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1985 NBA Finals

1985 NBA Finals

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1985 NBA Finals
TeamCoachWins
Los Angeles Lakers Pat Riley 4
Boston Celtics K. C. Jones 2
Dates May 27–June 9
MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Television CBS (U.S.)
Announcers Dick Stockton and Tom Heinsohn
Radio network WRKO (BOS)
KLAC (LAL)
Announcers Johnny Most and Glenn Ordway (BOS)
Chick Hearn and Keith Erickson (LAL)
Referees
Game 1: Darell Garretson and Jess Kersey
Game 2: Jake O'Donnell and John Vanak
Game 3: Hugh Evans and Earl Strom
Game 4: Ed T. Rush and John Vanak
Game 5: Darell Garretson and Jake O'Donnell
Game 6: Hugh Evans and Earl Strom
Hall of Famers Celtics:
Larry Bird (1998)
Dennis Johnson (2010)
Kevin McHale (1999)
Robert Parish (2003)
Lakers:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1995)
Magic Johnson (2002)
Bob McAdoo (2000)
Jamaal Wilkes (2012)
James Worthy (2003)
Coaches:
K.C. Jones (1989, player)
Pat Riley (2008)
Officials:
Darell Garretson (2016)
Earl Strom (1995)
Eastern Finals Celtics defeat 76ers, 4–1
Western Finals Lakers defeat Nuggets, 4–1
NBA Finals

The 1985 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1984–85 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs.

The Boston Celtics were looking to repeat as NBA Champions for the first time since the 1968–69 season. The Celtics had homecourt advantage for the second year in a row as they finished the regular season with a 63-19 record while the Los Angeles Lakers compiled a 62-20 record. The Lakers looked to bounce back from the previous year's painful loss to the Celtics in the championship series, and were still seeking to beat Boston for the first time ever in NBA Finals history. Also for the first time, the Finals went to a 2-3-2 format with Games 1 and 2 in Boston while the next three games were in Los Angeles. The final two games of the series would be played in Boston, if required. This change of format came after David Stern had a conversation with Celtics legend Red Auerbach in 1984, who didn't like the frequent traveling between games.[1] The 2-3-2 format would be used until the 2013 NBA Finals, after which the 2-2-1-1-1 format returned the following year.

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Celtics four games to two to defeat the Celtics for the first time in Laker history in the NBA Finals.

It would mark the last time the NBA World Championship Series branding would be in use as the NBA Finals branding would replace it the next season.

The video documentary Return to Glory recaps the 1985 NBA Playoff action.

Background

Los Angeles Lakers

After losing to the Celtics in the previous year's finals, the Lakers entered the 1984–85 NBA season with a mission. Once again using the effective Showtime offense, they ran away with the Western Conference-leading 62 wins. The team as a whole underwent a slight evolution, as James Worthy supplanted Jamaal Wilkes as the starting small forward, while Byron Scott began to earn more minutes as the backup to both Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper.

In the playoffs, the Lakers eliminated the Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets, going 11–2 in the three playoff rounds.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics repeated with the NBA's best record by winning 63 games. For the second straight season, Larry Bird won the MVP award, while Kevin McHale won Sixth Man Award for the second year running, despite making the transition from bench cog to starter late in the season with Cedric Maxwell nursing a knee injury. Danny Ainge also emerged as the team's starting shooting guard, after the Celtics traded Gerald Henderson to the Seattle SuperSonics in the offseason.

The Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers, finishing with an 11–4 record heading into the finals. By that point, Boston's classic starting five under head coach K. C. Jones was solidified, featuring Bird, McHale and Robert Parish in the frontcourt, and Ainge and Dennis Johnson in the backcourt.

Road to the Finals

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference champion) Boston Celtics (Eastern Conference champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Los Angeles Lakers 62 20 .756
2 y-Denver Nuggets 52 30 .634 10
3 x-Houston Rockets 48 34 .585 14
4 x-Dallas Mavericks 44 38 .537 18
5 x-Portland Trail Blazers 42 40 .512 20
6 x-Utah Jazz 41 41 .500 21
7 x-San Antonio Spurs 41 41 .500 21
8 x-Phoenix Suns 36 46 .439 26
9 Seattle SuperSonics 31 51 .378 31
10 Los Angeles Clippers 31 51 .378 31
11 Kansas City Kings 31 51 .378 31
12 Golden State Warriors 22 60 .268 40


