Dennis Johnson: The Neutralizer

The Boston Celtics acquired Dennis Johnson with Philadelphia 76er guard Andrew Toney in mind. Toney, known as the "Boston Strangler" for the number of times his offensive performances sealed the coffin on another Celtics defeat, was, at times, more difficult for Boston to defend than Doc Erving, Moses Malone, or anyone else on the 76er teams of the early and mid-1980s.

Very quickly, DJ reduced Toney's thunder to a dull roar.

But what I remember most about DJ is how helped turn the 1984 championship series around, effectively neutralizing Magic Johnson.

I liked to call him the "Laker Killer."

Bob Ryan described DJ as "Lawrence Taylor in gym shorts."

This video bears out both descriptions.

The look on Pat Riley's face after the DJ game-ending shot in the Finals is priceless (2:50 of the above video).

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