The Full Wiki

1987 NBA Finals: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

The 1987 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1986-87 NBA season. The match took place between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. The Lakers won 4–2, beating the Celtics in the Finals for the second straight time. The key moment of the series was Magic Johnson's junior sky hook in Game 4. This was the tenth time that the Celtics and Lakers met in the NBA Finals (far more than any other Finals matchup) and would also mark the Celtics' last appearance overall until the two teams met again in 2008.

This was the first NBA Championship Series conducted entirely in the month of June. The last time there were no NBA Championship Series games in the month of May was in the 1970-1971 season, when the finals (a four-game sweep that year) ended on April 30th.


After being eliminated in the Western Conference Finals a year earlier, the Lakers returned to the NBA Finals and were rewarded with homecourt advantage as they accumulated a 65-17 record while the Celtics finished the season with a 59-23 record.

The first two games would be played in Los Angelesmarker, the next three games in Boston, and the final two games were scheduled to be played in Los Angeles. The Lakers defeated the Celtics four games to two.

The Celtics were decimated by injuries in this series. Kevin McHale was playing on a bum ankle with a stress fracture. Bill Walton was unable to play in the series because of recurring feet and back problems and Robert Parrish was slowed by a severe ankle sprain.

Game 4 of this series is widely regarded as one of the most exciting in NBA Finals history as it came down to a flurry of activity and multiple lead changes in the final seconds.

Series Summary

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 June 2 Los Angeles 126-113 Boston
Game 2 June 4 Los Angeles 141-122 Boston
Game 3 June 7 Boston 109-103 Los Angeles
Game 4 June 9 Boston 106-107 Los Angeles
Game 5 June 11 Boston 123-108 Los Angeles
Game 6 June 14 Los Angeles 106-93 Boston
Lakers win series 4-2

Game 1

With the well-rested Lakers coming off a four-game sweep of the Seattle SuperSonics and a tired and hobbled Celtic team coming off a grueling seven-game win over the Detroit Pistons, the result was anticlimactic. Magic Johnson led a 126-113 victory with 29 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds and no turnovers. James Worthy, on the receiving end of many of Johnson's passes, had 33 points and nine rebounds. The Lakers ran 35 fast breaks in the first two quarters and led by 21 at intermission.

Game 2

The Celtics plan for Game 2 was to concentrate on stopping Magic Johnson. Danny Ainge, who at 6'5" had the height to deal with the 6'9" Magic, was successful for a short time, but that only freed up Michael Cooper to emerge.

With the Lakers leading by seven in the second quarter, Cooper pushed the Lakers through a 20-10 outburst, scoring or assisting on all 20 points. When it was over, he had popped in 6 of 7 three-point attempts, a playoff record.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added 23 points on 10 of 14 shots, while Magic posted 20 assists and 22 points. In Cooper's big second quarter, he racked up eight assists, tying a Finals record. It all added up to a 141-122 rout, Boston's sixth straight road loss in the playoffs.

Game 3

The Celtics recovered from their two knockout blows in Games 1 and 2 with a counterpunch of their own. A little-used backup center, Greg Kite, provided the spark. Kite, entering the game late in the first quarter when Robert Parish encountered foul trouble, played 20 minutes, and while he failed to score, he grabbed nine rebounds, blocked a Magic Johnson layup, and did solid body work on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The defensive minutes Kite gave Boston from the bench were just enough, as Larry Bird scored 30 points and Dennis Johnson hit 11 of 22 attempts from the field to finish with 26 points. The resurgent Celtics shot 17 of 21 from the floor in the second quarter.

Kevin McHale had limped off the floor in Game 2 after further aggravating his ankle injury. The Celtics' forward bounced back in Boston with 21 points and 10 rebounds while letting the air out of James Worthy's game, limiting the Lakers' forward to only 13 points and three rebounds. Magic led the Lakers with 32 points in the 109-103 loss.

Game 4

After their Game 3 win, Larry Bird said. "This (Game 3) was the most important game of the series for us. If we lost, it might've been tough to get up for Game 4. Now it's going to be easy."

The Celtics took it right to the Lakers, controlling the boards and going up by as many as 16 after halftime, but Los Angeles fought back to tie the game at 95-95 on a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar skyhook with 5:30 remaining. The Lakers then went cold and Boston scored the game's next eight to go up 103-95 with 3½ minutes left. Mychal Thompson and Abdul-Jabbar broke the Lakers' scoring drought by each hitting 1-of-2 from the line to cut the lead to six. Then, on the Celtics' next possession, Robert Parish lost the ball to Michael Cooper. Cooper got the ball to Magic Johnson, who started a break. Cooper spotted up in 3-point territory, Johnson got him the ball, and Cooper drained it to cut the lead to 103-100.

