Magic had 22 points and 20 assists, while Michael Cooper made six three-point shots, then a record for most three-pointers made in a single NBA Finals game. [22], After losing the first two games in the Forum in L.A., no one thought Boston would even pull out a victory. The Celtics fended off the late Los Angeles rally to capture the NBA title and send Red Auerbach out a champion. The Celtics swept the Bucks. The Celtics would e… And just like their predecessors, they'll share it with the Los Angeles Lakers. [130] After the Celtics had built a 13-point lead late in the third quarter, the game was tied at 64 with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. [21], The Lakers, led by new head coach Butch van Breda Kolff, would actually root for the Celtics to win the series, thinking that Bill Russell would be easier to defeat than 76er Wilt Chamberlain (Chamberlain would become a Laker the following season). Only the Lakers made an appearance in the NBA Finals that decade, losing the 1991 NBA Finals to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, the first championship in the Bulls' dynasty. [48] This series marked the end of an era for the Celtics. [118], This was the Celtics' 17th championship, their first since 1986, extending their record for most NBA championships won by a single team. The Celtics ended the series with an 89-81 victory Friday and will host Game 1 of the Finals on Thursday night. It was a grueling seven-game matchup ultimately won by the Celtics. Kobe Bryant was named Finals MVP for the second straight year. In the commercial, Bird is practicing alone on a rural basketball court when Johnson pulls up in a sleek limousine and challenges him to a one-on-one match. [14], The Lakers acquired Wilt Chamberlain in 1968, which brought the personal rivalry between him and Bill Russell, previously a feature of the Celtics-76ers rivalry, to Celtics-Lakers. Boston's new Big … [4][5][6] Under Hall of Fame head coach John Kundla, and with the NBA's first superstar in George Mikan,[7] they would win three more titles in 1952,[8] 1953,[9] and 1954. Magic Johnson had 29 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds, while James Worthy had 33 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. game in the NBA Finals, and Los Angeles was unable to break the string. [44] In Game 4, the Lakers had a five-point game lead with less than a minute to play, but made several execution errors as the Celtics tied the game and then came away with a 129–125 victory in overtime. This would prove critical as the Celtics held on and triumphed 108–106. Game 3 returned to Boston, where the Lakers took a 2–1 series lead by winning 91–84, again led by Bryant but with strong support from Derek Fisher. Even though it seems like the Celtics and Lakers met constantly in the Finals during the Bird/Johnson era, they actually only met three times, with the Celtics severely hampered by … [44] The Celtics went on to win in seven games, increasing their record of Finals' series victories against the Lakers to 8–0.[45]. The Lakers had home court advantage for the first time and won the first two games, but the Celtics rebounded to force and win a dramatic Game 7 at the Los Angeles Forum, defying Laker's owner Jack Kent Cooke's infamous prediction of a Lakers celebration. The personal rivalry formed by these two basketball greats during college would transfer to their NBA careers, and reignite the rivalry between the two storied franchises that they came to represent. Cooke then came down to personally order the defiant coach to insert Wilt, but to no avail. [128] The Lakers would win the game 89–67 and set up an epic Game 7. [21], With Bill Russell and Sam Jones in their final season, and plagued with injuries, the Celtics struggled to make the NBA playoffs as the fourth and final seed in the Eastern Conference. Boston was led by their 'Big Three' of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen. [24] West was named Finals MVP despite being on the losing team,[22] but it was small consolation in a decade where the Lakers went without a championship, every one of their Finals' losses in that decade coming at the hands of the Celtics. [47] In the 1987 NBA Finals, the two teams met for a tie-breaker of their 1980s Finals matches, and the Lakers once again emerged victorious in six games, with the iconic image of Johnson's junior sky hook. 2 being Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals). Boston would face a tough seven-game series against the Syracuse Nationals but would eventually emerge victorious, leading Celtic star Bob Cousy to predict that Boston would sweep Minneapolis. 1984-85: Lakers Finally End Celtics Hex. Boston's new Big Three reached the NBA's big stage. After the game, a Laker fan threw a beer at Celtics guard M.L. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named MVP of the series, making him the oldest player (38 years, 1 month, 24 days) ever to win the MVP of an NBA Finals series. Crushed by the Houston Rockets in … "My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the [expletive] truth. Notwithstanding the Celtics' success and the Lakers' struggles during this period, both teams would make their presence felt in subsequent offseasons. The following year, the Lakers finally had their revenge, winning the 1985 NBA Finals by taking Game 6 in Boston Garden, becoming the only visiting team to win an NBA championship in that arena. However, while Perkins was ruled out because of his injury, Bynum was cleared to play in Game 7. [129], This was the fifth Game 7 between the Lakers and Celtics. In Game 1, the Los Angeles Lakers came away with a 126–113 victory. Game 5 was notable for an impressive Lakers' comeback sending it into overtime, but the Celtics would ultimately win that game. However, battles between the Celtics and the Lakers took a back seat to the emerging rivalry between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, who met in four consecutive NBA Finals between 2015 and 2018, where the Cavaliers were led by a big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, while the Warriors were led by a big four of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. The Celtics would again defeat the Lakers. [114], This was the Boston Celtics' eighth consecutive NBA Championship, a feat unrivaled in North American professional sports. [16] The Lakers would be the Celtics opponent in six of those series: 1962,[17] 1963,[18] 1965,[19] 1966,[20] 1968,[21] and 1969. The 76ers defeated the Celtics in the Eastern Conference finals in a 7-game series, but were defeated by Lakers in 6 games, with Johnson being named Finals MVP. Prior to 2014, the Lakers only missed the playoffs four times since moving to Los Angeles, and five times in franchise history. However, the Lakers have been the dominant team in the postseason, compiling a 12-3 record. However, the Lakers opened up a massive lead in Game 6, peaking at 27. 1985 NBA Finals. [48] In Game 2, the Lakers took a 2–0 series lead with a 141–122 victory. Minneapolis would win the first ever Championship Series of the newly formed NBA in 1950 (three BAA Finals were played between 1947–1949 and retroactively counted as NBA Championships, one of which was won by the Lakers in 1949). With the addition of Allen and Garnett alongside Pierce to become the new "Big Three", the Celtics returned to the top of the NBA in the 2007–2008 season by posting the best record in the league and reaching the Finals. [15] It was after this move, and during this decade, that the rivalry would truly escalate. [13] This would mark the first Finals loss for the previously dominant Lakers, and the first of eight straight titles for Boston. Celtics-Lakers Finals an '80s flashback. Bird had hit a three-point bomb with 12 seconds remaining to give the Celtics the lead, however, with two seconds remaining, Magic Johnson sank a "junior sky hook" to give the Lakers a 107–106 lead, then Bird missed a 20-foot jumper as time expired, allowing Los Angeles to gain a three games to one lead. In what was the most-watched college basketball game ever,[35] Michigan State defeated Indiana State 75–64, and Johnson was voted Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four. [10] The Celtics would emerge behind early NBA star Bob Cousy by winning the 1957 NBA Finals[11] and losing in 1958. However, the Lakers proceeded to miss the playoffs a record six consecutive seasons, highlighted by four straight seasons with over 50 losses and a franchise-low 17–65 mark during the 2015–16 season. [22] The Celtics won all of those match-ups. [103] During a game against the Lakers on February 11, 2011, Ray Allen became the all-time NBA leader in total 3-point field goals made. However, it would ultimately prove to be the decade of the Celtics, who won the finals every year in the 1960s except for 1967. Bryant helped the Lakers win three consecutive titles from 2000-02, and they fell short of another with a loss to the Pistons in 2004. The following year they would again both be eliminated by the eventual 2012 NBA Finals participants, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat, respectively. Paul Pierce is the truth. [90] The next season, the Lakers and Celtics played a regular season game on Christmas Day. [92] They went on to win the 2009 NBA Finals that season, but the Celtics were eliminated by eventual Eastern Conference champions Orlando Magic. Lakers win series 4-2. [31] They would not make it to the Finals again in this decade, but in 1975 they acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.[32]. The Celtics likewise made little playoff progress after their near Finals run of 2002. The Lakers won 11 of the 19 NBA Finals … They would both go on to dominate the league in the 1960s and 1980s, facing each other six times in the 1960s, three times in the 1980s, and two times in 2008 and 2010. However the Celtics would hold on to win 108-102, taking the commanding 2–0 series lead. "[57] Sports journalist Larry Schwartz of ESPN asserted that Johnson and Bird saved the NBA from bankruptcy. [48] In Game 5, the Celtics prevented the Lakers from celebrating in the Boston Garden by coming away with a 123–108 win. The Lakers were the defending champions, having beaten the Orlando Magic 4–1 in the 2009 NBA Finals. Boston bested Los Angeles in seven games in the 1984 Finals before the Lakers found redemption by defeating the Celtics, 4-2, in the Finals the following year. [46] In Game 5, the Lakers raced out to a 64–51 lead and stretched it to 89–72 before the Celtics cut the deficit to 101–97 with six minutes remaining. [63] Celtics star Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack in his prime in 1993, further marring the team in tragedy since second overall pick Len Bias died of a drug overdose two days after he was drafted in 1986. The Lakers would counter by signing LeBron James in the 2018 offseason. [86] In 2007, they made blockbuster trades for All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen,[87][88] who complemented career-long Celtics star Paul Pierce and emerging star Rajon Rondo. This was the third time in four years that the Bucks and the Celtics had met in