1st seed in the West, 2nd best league record

Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT GB
1 z-Boston Celtics 63 19 .768
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 59 23 .720 4
3 x-Philadelphia 76ers 58 24 .707 5
4 x-Detroit Pistons 46 36 .561 17
5 x-New Jersey Nets 42 40 .512 21
6 x-Washington Bullets 40 42 .488 23
7 x-Chicago Bulls 38 44 .463 25
8 x-Cleveland Cavaliers 36 46 .439 27
9 Atlanta Hawks 34 48 .415 29
10 New York Knicks 24 58 .293 39
11 Indiana Pacers 22 60 .268 41


1st seed in the East, best league record

Defeated the (8) Phoenix Suns, 3–0 First Round Defeated the (8) Cleveland Cavaliers, 3–1
Defeated the (5) Portland Trail Blazers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) Detroit Pistons, 4–2
Defeated the (2) Denver Nuggets, 4–1 Conference Finals Defeated the (3) Philadelphia 76ers, 4–1

Regular season series

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:

January 16, 1985
Los Angeles Lakers 102, Boston Celtics 104
February 17, 1985
Boston Celtics 111, Los Angeles Lakers 117

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Monday, May 27 Boston Celtics 148–114 (1–0) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 2 Thursday, May 30 Boston Celtics 102–109 (1–1) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 3 Sunday, June 2 Los Angeles Lakers 136–111 (2–1) Boston Celtics
Game 4 Wednesday, June 5 Los Angeles Lakers 105–107 (2–2) Boston Celtics
Game 5 Friday, June 7 Los Angeles Lakers 120–111 (3–2) Boston Celtics
Game 6 Sunday, June 9 Boston Celtics 100–111 (2–4) Los Angeles Lakers

Game 1

May 27
Los Angeles Lakers 114, Boston Celtics 148
Scoring by quarter: 24–38, 25–41, 30–29, 35–40
Pts: James Worthy 20
Rebs: Kurt Rambis 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 12
Pts: McHale, Wedman 26 each
Rebs: Kevin McHale 9
Asts: Dennis Johnson 10
Boston leads the series, 1–0
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees:
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 20 Jess Kersey

The Celtics beat the Lakers 148-114 in a game that came to be known as the "Memorial Day Massacre." The game was a profound embarrassment for the Lakers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had only 12 points and 3 rebounds in his matchup with Robert Parish, and Magic Johnson pulled down only one rebound. Danny Ainge of the Celtics started hot, scoring 15 points in the first quarter. Scott Wedman made all 11 shots he took from the field. Afterwards, Abdul-Jabbar apologized to his teammates for his terrible performance.

Before Boston's 131-92 victory over the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, this was the most lopsided finals game in the history of the Lakers–Celtics rivalry.

Game 2

May 30
Los Angeles Lakers 109, Boston Celtics 102
Scoring by quarter: 31–26, 33–20, 23–29, 22–27
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 30
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 17
Asts: Magic Johnson 13
Pts: Larry Bird 30
Rebs: Larry Bird 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 8
Series tied, 1–1
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees:
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell
  • No. 9 John Vanak

The Lakers recovered from their Game 1 embarrassment behind Abdul-Jabbar's 30 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and 8 assists. Laker swingman Michael Cooper helped in the cause by finishing with 22 points on an 8 for 9 shooting performance, including several clutch outside jumpers down the stretch. The series was evened at 1-1.

Game 3

June 2
Boston Celtics 111, Los Angeles Lakers 136
Scoring by quarter: 29–25, 30–40, 26–35, 26–36
Pts: Kevin McHale 31
Rebs: Kevin McHale 10
Asts: Danny Ainge 10
Pts: James Worthy 29
Rebs: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 14
Asts: Magic Johnson 16
Los Angeles leads the series, 2–1
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 12 Earl Strom

The Celtics held a 48-38 lead in the second quarter before the Lakers, led by James Worthy, took a 65-59 lead at halftime. The Lakers pulled away in the second half and won the game 136-111. During the game, Abdul-Jabbar became the league's all-time leading playoff scorer. Meanwhile, Larry Bird's shooting slump from game 2 continued. He shot a combined 17 of 42 from the field in games two and three.

Game 4

June 5
Boston Celtics 107, Los Angeles Lakers 105
Scoring by quarter: 28–32, 31–26, 23–26, 25–21
Pts: Kevin McHale 28
Rebs: Kevin McHale 12
Asts: Dennis Johnson 12
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 21
Rebs: Magic Johnson 11
Asts: Magic Johnson 12
Series tied, 2–2
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees:
  • No. 4 Ed T. Rush
  • No. 9 John Vanak

The Celtics tied the series in the fourth game with a 107-105 win, as Dennis Johnson hit a jumper as time expired.

