1984 NBA Finals Game 4
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage
Larry Bird said his shot that gave the Boston Celtics their second overtime victory over the Lakers in the National Basketball Association Championship Series last night was set up when Los Angeles defensive stalwart Michael Cooper fell in the lane.
"It was a broken play," said Bird, whose 15-foot turnaround jumper with 16 seconds left broke a 123-123 tie and carried the Celtics to a 129-125 victory that deadlocked the best-of-seven series 2-2.
"Cooper fell down and I took Magic (Johnson) down to the post," added Bird, who had 29 points and 21 rebounds in the game. "I figured I could shoot over him easier than Cooper."
After a 33-point defeat in the third game of the series, Bird had said the Celtics "played like a bunch of sissies." But last night he said he knew all along that his teammates had character.
"It was an emotional game," Bird said.
"I always knew the makeup of this team. Now we go back to the Garden."
Game Five of the best-of-seven final series will be played Friday night at Boston Garden.
The Celtics, gunning for an unprecedented 15th NBA title, got the ball with 35 seconds left in the extra session after Johnson missed two free throws for the Lakers. With the 24-second shot clock winding down, Bird swished the game- winner. James Worthy, who had 10 of his 30 points for Los Angeles in the overtime, then missed one of two free throws with 10 seconds left and Dennis Johnson, who had eight of his 22 points in the overtime period, hit two free throws to seal the triumph.
"They came back tough," said Worthy. "They went to the boards very well. We'll be ready to play Friday." The Lakers, who lost to the Celtics in each of their seven previous final series, trailed 104-101 with 5:24 remaining in the game after leading for most of the contest. The Lakers, however, scored the next eight points for a 109-104 advantage and still led 113-108 with 56 seconds left.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who scored 32 points, was charged with his fifth and sixth fouls, allowing a three-point play by Robert Parish and two free throws to Bird to tie the score. Parish, who fouled out in the extra period with 25 points, then stole the ball with four seconds on the clock, but shots by Bird and McHale missed, forcing the overtime. Gerald Henderson, who was scoreless in the first half as Los Angeles led by as many as 14 and by 10 at halftime, scored 11 points in the third period to rally Boston despite being involved in the first flareup of tempers in the series.
With the Lakers leading 76-70, Kevin McHale knocked Kurt Rambis to the floor as Rambis went up for a layup. Henderson got crossed up in the collision, but Cooper pushed Henderson into the corner before peacemakers intervened. Then, just 89 seconds later, Bird and Abdul-Jabbar jostled under the basket and had to be separated after exchanging harsh words. Henderson kept firing, however, and helped the Celtics cut the deficit to 90-88 going into the final 12 minutes. With Parish on the bench with four fouls, the Lakers went almost exclusively to Abdul-Jabbar in the third period, and he responded with 14 points.
It was the first time since 1974 that there have been two overtime games in a championship series. The Celtics won the second game of this series 124-121 in overtime at Boston Thursday night. For the first time in the series, neither team pulled away quickly after the opening tap. The Lakers hit 10 of their first 11 shots, including three outside jumpers by Magic Johnson, but after five lead changes and four ties, the last at 19-19, the Lakers put on the first spurt of the game. Johnson, who had 11 points in the period, scored six during a 12-2 run that gave Los Angeles a 31-21 lead with 2:54 left.
But the Celtics responded with an 11-0 spurt for a 32-31 edge before Bob McAdoo's jumper gave the Lakers a one-point advantage after the first 12 minutes. Boston then missed its first nine shots of the second period, while backup center Swen Nater, averaging just 3.7 points and nine minutes per game in the series, poured in six points as Los Angeles scored 14 of the first 15 points in the quarter for a 47-33 lead.
Rebound baskets by Bird and Cedric Maxwell helped Boston cut the deficit to 56-50, but a free throw by Magic Johnson, a fast-break layup by AbdulJabbar and a steal and dunk by Worthy rebuilt the margin to 61-50. The Lakers settled for a 68-58 halftime lead.