8.20.2010

Cooz Reflects on First Four Games of 1984 NBA Finals

Bob Cousy, who helped the Boston Celtics win six National Basketball Association championships from 1957 to 1963, is keeping an interested eye on the current N.B.A. final series. "The Celtics have been fortunate," he said yesterday. "This series could easily have been over in four games. Boston has struggled to generate an offense, while the Lakers have flowed to the basket. But the Lakers have been careless at crucial times and let Boston back into contention. Without shooting well, the Celtics have had to dominate the boards to hang in there until the Lakers helped them with errors."

Cousy has been fascinated by the play of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. "I've never seen Kareem emotionally involved," he said. "He wants to win so badly, it shows. He usually plays with an air of sophistication, but now his motivation has reached a deeper level. He has the ability to combine Bill Russell's defensive talent with Wilt Chamberlain's scoring ability, but until now his play lacked intensity. Because he shoots and passes so well, the Lakers can always go to him when other things don't work.

"Magic is puzzling. He has so much talent, but sometimes gets overconfident and makes mistakes because of a lack of concentration. He is one of the great guards in N.B.A. history, but has to hone his mental toughness. "There has never been a more talented forward than Bird, but the Lakers are making him force things. I've never seen him get as flustered before. In Game 4, he shot too quickly, perhaps feeling he must be the leader who takes pressure off the less-talented players."

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