On the Celtics next possession, Larry Bird missed and Thompson rebounded. James Worthy then took Kevin McHale in the lane for an easy jumper. The Boston lead was down to one. On the very next possession, Bird threw a bad bounce pass that McHale couldn't grasp, and the Lakers got the ball back with half a minute left. The Lakers called a timeout to set up a pick for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But Magic told him to fake it as his defender, Robert Parish, attempted to fight through the pick, and then roll to the basket. He did. The pass was there for an easy alley-oop dunk, and the Lakers took a 104-103 lead. However, Bird got open in the corner and hit a three point bomb in front of the Lakers' bench with 12 seconds left, and put Boston up 106-104.

On the next possession, Abdul-Jabbar was fouled and went to the line, where he made the first and missed the second. McHale and Thompson both went up for the missed shot, and the officials ruled that McHale forced the ball out of bounds. The Celtics protested that the ball was off Thompson, but possession was awarded to the Lakers with seven seconds left.

What followed was another play for the ages. Magic took the inbounds pass to the left of the key and feined 20-footer, but McHale came out to change his mind. So Magic drove into the key, and lofted a hook shot which just cleared the fingertips of McHale and Parish, giving the Lakers a 107-106 lead.

The Celtics got a timeout with two seconds left to set Bird up for a game winning shot. While Bird was trying to go around a pick, Worthy made contact with Bird, however, a foul was not called. It should also be noted that at that time the Lakers still had a foul to give and so even if the officials had called the alleged violation, Bird would not have gone to the line. The Celtics would have had to try to inbound the ball again, but with only one second left on the clock. In fact, the ball was inbounded to Bird, but his shot bounced off the back side of the rim. Bird apparently told Pat Riley he was very lucky the shot didn't go in, and that he was foolish for letting him get off a shot.

Game 5

The Celtics had to win Game 5 in the Garden, and would control most of the game. Danny Ainge set the tone by nailing 5 of 6 from 3-point range to give Boston early control.

Magic countered for Los Angeles with 29 points, 12 assists, eight rebounds and four steals, but he received little help. Before the game Bird had told his teammates, "If they want to celebrate, let's not let them do it on the parquet." At one point during the contest, the Lakers' staff even iced down several cases of champagne. But the Celtics had incentive enough. They got their second win, 123-108, and the series jetted back across the continent.

This win would turn out to be the Celtics last win in the NBA Finals until 2008, and would also be the last NBA Finals game ever in the Boston Gardenmarker.

Game 6

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrived for Game 6 with a shaved head and a determination to close out this series. For a while, though, it appeared like the Celtics would steal it. Magic Johnson had only four points at the half and Dennis Johnson poured in 18 for the Celtics on his way to a game-high 33 as Boston led 56-51 at intermission.

But, early in the second half, the Celtics had possession and Larry Bird and James Worthy chased a loose ball toward the sideline. Worthy got there first, batted the ball inbounds to a breaking Magic as he was going out of bounds, and Magic slammed home a breakaway dunk. This play appeared to spark the Lakers, as they took control of the game from that point, winning 106-93.

Worthy would finish with 22 points, and Mychal Thompson had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, but the play of the Lakers' two stalwarts, Magic and Kareem, would be the dagger that finished off the Celtics. Magic recovered from his cold first half to post 16 points, 19 assists, and eight rebounds, and Kareem would pump in a team-high 32 points.

"Magic is a great, great basketball player," Bird stated flatly, settling the issue for the moment. "The best I've ever seen."

Indeed, Magic would gain the NBA Finals MVP award and his fourth championship ring.

"Back in the High Life Again" by Steve Winwood was the closing song at the end of this series.

Team rosters

Television coverage

The Boston Celtics season documentary Home of the Brave, narrated by David Perry, recaps Boston's 1987 injury-plagued season while the Los Angeles Lakers documentary Drive for Five, narrated by legendary Lakers announcer Chick Hearn, recaps the Lakers' magnificent 1987 season en route to a fourth title of the 1980s.

CBS' James Brown filled in for Pat O'Brien when he attended the birth of his son. Brown was on for Games 3 and 4. Both Brown and O'Brien reported on the Lakers' sideline. While Lesley Visser was on for all the games as sideline reporter for CBS as she reported on the Celtics' sideline.

See also


External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address