Adande on DJ


J.A. Adande

Dennis Johnson never averaged 20 points in any of his seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns and Celtics. It's not the numbers that are relevant, it's the memories: Larry Bird never hesitated to give Johnson the ball in crunch time, which is really all you need to know about him.

Johnson was great -- and a major deterrent to the Lakers. His defense forced Magic Johnson into back-to-back turnovers and killed the Lakers' last hopes in Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals. His jump shot won Game 4 of the 1985 Finals and forced the Lakers to head back to Boston Garden to exorcise the demons from their decades of losing to the Celtics.

The height of athletic achievement is to be at your best when it matters most. That applied to Dennis Johnson, a three-time champion, the most valuable player of the 1979 NBA Finals, a man whose career playoff averages exceeded his regular-season numbers.

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