Celtics-Lakers Hatred Interrupted

It is generally agreed that the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers shared an abiding dislike for each other in the 1980s, and "dislike" might be an understatement. To be sure, Magic and Bird now sing praises for the other, but not so much back then.

ML Carr called them the "Fakers," while Cornbread Maxwell taunted Laker foul-shooters by clutching his throat in late-game situations. When the Lakers finally defeated the Celtics in the 1985 NBA Finals, after losing 8 straight championship match-ups, the first words out of Pat Riley's mouth were "maybe they won't mock us now."

The repartee continued the next season. In 1986 Bill Walton never hesitated to remind Jerry West that Walton had given the Lakers first crack at his services. After Walton injured his foot for the 22nd time in 1987, Byron Scott began publicly referring to Walton as "Dr. Shoals."

On a few occasions, however, players on both teams put aside their allegiances to celebrate the greatness of the other.

During the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics and Pistons were playing another hotly contested game when Bird hit a shot that swung the momentum irrevocably back in his team's favor.

Catching the ball at the elbow, Bird turned left and drove toward the baseline, slightly trailing away from the basket. The defender overplayed Bird to his right, trying to keep him from getting to the paint.

Bird had other things in mind.

Now fifteen feet from the hoop, Bird flung a left-handed jumper that banked off the back board and went in.

At this moment, according to those who were present, Magic and Worthy, both in a hotel room, jumped from their chairs and began screaming and giving each other high fives.

Not everyone in the room was as pleased by the shot.

Byron Scott apparently remained seated and didn't break a smile.

1 comment:

FLCeltsFan said...

Good stuff! Those were the good old days. Nice to be back to the good new days.

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