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DEAD CELTICS SOCIETY (AND THE WAY OF THE REAL REAL JUNIOR SKYHOOK)-- History of the NBA Finals Part 38
Welcome to the greatest year in the Lakers/Celtics rivalry.
It is the year that the Celtics will...despite injuries, despite the odds, despite doctors and sportscasters and celebrities warnings...stand up for their hallowed tradition, look Red Auerbach in the face as he's heading off into the dusk and say "Oh Captain my Captain."
They will honor this great man in a way that will forever make us say nice things about Bird's cronies.
For Danny Ainge and Kevin McHale are both in this movie.
Do they get to keep the title? Do they in fact make Auerbach or Keating an almighty overlord?
But they do make them look good.
So let's see what we got here -- a school that's run by the Lakers Showtime that is the NBA.
The best sign of respect that one team can command...is when everybody else in the league is trying to copy you.
They weren't copying Boston anymore. They were copying Magic and the Lakers, for if they could beat the Celtics, that means you were dealing essentially with a standard of excellence.
It is in this school that Red Auerbach teaches them hey -- everybody knows that fastbreaks and smiles are necessary. But toughness? Grit? These are the things that they come FOR.
Come with me boys.
Right over here.
See this black-and-white picture? This was us after winning the title in 1957.
Listen to them.
They're long retired.
But listen to what they're saying --
Yet the Celtics would not have to leave Boston Garden and go to any place in the woods to have their Dead Celtics Society. All they had to do was look up at those banners.
16 beautiful NBA World Championship banners.
Hear the ghosts?
Yet the Celtics would have some problems.
They would actually...listen to Red.
Be inspired by Red.
Be inspired by the ghosts.
And this was not good considering Ainge wanted to be an actor...
And Kevin McHale was in fact making good on "carpe diem" by threatening his own career night in and night out.
Kevin McHale had a body that was three times as effective as Larry Bird's. He had big arms and a set of shoulders that made leaning and turning far too easy.
McHale was arguably a funner player to watch then Bird for the same reason that sometimes Scottie Pippen was funner to watch then Jordan.
When Jordan was in his twilight and doing turnaround jumpers, Pippen was in his prime.
But Pippen's for the next hub. I LIKE that dude.
But anyways, the Celtics will end up in the playoffs with injuries to both Ainge and McHale.
Parish would have cracked ribs and dislocated fingers.
Dennis Johnson will make a marvelous play in the closing seconds of Game 7 of the 2nd round against Sidney Moncrief's Bucks.
With the Celtics up two and Milwaukee with the ball, he will dive into the seats and bounce it right off center Jack Sikma's chest.
Almost being eliminated, they then host Detroit...featuring the iconic Isiah Thomas who was far too cool for Michael Jordan and thus couldn't be on the Dream Team...and Bill Laimbeer who everyone says is a goon and worthless piece of white man basically because as cool as the Bulls were and they were cool, compared to the Bad Boys, the Chicago Bulls were a bunch of total p*ssy yuppies who liked to make excuses. They will not be able to overcome Detroit until the Pistons have each gone under the surgical knife oh four hundred times, and then reigned over a league filled with 5th graders. Ones who were actually intimidated by the commercials.
I know I'm gonna catch hell for dissing the Bulls and I don't care. I liked Pippen and Paxson though.
For the Pistons had everything, personality to boot.
For Boston, this looks bad.
They're younger then the Celtics, more aggressive, more physical.
Game 1 was in Boston.
Jerry Sichting is a tiny little guard who made headlines in the Finals the year before by getting into a freaking fight with 7'2'' Ralph Sampson.
He holds Isiah Thomas to 16 points while Robert Parish handles the rest.
In Game 2, Bird took over with a triple double.
In Game 3, there's a fight because Laimbeer falls directly on Bird while in a heh-heh shot-block attempt.
Bird starts wailing on him and gets ejected.
Same in Game 4.
And so the series goes back to Boston.
Parish retaliates on Laimbeer, punching him several times in the face from behind because Laimbeer kept going for Parish's broken fingers.
Isiah puts them up by one with about 17 seconds left.
Bird drives in...has it blocked by Rodman...and then the ball is knocked out of bounds off Sichting.
