The Boston Celtics 59-23 after a hard fought seven game victory over the Detroit Pistons in which they won the seventh game by a 117-114 score, returned to the finals still coached by K. C. Jones and had as general manager Jan Volk.
The Los Angeles Lakers 65-17 coached by Pat Riley and had as general manager Jerry West, had a mucheasier time getting to the finals, losing only one game in their three series.
Boston was led by Larry Bird 28.1 points per game, 7.6 assists per game, 9.2 rebounds per game, Kevin McHale 26.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 2.2 blocks per game, Robert Parish 17.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg, Dennis Johnson 13.4 ppg, 7.5 apg and Danny Ainge 14.8 ppg.
The Lakers were led by Magic Johnson 23.9 ppg, 12.2 apg, 6.3 rpg, James Worthy 19.4 ppg, Byron Scott 17.0 ppg, 39 year old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 17.5 ppg, 6.7 rpg, A. C. Green 10.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg, Micheal Cooper with 10.5 ppg and Mychal Thompson 10.1 ppg. They also had Kurt Rambis coming off the bench with 5.8 rpg.
The series opened in LA at the Forum with the Lakers starting strong with a 35-26 first quarter lead togo on to a 126-113 victory and go up 1-0 in the series.
LA was led by James Worthy with 33 points and 10 assists, Magic Johnson with 29 points and 13 assists, ByronScott with 20 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with 10 rebounds.
Game two still at the Forum, featured a strong second quarter Laker run of37-22 to win 141-122 and go up two games to none in the series. LA was led by Byron Scott with 24 points, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy with 23 each, Magic Johnson with 22 points and 20 assists and Micheal Cooper with 20 points,
Boston was led by Larry Bird with 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kevin McHale and Dennis Johnson with 20 points each and Robert Parish with 14 rebounds.
Game three was in the Boston Gardens where the Celtics regrouped with a strong second quarter run of 38-26 to win 109-103 to bring the series to two games to one.
Boston was led by Larry Bird 30 points and 12 rebounds, Kevin McHale 21 points, 10 rebounds and Dennis Johnson with 26 points while Magic Johnson led LA with 31 points and 12 rebounds and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added 27 points.
Game four was a pivotal and the closest game of the series as Boston built an 85-78 lead after three quarters but the Lakers led 104-103 with 29 seconds left in the game. Larry Bird made a three pointer to put Boston up 106-104 with twelve seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Kareem was fouled and made one of two free throws but LA got the rebound, called a time out and Magic Johnson made a hook shot over Kevin McHale for a 107-106 victory as a Larry Bird three point attempt with two seconds left went off the back of the rim and the Lakers go up three games to one in the series. (The footage of the last part of the game is on youtube.)
The Celtics came back inspired in game five and with a strong second quarter of38-23 went on to a 123-108 win. LA was led by Magic Johnson with 29 points and 12 assists while Larry Bird with 23 points, 12 rebounds, Dennis Johnson 25 points, 11 assists, Kevin McHale 22 points, 14 rebounds and Robert Parish and Danny Ainge both with 21 points each led the Celtics as they pulled to within one game of the Lakers at three games to two.
Game six was in LA and the Celtics led56-51 at the half but scored only12 points in the third quarter to the Laker’s 30 and they go on to win the game 106-93 and the series.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led LA with 32 points, James Worthy contributed 22 and Magic Johnson had 19 assists while Dennis Johnson had 33 points and 10 rebounds, Kevin McHale had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Larry Bird was only 6 of 16 from the field and for the Celtics to have a chance at winning Bird had to have a good game.
Magic Johnson got his third series MVP as only LeBron James with four and Michael Jordan with six have more. The Lakers returned the next year against the Detroit Pistons and Boston would not be back until 2008 against the Lakers.
Basketball-reference.com was used for the statistics in this article.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate