1984 NBA Finals
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage
KC Jones will have to take certain necessary adjustments for Game 2. Most importantly, he will have to reassess whether to again play Henderson on Johnson or whether to use 6-4 Dennis Johnson.
The Celtics acquired DJ from Phoenix last summer for the specific purpose of defending big guards Andrew Toney of the 76ers and Sidney Moncrief of the Milwaukee Bucks. Johnson, the hero of Seattle's 1979 world championship team, had played Magic each time that Boston played the Lakers during the regular season.
But Jones opted to open with Henderson in an effort to prevent Magic from taking off after missed shots to fill the middle on the break.
''We thought he could stick with him,'' Jones said. ''If Magic is guarded by Dennis and Magic is guarding Gerald, we thought there might be some confusion. They run the ball so well. If Dennis has to run from where he is and catch up with Magic, then Magic will be down there under the basket.''
''That worked out really well,'' Jones said. ''It's not really an important factor, unless I'm missing something.''
Protestations to the contrary, the Henderson-Magic matchup seemed like a mismatch from the start. Henderson might have the necessary quickness to guard Johnson, but he gives up strength, 7 inches in size, and experience.
Before Game 1, Henderson never had guarded Magic. He tried his best to play him by the book, laying off Johnson to prevent him from penetrating.
But Magic made four straight 18-footers in the first quarter when Henderson was attempting to help out on Abdul-Jabbar.
''The last game in Phoenix he couldn't buy those shots,'' Henderson said. ''We had to give them to him and he came through. That opened it up for them, him hitting those shots. Three in a row and you've got to go back out on him.''
The Lakers jumped out to a 34-22 lead, then let the Celics chase them.
It was odd that Boston, which made both New York and Milwaukee adjust their matchups throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, let its fear of Magic affect its entire game plan.
''We did come out kind of slow,'' Henderson said. ''It looked like we were rusty. It took some time for us to get back on track and when we did, they had it going. The way they came out is the way we should have come out. Once they got their confidence going, it's hard to beat the Lakers. You can't win when you're down 30-12.''