Alright...now there's 5 seconds left and the Pistons get the ball back.
All they have to do is inbound it and the game is over.
Chuck Daly was SCREAMING for Isiah to call timeout.
Instead the game resumes uninterrupted, and Isiah inbo--BIRD STEALS IT!!!
BOSTON LEADS BY 1!!!!!!! LISTEN TO THE CROWD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
Celtics lead the series 3-2.
LAR-RY! LAR-RY! LAR-RY!!
But without Parish in Game 6, and coach K.C. Jones at a funeral, the Pistons rout.
And so they go back to Boston for Game 7.
The Celtic ghosts help them out.
As well as alot of utterances of "spade" and "n-word".
Vinnie Johnson and Adrian Dantley butt heads in the fourth quarter of this close game...and are both out at once.
This would tilt the game in the Celtics favor for good, and they pull it out.
The 1987 NBA Finals
The Celtics were exhausted as they went to L.A., who glided through three playoff series like nothing.
The Lakers had swept Seattle, and had about a week to rest and recuperate while the Celtics had not even forty-eight hours.
McHale's foot was broken. Flat broken.
And the Lakers would run down that floor and dunk on everyone's head.
One guy I forgot to mention was Byron Scott. He could jam, and did quite often.
He didn't even need alley-oops.
So the Lakers roll. They go up 2-0, and the series goes to Boston.
The fans at the Garden had been there for almost an hour...filled to capacity.
Greg Kite would be the star on both offense and defense while Bird scored 30 points.
The Celtics evened the gap, and Danny Ainge slammed the ball on the parquet as the buzzer sounded.
Game 4 would be the signature game in the history of the National Basketball Association.
The Celtics led by 16 points, and then by 8 with about 2 minutes left.
Kareem would be sent outside to try to guard Bird in the distance.
Bird's turnarounds are good enough to release them whenever he wants. As soon as the downward arc of Kareem's hands came and went...boom.
The Lakers don't stop hitting shots, particularly Michael Cooper who nailed several 3s.
Finally the Lakers go up by one with about 27 seconds left because Magic alleys to Kareem.
Now it gets fun.
Worthy and Cooper had guarded Bird really well.
This time, Ainge gets the ball into him with just enough space for Worthy to fall off and Cooper to try to get in there.
Bird will, with no space in the corner, launch a shot that goes right over Cooper's fingertips like he did with Kareem...
And the Lakers call time with 12 seconds remaining.
Larry Bird puts the Celtics up by 2!
So the Lakers call timeout, and inbound it to Skyhook.
Kareem is fouled, and goes to the free-throw line. Eight seconds left and he needs both to tie.
Kareem hits the first one no problem.
Lakers trail by 1.
But then he misses the second one, and the ball bounces off McHale's good foot before he can reach down and get it.
Out of bounds.
5 seconds left.
Okay here it goes...my man...versus my man...
They give it to Magic. The Laker bench is tense. Magic is about where Bird shot from, and he dribbles and examines things.
Magic darts to the free throw line.
He takes three steps which for Magic is like taking one.
He extends his arm with the ball in it.
McHale, Bird and Parish, with McHale and Parish having the best shot at him...form a big moving wall at Magic to close off his space.
Magic gets the shot up about a split second before they can block it.
The Laker bunch jumps around and Kareem cries for a foul shot to go with it.
Ha ha. In this game? Shiiii....
So Boston Garden isn't silent.
They have faith in the Captain and his class.
It goes into Bird at that corner he likes...
He throws it up....
CLANG!!! HE MISSES AND THE GAME IS OVER!!!!!
The Lakers win.
Keating is getting fired.
But in Game 5, the players stood up on their desks in a show of support for him.
Bird does this insane diving save of a ball that's going out of bounds. He was about 10 feet in the air. And saved it.
McHale was in top form while limping.
Danny Ainge was hitting inside and outside like he did in the first game in 85.
"Thank you boys," said a tearful Auerbach. "Thank you."
Yet the Lakers would win Game 6 to take the series in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the 1987 NBA World Champions.
And another chapter in NBA history belongs to...the one, the only...Earvin Magic Johnson.