SHOWTIME! In NBA circles in the 80’s this single term had come to describe one thing and one thing only The Los Angles Lakers, led by the incomparable Erwin “Magic” Johnson, complemented by the best offensive half court center of all time in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, fast break gazelle’s such as James Worthy, Byron Scott, A.C. Green and defensive stopper Michael Cooper.
Magic averaged a career high of 23.9 points per game to help offset the need of Kareem to score. Plus he averaged a league high of 12.2 assists per game. The Lakers stormed through the regular season, winning 65 games.
Then in the playoffs they rolled through the Western conference with an 11-1 record to reach the finals again their rivals Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics who were making their fourth straight appearance in the NBA finals, a streak unseen since the previous Celtic dynasty from the 60’s.
However the wear and tear of making that many deep playoff runs had final taken its toll on the Celtics, with both Walton and Scott Wedman hurt and unable to contribute. That, coupled with the fact that the Celtics were extended to seven game series with both the Milwaukee Bucks and then the up and coming Detroit Pistons had Boston a worn and tired team.
But this was the Celtics, so a Well rested and motivated Laker team came out and blitzed the Celtics in the first two games in Los Angles. Back in Boston, however, Celtic pride emerged and the Celtics took game three with Bird pouring in 30 points in a 109-103 victory.
Pivotal game four in Boston Garden came down to a Celtic lead of two with Abdul-Jabbar at the line with two second remaining. Kareem hit the first one to cut the led to one, but missed the second, Boston failed to get the rebound and it went out of bounds and possession was awarded to the Lakers setting up one of the single greatest plays in NBA Finals history.
Magic Johnson took an inbounds pass on the left side, drove into the key and was met by McHale, Bird and Parish. Magic lofted a hook shot over Boston's tall trio and when the shot found net, the Lakers led by one.
With two seconds left after a timeout, Bird somehow got open for a jumper, but the shot rimmed out. The Lakers had stolen a game in Boston and would eventually win the series back in Los Angeles.
"You expect to lose on a sky-hook," Bird said later. "You don't expect it to be from Magic."
Overall the Lakers finished this season with a 80 and 20 record. Maybe not the best single season record of all time, but in this fans opinion definitely the best team of all time.
During a 10-year run from 1979 through 1988, the Lakers appeared in the finals a total of eight times winning five titles. Thanks for reading….