Lakers Not Expecting Let Down Against Celtics

May 1984

The Lakers did not take the most direct route to Boston, but they are used to those kinds of delays.

Last season, after taking a 3-1 lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the four-of-seven-game Western Conference championship series, the Lakers lost a critical fifth game at home and were forced to win the title on a Friday night in Texas.

The following Sunday, after a cross-country flight and time for only one practice - in a ballroom at their hotel headquarters in Philadelphia - they lost the opening game of their final series against the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers never recovered and were swept in four games.

This year, the Lakers took a 3-1 lead against the t Phoenix Suns, but lost at home Wednesday. But on Friday night, the Lakers qualified for a showdown with the Celtics by surviving a last-minute comeback and gaining a 99-97 victory at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Was this the beginning of a similar experience for the Lakers?

"I don't think so," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who rebounded from a trancelike 2-point performance in the first half to score 11 points and make the game-winning assist on an over-the-head, give-and-go play to Earvin (Magic) Johnson that resulted in a layup with just over a minute left.

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