1984 NBA Finals Game 6
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage
36-12 Run Buries Celtics
Champagne and the NBA championship trophy were stored in the Los Angeles Forum, but they weren't awaiting the Lakers.
LA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had an NBA championship series-record sixth migraine, vomited in the locker room before this sixth game. Would he play?
"It got quiet because all of us knew he was suffering," said guard Michael Cooper. "You know he's going to have enough noise out there on the floor. I think everyone just tried to make it as easy as possible for him in the dressing room."
Jabbar interrupted coach Pat Riley's pregame speech to talk to his teammates. "You hear a lot about Celtic tradition and Celtic pride," Jabbar would say after he had scored 30 points with 10 rebounds. "We have some proud athletes, too. They're not the only team with pride."
The physical play of Game 4 resurfaced on this Sunday afternoon in air- conditioned Los Angeles. James Worthy, who had missed an important free throw at the end of that game and had seen Cedric Maxwell give him the choke sign, started it. Worthy broke up Maxwell's breakaway layup and almost broke Maxwell's neck. Worthy shoved Max from behind, driving him into the basket support. Other Celtics restrained Max from chasing Worthy.
"That's their style," Worthy said. "They don't give you any respect. They abuse you physically and mentally . . . It's not a way I like to play basketball. But if they're going to do these things to you, you're going to have to do the same things to them or they'll eat your lunch on you."
"I don't think what he did to Max was anything near what McHale did to Kurt," said Riley, who had called the Celtics "thugs," and McHale's foul the "cheapest shot" he'd ever seen. "Worthy didn't grab him around the neck and throw him to the floor."
"Worthy's play was worse than what Kevin did," answered Celtics president and general manager Red Auerbach. "At least their guy (Rambis) saw our guy coming. Max couldn't see anything coming."
"As long as they're able to dish it out and take it," said Maxwell, "that's fine."
The Celtics didn't seem upset by the developments. Guards Gerald Henderson (22 points) and Dennis Johnson (20) combined for 12 jumpers, and the Celtics had built a 65-59 halftime lead to 84-73. Then Riley replaced Magic Johnson (21 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds) with rookie Byron Scott. "With Mac gone (Bob McAdoo had left with a sore Achilles tendon), we needed some shooting," Riley said.
Fifty-two seconds later, Scott popped from the corner. He broke away for a jam. And the Celtics missed seven straight shots and scored but two field goals in 12:57. The Lakers went on a 36-12 run that covered 15 1/2 minutes.
"I just didn't get the ball enough," Larry Bird (28 points, 8 of 11 field goals, 17 rebounds, 8 assists) would complain. "I just wanted the ball in my hands, especially when the 11-point lead was going down. I knew I had my game in control. Their defense wasn't doing any better today than any other time in the series. I was making things happen when I had it, and I wasn't getting it when we needed it."
So the Celtics blew the game that could have won the championship, 119-108. Later, Maxwell was quoted as telling DJ, "Let's kill them on Tuesday. Let's kill those freaks."
A fan threw some liquid at Boston forward M.L. Carr, leaving him with an eye irritation. "The guy evidently fixed a concoction to get us with," Carr said.
"Fans in the 20th row were throwing stuff," Bird said. "Not only is it dangerous, but it can hurt their own team because people at the Garden might do the same thing."
Bird was also upset with first-year NBA Comr. David Stern. "Stern told a fan that the NBA needed a seven-game series because the league needed the money," Bird said. "When the commissioner makes a statement like that to a fan, you know it's going to be tough. Things are going to happen. He's a man, and he'll live up to it. He may say he said it in jest. But I'm out there trying to make a living and win a championship."
He would have another chance Tuesday in Boston.