Game 5

June 7
Boston Celtics 111, Los Angeles Lakers 120
Scoring by quarter: 31–35, 20–29, 30–31, 30–25
Pts: Robert Parish 26
Rebs: Kevin McHale 10
Asts: Dennis Johnson 17
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 36
Rebs: Kurt Rambis 9
Asts: Magic Johnson 17
Los Angeles leads the series, 3–2
The Forum, Inglewood, California
Attendance: 17,505
Referees:
  • No. 10 Darell Garretson
  • No. 11 Jake O'Donnell

In this game, the Lakers stomped out the Celtics by jumping out to a 64-51 lead and stretched it to 89-72 before the Celtics cut the deficit to 4 points, late in the 4th quarter. The Celtics would cut the lead to 4 points several times, but the Lakers answered each time. Magic Johnson made three shots, Kareem added four more shots, and Cooper hit 2 outside jumpers, and the Lakers came away with a 120-111 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. It was the first Game 5 to be played in the 2-3-2 Finals format in which the team without home court advantage hosted.

Game 6

June 9
Los Angeles Lakers 111, Boston Celtics 100
Scoring by quarter: 28–26, 27–29, 27–18, 29–27
Pts: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 29
Rebs: Johnson, Rambis 10 each
Asts: Magic Johnson 14
Pts: Kevin McHale 32
Rebs: Kevin McHale 16
Asts: Danny Ainge 11
Los Angeles wins the series, 4–2
Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Attendance: 14,890
Referees:
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 12 Earl Strom

In the series clincher the Lakers held the Celtics to just 18 third quarter points to blow open a game tied at halftime. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 29 points and James Worthy 28 as Los Angeles became the first opposing team clinch a title in the Boston Garden. Magic Johnson dished out a game-high 14 assists. Celtics' forward Kevin McHale scored 32 points and grabbed 16 rebounds--both game-highs--before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Larry Bird's dismal shooting continued as he hit just 12 of 29 shots.

The 37-year-old Abdul-Jabbar was named MVP of the series, his second Finals MVP award and first since 1971, averaging 25.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.5 blocks in the six games. Worthy averaged 23.7 points for the Lakers, while Magic Johnson scored 18.3 points per game to go along with 14.0 assists and 6.8 rebounds. Los Angeles shot 51.2% as a team for the series.

McHale led Boston in scoring (26.0) and rebounding (10.7) while shooting 59.8% from the floor. Bird averaged 23.8 points and 8.8 rebounds on just 44.9% shooting. Celtics' guard Dennis Johnson led both teams in minutes played (247). Boston shot 47.6% from the floor while out-rebounding Los Angeles 259-256.

Player statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
Los Angeles Lakers
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 6 6 35.5 .604 .000 .769 9.0 5.2 1.0 1.5 25.7
Michael Cooper 6 0 25.5 .588 .286 .905 2.0 3.7 1.2 0.3 10.2
Magic Johnson 6 6 39.2 .494 .500 .871 6.8 14.0 2.2 0.0 18.3
Mitch Kupchak 6 0 14.5 .550 .000 .643 3.3 0.7 0.2 0.2 5.2
Ronnie Lester 2 0 3.0 .000 .000 1.000 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 1.0
Bob McAdoo 6 0 19.5 .379 .000 .714 3.0 0.8 0.0 0.5 8.2
Mike McGee 4 0 6.5 .500 .600 .667 1.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 4.8
Chuck Nevitt 1 0 2.0 .000 .000 .500 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
Kurt Rambis 6 6 22.0 .500 .000 .538 8.5 0.8 1.3 0.5 7.5
Byron Scott 6 6 34.7 .395 .286 .556 3.7 2.2 2.5 0.2 11.2
Larry Spriggs 4 0 6.8 .600 .000 .500 1.8 1.5 0.3 0.3 3.5
James Worthy 6 6 39.0 .564 .000 .700 4.5 3.2 0.5 0.5 23.7
Boston Celtics
Player GP GS MPG FG% 3FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
Danny Ainge 6 6 33.8 .414 .400 .750 3.0 7.0 2.0 0.0 11.0
Larry Bird 6 6 40.2 .449 .333 .850 8.8 5.0 1.8 0.7 23.8
Quinn Buckner 4 0 7.8 .545 .000 .000 1.5 2.0 0.3 0.0 3.0
M. L. Carr 3 0 2.7 .375 1.000 .000 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.3
Carlos Clark 2 0 3.5 .500 .000 1.000 0.5 1.5 0.5 0.0 2.0
Dennis Johnson 6 6 41.2 .382 .000 .857 4.3 9.5 1.7 0.7 16.0
Greg Kite 5 0 8.8 .444 .000 .500 2.0 0.6 0.2 0.0 1.8
Cedric Maxwell 5 0 10.8 .500 .000 .700 1.0 0.2 0.4 0.0 2.6
Kevin McHale 6 6 40.0 .598 .000 .727 10.7 1.3 0.3 1.8 26.0
Robert Parish 6 6 37.2 .481 .000 .771 9.0 2.0 1.0 1.8 17.2
Scott Wedman 6 0 17.5 .611 .636 .556 3.3 1.7 0.8 0.0 9.3
Ray Williams 4 0 9.3 .500 .000 .000 0.3 2.8 0.3 0.0 3.5

