Split                     Celtics defeat Bucks
1971-72        Celtics 4-0               Knicks defeat Lakers
1970-71        Lakers 4-1                Lakers defeat Knicks
1969-70        Lakers 4-2                Knicks defeat Lakers
1968-69        Lakers 4-2                Celtics defeat Lakers
1967-68        Lakers 4-3                Celtics defeat Lakers
1965-66        Celtics 7-3               Celtics defeat Lakers
1964-65        Celtics 7-3               Celtics defeat Lakers
1963-64        Celtics 6-3               Celtics defeat Warriors
1962-63        Lakers 5-4                Celtics defeat Lakers
1961-62        Celtics 6-3               Celtics defeat Lakers
1960-61        Celtics 8-2               Celtics defeat Hawks
When the Celtics and Lakers faced off in the 1984 NBA Finals, my brother, the Lakers' fan, fired this opening salvo: you know how it works. Whoever wins the season series wins the NBA championship. "Christ, I thought to myself. We're screwed." Turned out it wasn't true, even in the early days of the Magic v. Bird Era, which is the era my brother was talking about.

Still, it is interesting to see if there has been any karma-connection between the pre-season duels and the Finals victor. I'll let you make the call. But I would say that at least during the 1980s, a sweep by either team was reflective more often than not as to whom would take home the ring.

10.22.2014

The NBA is Abuzz

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May 1984

"It's the Bird-Magic factor that'll start all the mystique of this series all over again," said 76ers general manager Pat Williams. "It's the ultimate treat. To me, if it can't be Philly in the finals, then let it be Boston. There hasn't been a final like this in 15 years."

10.21.2014

It's May 1984: Who was Considered Better -- Bird or Magic?

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May 1984

When the pros talk about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, they babble like school kids. A group of experts asked to analyze the two stars then pick one produced answers that were almost identical. Bird is a better scorer and rebounder, while Magic is more versatile and a better playmaker. However, when pressed hard, most expressed a slight -- emphasize slight -- preference for Bird. "Both belong in another world," raves Dick Vitale, a former coach of the Detroit Pistons and now an ESPN analyst. "They play on another level. When God made these two, he came up with something very special.

Riles Appreciated the Rivalry

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May 1984

"HERE, look at this," the Los Angeles Lakers' coach, Pat Riley, said one recent afternoon as he sat in his bright and spacious office at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. He handed his visitor a large black-and-white photograph. "Isn't it something?" he asked.

The photo was tattered along one edge because it had been torn from a book. Otherwise, it was well-preserved. It showed two basketball players, frozen during what is called the transition game - a time when possession of the ball is changing from one team to the other.

10.20.2014

1979 All Over Again

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May 1984

"It's the Bird-Magic factor that'll start all the mystique of this series all over again," said 76ers general manager Pat Williams. "It's the ultimate treat. To me, if it can't be Philly in the finals, then let it be Boston. There hasn't been a final like this in 15 years."