the playoffs; the Bucks defeated the Celtics in the 1983 Eastern Conference Semifinals, and the Celtics defeated the Bucks in the 1984 Eastern Conference Finals. The Celtics and Lakers are meeting again in the NBA Finals, with Kobe and KG taking their place alongside the likes of Magic and Bird in the league's most storied rivalry. However, the Celtics would close out the series in Game 6 with a dominant 131–92 win. Under Jackson's guidance, and with O'Neal and Bryant leading the way, the Lakers won three straight championships in 2000,[75] 2001,[76] and 2002. The Lakers - Celtics duel is one of sport’s most celebrated. Prior to Johnson and Bird's arrival, the NBA had gone through a decade of declining interest and low TV ratings. The Lakers returned to the NBA Finals in 1982, this time led by new coach Pat Riley, in a rematch against the 76ers. [120] For the first time, the Finals went to a 2–3–2 format with games one and two in Boston while the next three games were in Los Angeles. The Lakers, meanwhile, went on to win the 1988 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons,[49] before losing to the Pistons the following year in 1989,[50] and win titles again in 2000, 2001 and 2002, all while the Celtics wallowed in mediocrity. [82] Without O'Neal, the Lakers missed the playoffs the following year and failed to advance to the Finals for the next three years.[83][84][85]. [51][52] A 1984 Converse commercial for its "Weapon" line of basketball shoes (endorsed by both Bird and Johnson) reflected the perceived dichotomy between the two players. [46] The Celtics tied the series in Game 4, 107–105 as Dennis Johnson hit a jumper at the buzzer. Under Hall of Fame head coach John Kundla, and with the NBA's first superstar in George Mikan, they would win three more titles in 1952, 1953, and 1954. They met again in the 2010 NBA Finals, which the Lakers won in 7 games. [21] The Lakers would get what they wished for and face the Celtics, but ultimately to the same result. [137][138] The Celtics won the game, 109–96.[139]. [108] This marked the first of Boston's record eight straight titles. Boston's streak of 10 consecutive Finals appearances had been snapped in 1967 by the 76ers. In the game, the Lakers answered the Celtics rough tactics when Worthy shoved Cedric Maxwell into a basket support. They did not reach the Finals again until 2008. The Celtics and Lakers both found success in the 1970s, but there would be no rematch between the two teams. Seven of the Lakers’ finals losses during that stretch were against the Celtics. Entering the game, they set a record of most playoff games played in one season, with 26, breaking the previous record of 25 set by both the 1994 New York Knicks, whom Celtics Coach Doc Rivers played for, and the 2005 Detroit Pistons, both of whom lost in their respective finals in seven games (Knicks in 1994, Pistons in 2005). Then Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West retired, and the Lakers missed the playoffs in 1975 and 1976.In between, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was acquired, and the Lakers returned to prominence in 1977, … Much of both rosters had been kept intact since the teams last meeting in 2008 and the Celtics' veterans Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rasheed Wallace looked to add to their championship résumés, while Kobe Bryant and the Lakers looked to even the score against the Celtics. The Celtics win over the Lakers in 1966 marked an unprecedented eight consecutive championships, the longest streak of any North American professional sports team. The Celtics' victory in Game 4 was the largest comeback in the NBA Finals since 1971. [46] Celtic reserve forward Scott Wedman made all 11 out of 11 field goal attempts. Boston had won all previous Game 7 match-ups between the two teams. Los Angeles was led by MVP Kobe Bryant and All-Star Pau Gasol.[45]. [46] In Game 3, the Celtics had a 48–38 lead in the second quarter before the Lakers, led by James Worthy, took a 65–59 lead at halftime and then pulled away in the second half to come away with a 136–111 victory. Kobe Bryant exhibited difficulties for much of the game, shooting only 6-for-24 from the field. [69] That same year, the Lakers signed Shaquille O'Neal. This was the largest margin of victory in a deciding Finals game, and would not be broken until 2008, when the Celtics defeated the Lakers once again by a score of 131–92. However, the Lakers began the rebuilding process in 1996 by trading for Kobe Bryant, who was drafted from high school that year by the Charlotte Hornets. Remarkably, Boston would pull away and entered the fourth quarter up by 18. [118], The Celtics, looking to repeat as NBA Champions, had homecourt advantage for the second year in a row as they finished the regular season with a 63–19 record while the Lakers compiled a 62–20 record. [45], This was the first NBA Finals series between the Lakers and Celtics after the Lakers moved to Los Angeles.[17]. [118] Despite this, West was inconsolable. During this, another battle was heating up off the court between Jack Kent Cooke and Lakers coach Butch Van Breda Kolff. "[24] West was furious at the balloons for providing the Celtics extra motivation. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Boston's three All-Stars, are all in the Finals for the first time. The two teams continued to retool in the 2019 offseason; the Lakers acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans while the Celtics brought in Kemba Walker after Irving left to join the Nets. 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