1984 NBA Finals: Wedman Saves Celtics from Date with Finals Futility

1984 NBA Finals


Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage

Just when the Boston Celtics were on the verge of making NBA history -- for futility -- reserve forward Scott Wedman came to the rescue Thursday night.

Wedman hit a 12-foot baseline jumper with 14 seconds left in overtime to lift the Celtics to a 124-121 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, tying the NBA championship series at 1-1.

Boston narrowly avoided becoming the first team in the 37-year history of the NBA finals to lose the first two games at home. Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday and Wednesday at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

Wedman, who doubled his regular-season average with 10 points, gave the Celtics a 122-121 lead with his clutch basket.

"It was a double-pick with Larry Bird on one side and myself on the other," Wedman said. "I was open for the shot and it felt good when I let it go."

The Lakers were unable to get off a final shot, turning the ball over twice in the closing seconds, the last time when Boston center Robert Parish slapped the ball away from Bob McAdoo with six seconds left.

Bird, who finished with 27 points, added two free throws with two seconds remaining for the final margin.

Boston guard Gerald Henderson had forced the overtime session when he stole a James Worthy pass with 13 seconds left in regulation and drove in for an uncontested layup to tie the score at 113.

"Anytime you're in that situation, you have to go for the steal," Henderson said. "We had to have that steal. We had to have something at that point, and Worthy just lofted the ball."

Los Angeles took the ball out at midcourt after a timeout, but Magic Johnson dribbled away the last nine seconds without getting off a shot.

Johnson scored four of the Lakers' first five points in overtime to give Los Angeles a 118-115 lead. Henderson then took a lead pass from Bird and converted a three-point play to tie the score with 2:15 left.

After the teams exchanged baskets, McAdoo hit a 12-foot jumper with 1:25 remaining to give the Lakers their last lead, 121-120.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar missed a sky hook with 26 seconds left that would have given the Lakers a three-point lead, and Wedman followed with his game-winning shot.

Worthy paced the Lakers with 29 points and Johnson added 27.

Celtics' Coach K.C. Jones was relieved to get out of Boston with a split.

"We got ourselves in trouble, we let our momentum slide, but we had heroic efforts from different people," Jones said. "That's what 'team' is all about."

Unlike the first game, the Celtics broke quickly from the gate. They jumped to a 7-0 lead, reversing the early minutes of Game 1, when Los Angeles took a 22-7 lead en route to a 115-109 victory.

Johnson, who had 14 of Los Angeles' 26 first-quarter points, hit four consecutive long jumpers to cut Boston's lead to 13-10. But Danny Ainge, who had played only two minutes Sunday without scoring, came off the bench to hit three long jumpers in an 11-2 stretch that gave the Celtics a 33-20 lead.

Boston maintained a comfortable advantage for most of the half, using a 17-4 edge in free-throw attempts build a 57-44 lead with 4:32 remaining.

The Lakers finally got their fast break working at that point. Worthy had nine points and Jamaal Wilkes six during a 15-4 run that cut their deficit to 61-59 at halftime. Worthy made four layups and Wilkes hit two corner jumpers during the spurt.

Worthy had 11 points in the third quarter, when Los Angeles shot 68 percent. The Lakers took their first lead of the game when Jabbar, who had 20 points, hit a pair of sky hooks to finish a 7-0 spurt that put Los Angeles ahead, 66-65, with 9:26 left in the period.

Late in the fourth quarter, Abdul-Jabbar completed a three-point play to score his 4,000th career playoff point.

Parish hit a long baseline jumper to give Boston a 101-97 lead, and the teams swapped baskets until Bird hit three of four free throws with 1:30 left to give the Celtics a 111-108 advantage.

Worthy tied the score on a driving three-point play and Johnson added two foul shots with 35 seconds remaining to give the Lakers a 113-111 advantage. After a Henderson jumper fell short, Kevin McHale was fouled by McAdoo on an offensive rebound with 20 seconds left.

McHale missed both free-throw attempts, setting the stage for Henderson's steal of Worthy's looping cross-court pass.

The Celtics' victory marked the ninth consecutive time in NBA history that a home team lost the opening game of a championship series and followed with a victory in Game 2.

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