Television coverage

The Finals were telecast by CBS in the United States, with its coverage anchored by Brent Musburger. Dick Stockton did play-by-play with Tom Heinsohn as color analyst, working their second Finals together. Pat O'Brien worked sideline duties for both teams.

Celebration

The Lakers were invited to a reception at the White House with President Ronald Reagan, where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presented the President with a jersey. The following Tuesday would be declared "Laker Day" by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley with a parade beginning at 9th and Broadway.

Team rosters

Los Angeles Lakers

1985 Los Angeles Lakers Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
C 33 Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1947–04–16 UCLA
SG 21 Cooper, Michael 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 1956–04–15 New Mexico State
PG 32 Johnson, Magic 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1959–08–14 Michigan State
C 1 Jones, Earl 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1961–01–13 Columbia
PF 25 Kupchak, Mitch 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1954–05–24 North Carolina
PG 12 Lester, Ronnie 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1959–01–01 Iowa
C 11 McAdoo, Bob 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1951–09–25 North Carolina
SF 40 McGee, Mike 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1959–07–29 Michigan
C 43 Nevitt, Chuck 7 ft 5 in (2.26 m) 217 lb (98 kg) 1959–06–13 North Carolina State
PF 31 Rambis, Kurt 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 213 lb (97 kg) 1958–02–25 Santa Clara
SG 4 Scott, Byron 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 1961–03–28 Arizona State
PF 35 Spriggs, Larry 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1959–09–08 Howard
SF 52 Wilkes, Jamaal 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1953–05–02 UCLA
SF 42 Worthy, James 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1961–02–27 North Carolina
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured

Boston Celtics

1985 Boston Celtics Finals roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. DOB From
G/F 44 Ainge, Danny 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1959–03–17 BYU
F 33 Bird, Larry (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1956–12–07 Indiana State
G 28 Buckner, Quinn 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1954–08–20 Indiana
G 34 Carlisle, Rick 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1959–10–27 Virginia
G/F 30 Carr, M.L. 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1951–01–09 Guilford
G 40 Clark, Carlos 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1960–08–10 Mississippi
G 3 Johnson, Dennis 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1954–09–18 Pepperdine
C 50 Kite, Greg 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 250 lb (113 kg) 1961–08–05 BYU
F 31 Maxwell, Cedric 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1955–11–21 Charlotte
F/C 32 McHale, Kevin 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1957–12–19 Minnesota
C 00 Parish, Robert 7 ft 0 in (2.13 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1953–08–30 Centenary
G/F 8 Wedman, Scott 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) 1952–07–29 Colorado
G 20 Williams, Ray 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 188 lb (85 kg) 1954–10–14 Minnesota
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured

Aftermath

The Celtics made key off-season moves to strengthen its bench and enjoyed a record-setting 1985-86 NBA season. Boston traded Cedric Maxwell and Quinn Buckner and acquired center Bill Walton to spell Robert Parish and shooting guard Jerry Sichting to improve the team's outside shooting. The Celtics won 67 games in the regular season, including both meetings with the Lakers. Larry Bird won his third straight NBA MVP Award and Walton was named the league's top sixth man. Boston's 40-1 regular season home record set a new NBA standard. The Celtics continued their home dominance in the playoffs, going 10-0 in the Boston Garden on their way to a third straight NBA Finals appearance.

The Lakers made changes to its roster, allowing veteran forwards Bob McAdoo and Jamaal Wilkes to depart in free agency. Los Angeles acquired forward Maurice Lucas from Phoenix and drafted another forward, A.C. Green. The Lakers finished with 62 wins, second-best in the NBA, but fell in five games to the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.

The Celtics defeated the Rockets in six games in 1986, the franchise's sixteenth championship. Bird was named Finals MVP for the second time in three seasons.

The Lakers and Celtics met again in 1987 with Los Angeles winning in six games. It was the last time Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would meet in the NBA Finals. The Lakers and Celtics would not square off again for the championship until 2008.

See also

References

  1. ^ Associated Press (June 8, 2008). "Stern says Auerbach helped come up with 2-3-2 Finals format". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2008. 

External links



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