You don’t have to hang me on a hook. My dad hung me on a hook once. Once!
– Danny Fermin, “Johnny is dangerous,1984
The Golden State Warriors In the rare air enters Game 6 of 2022 NBA finals. Not only do they have a chance of winning their fourth NBA championship since 2015; They have a chance to do it on Boston Celtics house floor.
The Dominance of a Pentown Playoff for Decades Has Become Like Only One Team – 1985 Los Angeles Lakers He earned an NBA title at his Boston home, which was then Old Boston Historic Garden. Such circumstances are rare, given the overall supremacy in the Celtics Finals. Although this is Boston’s 22nd final appearance in franchise history, Thursday marks the ninth time the Celtics have faced a final elimination at home. Eight of the previous nine times, Boston either avoided disqualification or won the championship at home.
The only flaw came in ’85. It turned the fortunes of the Lakers franchise.
Despite their Hall of Fame pedigree, with the likes of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain on their roster throughout the 1960s, the Lakers had 0-8 for life in the Finals against Boston entering ’85.
After finishing first in the 1979 draft, Magic Johnson transformed the Lakers, leading them to two titles in his first four seasons. But Los Angeles was coming out of a agonizing seven-game final defeat to the Celtics the previous year, After giving up on Game 2 in a heartbreaking fashion in the last secondsThen get overtaking in Game 7 in the park. The book called Magic Johnson “Tragic Johnson” because of his bad theatrics.
So when the Lakers reached Boston 3-2 after beating the Celtics 120-111 at the Great Western Forum in Game 5, they were determined not to let history repeat itself.
“In the back of our minds, we all remember what happened the year before,” recalls Mitch Kupchak, a key reserve on those Lakers teams and now the Hornets’ president of basketball operations and general manager. “We should have been back to L.A. twice. But we didn’t. …I say that because we would have been back to Boston now in ’85, up 3-2. That devil was there, right? We can’t let that happen again.” A large part of it was the fact of how we had lost the previous year.
“And the (other) part was the rivalry between the Celtics and the Lakers. The Lakers had never beaten the Celtics (in the NBA Finals), until that year. I think they lost seven or eight (Editor’s note: eight) times. Jerry West was the general manager, he never mentioned her, but she was always in the newspaper. To this day, Jerry probably carries that with him. He was like a silent demon that we had to cast out. …and then, there’s a natural urge to try to win a ring, right? We never talked about the Lakers never beating the Celtics, because that was in the ’60s. This is the eighties. But she was in the newspaper every day, and we all read the newspaper. It was in the news.”
Then there was what awaited any visiting team coming to the ancient garden.
“Four rains, only two work,” Kopchak said. “There was no air conditioning. We had to bring in, like, an air blower. The dressing room was large enough for seven people; We had 15. We felt that was all Red Auerbach was doing, his way of trying to get a competitive advantage.”
Prior to Game Six in 1985, CBS studio host Brent Mossberger and man of the day Dick Stockton each noted the Celtics’ historic playoff dominance at home. Stockton remarked before hinting, “Bear in mind, with (at the time) the Celtics’ 15 world championships, they had only been defeated once in a World Series, and that was at a visiting court in St. Louis 27 years ago,” when he was Street at that time. Louis Hawks, led by Hall of Famer Bob Pettit, handed Bill Russell his only defeat in the NBA Finals in 12 games.
“The parquet floor has been a Celtics family charm over the years,” Stockton said. “See if it continues.”
After running out of an early lead, the Lakers couldn’t pull out. The first half was fiercely contested, with 18 draws. Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar were both slowed by three errors in the first half, and both sat in the final two minutes, 30 seconds of the second quarter. With James Worthy taking over the scoring carry, the Lakers reached a half-time tie with the Celtics at 55.
“But I think the advantage is shifting to the Lakers, because Magic Johnson and Karim have been on the bench for an awful long, and that fatigue we’ve been talking about shouldn’t affect these two players in the long run,” said CBS’ color commentator, Hall of Famer, player and coach. Former Celtics Tommy Heinson.
It turns out that this assumption is correct. Los Angeles took over the management of the game in the third quarter, beating Boston 27-18. Abdul-Jabbar made his first two shots in the quarter, and the Lakers advanced 82-73 after three. But Johnson made his fifth mistake early on in the fourth. The Lakers had to turn to their 38-year-old center, Abdul-Jabbar — who was humiliated in Game One of the Finals, in the 148-114 “Boston Massacre” celebrated on Memorial Day. But Karim recovered, scoring 30 points, 17 rebounds, and eight assists in Game 2’s win at The Garden.
“He played as if he were twenty-five,” Kupchak recalls.
In the sixth match, Abdul-Jabbar scored eight of his high team 29 points in the last three minutes of the fourth, With his double fists raised in celebration after he fell into another sky hook a minute ago It symbolizes what the moment means to him and his team. Johnson had a hat-trick, with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists, but Abdul-Jabbar was the unanimous pick for the NBA Finals player of the year.
“An extraordinary spectacle – the Celtics lose a championship at home,” said Henson, who won eight titles as a player in Boston. “You have to have some personality to win it on the road. … When you win it on the road, there’s not a lot of applause coming your way, but you definitely appreciate these guys on the bench.”
In the same small, airless changing room for visitors, champagne now flows freely.
“This has removed the ugliest sentence from the English language,” Lakers owner Jerry Boss told CBS afterwards. “It can’t be said again that the Lakers never beat the Celtics.”
(Fan photo outside of TD Garden: David Butler II / USA Today)