Lakers Still Have Some Guns

January 17, 1981


The Lakers still lack the Magic Touch, but they are the World Champions, they still have the Big Guy and when they enter the Garden tomorrow afternoon (Chs. 6 and 38, 1 p.m.) it will be an Event.

Boston-LA has had a mystique for two decades, or ever since the Lakers fled ice-bound Minneapolis for Southern California. Who could forget the championship series of 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968 and 1969? Who could forget Elgin Baylor's baseline contortions or Jerry West's textbook jumpers? Later on, who could forget Wilt's headband, Gail Goodrich's tantalizing up-fake jumper or Happy Hairston's aggravating offensive rebounds?

And now there are the World Champion Lakers, a team that has stumbled around since losing the irreplaceable Earvin Johnson to knee surgery. Their tight play of last season has been somewhat ragged of late, but they've still got names that people respect. Start, of course, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, still the premier center in basketball. He's gained a lot of weight and lost some hair since first appearing here as Lew Alcindor in November of 1969, but he can still take over any ballgame. Continue with a swift guard named Norm Nixon and a fascinating forward named Jamaal Wilkes. LA still has some horses.

The Lakers beat Boston twice last season, including a close game in the Garden decided by two Nixon free throws. A ballyhooed matchup in the Forum was easily captured by LA. Whatever glories this latest edition of the Celtics has achieved mean nothing to LA. The Celtics haven't really shown them much.

The Celtics should be motivated for this nationally televised game, therefore. And the Lakers should be up for another humbling of the Celtics. The TV audience should be well-served by this game.


FLCeltsFan said...

I'm at the 84 championship year in Seeing Red and it is amusing to see how much Red and Pat Riley hated each other. Pat called Red a cheater. Red said he wanted Riley to win the Coach of the Year (which happened to be a likeness of Red) so that every time he looked at his trophy case there would be Red one up on him and grinning back. Gotta love it.

Lex said...

that is awesome. I learned to respect riley for a few years.now I'm back to disliking him.

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