Larry Bird is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the game. In 1984, he was on top of his game and leading his team to a championship. However, during crunch time of the finals against Magic Johnson’s Lakers, it seemed like all hope was lost for the Celtics.
The nba finals 1985 was the final game of the 1984 NBA Finals. Larry Bird saw Magic Johnson guarding him during crunch time and knew it was over.
In Game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics faced their second overtime game of the series against the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite being severely outplayed in the first three games, the squad only trailed 2-1 in the series. They’d tie the game and regain homecourt advantage with another comeback victory. When it mattered most, Larry Bird took command.
With 16 seconds remaining in the extra session, Bird hit a lane jumper to give his Celtics a 129-125 win and even the series. Bird knew he’d won when he saw Lakers guard Magic Johnson guarding him on that game-winning shot.
After the Boston Celtics were blown out in Game 3, Larry Bird pumped up the team.
On May 27, 1984, Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics reacts to a second-half foul call during Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Boston Garden. | Getty Images/John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe
Bird, like the rest of the Celtics, was dissatisfied with the team’s performance in Game 3 of the 1984 NBA Finals. He chastised his teammates, calling them “sissies” after their lackluster performance against the Lakers. The group reacted.
During the Locked On Celtics podcast in 2020, Celtics guard Danny Ainge stated, “I recall Larry saying something to the media about how soft the team is.” “However, our performance in Game 3 in Los Angeles embarrassed and humiliated every single individual who saw that film.”
During the second part of Game 4, the Celtics deviated from their game plan. They became the aggressors, as shown by Kevin McHale’s iconic Kurt Rambis clotheslining. The Celtics also played with the Lakers’ minds by increasing their mental game.
They understood they had to do something, but they also realized how fortunate they were not to be down 3-0 in the series.
“After being blasted out in Game 1, we were very fortunate to win Game 2,” Ainge said. “Our chances of winning that game are probably in the one percentile. Then we get destroyed again in Game 3 and it’s basically a dunk fest.”
Larry Bird thought the game was gone when he saw Magic Johnson defending him late in Game 4.
Bird had been irritated by Michael Cooper’s tough defense throughout the series. Cooper was one of the hardest defenders Bird had ever faced, according to Bird. Even when he wasn’t competing against Cooper, he brought him up.
During the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets in 1986, Bird said that no one on the other team could stop him.
According to Sports Illustrated, Bird stated, “Michael Cooper isn’t in this series, and he’s the only one who can truly shut me down.”
That’s why, with 16 seconds remaining in overtime during Game 4 in Los Angeles, Bird’s eyes lighted up when he saw Magic Johnson defending him.
According to United Press International, Bird stated, “Michael Cooper went down in the lane.” “It became a bit helter-skelter after that. But I knew I could shoot over Magic (Johnson) as soon as I received him in the mail.”
The Celtics won by four points thanks to Bird’s shot, regaining homecourt advantage.
The Celtics went on to win the series in seven games, led by Bird.
After Game 7 of the NBA Finals in Boston on June 12, 1984, Boston Celtics players Larry Bird and Quinn Buckner celebrate the team’s NBA title in the locker room. The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/FaK2z9aSEU John Blanding/Globe Staff via archives
June 12, 2018 — Joshua Miller (@jm bos)
Bird’s three-pointer gave the Celtics the win, bringing them level with the Lakers going into Game 5 in Boston. He then ensured that his side maintained its homecourt advantage.
At the Boston Garden, Larry Legend dominated Game 5 with game-highs in points (34) and rebounds (14). (17). Boston stretched a 55-53 halftime lead to 121-103 win by outscoring the Lakers by nine points in the third quarter.
The Lakers recovered and won Game 6 by a score of 119-108. Bird, on the other hand, was once again too much in Game 7, scoring a double-double in a 111-102 win. He was awarded MVP of the Finals after scoring 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
The Lakers were well aware that they had let the series slip away from them. It followed them into the offseason, but they eventually turned it into inspiration. In the 1985 NBA Finals, they beat the Celtics in a rematch.
In 2015, Magic Johnson told Sports Illustrated, “You can’t look at 1985 without looking at 1984.” “We all believed we deserved to win. It was the most powerful motivator.”
Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics of 1985-86: The Best Starting Five Ever?
Larry Bird was a basketball player who won three NBA championships and is the only player in history to win 3-consecutive MVP awards. At the 1984 NBA Finals, Larry Bird saw Magic Johnson guarding him during crunch time of the game and knew it was over for his team. Reference: larry bird height.
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