Editor’s note: Until the NBA season returns, we’ll be recapping every classic Lakers game that is televised or live-streamed in a series we’re calling Recap Rewind.
The Los Angeles Lakers are just a game away from hoisting their fifth NBA championship this decade after beating the Boston Celtics in dramatic fashion at The Garden on Tuesday.
Just like they have for the greater half of this decade, the Lakers and Celtics struggled to pull away from each other, with just one point separating the two teams by the time final buzzer sounded. For a moment, it seemed like the Celtics were going to even the series. With 15 seconds left on the shot clock, Larry Bird, who had been struggling all night, drained a 3-pointer that put Boston up 105-106. Pat Riley needed a timeout.
Everyone knew whose hands the ball was going to end up in — it was the same player that tallied 27 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists up to that point: Magic Johnson. However, what they didn’t expect was for Johnson to take it into the paint and hit a sweeping hook shot over the long arms of Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to put the Lakers up 107-106.
It’s like Larry Bird said after the game: “You expect to lose on a Skyhook — you don’t expect it to be Magic.”
Bird got one final look before the game ended, but he didn’t get the shooter’s bounce, and the Lakers left the Garden with a win. It was a fitting entry to a storybook rivalry.
The Lakers will try and close out the series with a win at the Boston Garden on Thursday. That’s obviously much easier said than done, but they’ve done it before — we’ll see if they can do it again.
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