Basketball News

36 years ago, Magic Johnson floored the Celtics with a rolled arm

We are on June 9, 1987. 36 years ago, to the day. This year, Magic Johnson is elected MVP for the first time in his career, and in the final, he finds his intimate enemy: Larry Bird.

In 1987, the Lakers are above the lot. They ended the season with a superb record (65v-17d), and they only lost once in the playoffs, sweeping the Nuggets and the Sonics in particular. Conversely, Boston struggled, pushed to its limits against the Bucks and the Pistons (4-3 wins).

At home, the Lakers confirm their great form to lead 2-0 (126-113, then 141-122). The Celtics revolt in Game 3 thanks in particular to the surprising Greg Kite, and so we meet for Game 4 at Boston Garden.

The Celtics let go and they play three almost perfect quarters, with a Larry Bird on fire in the 3rd quarter. The Lakers’ “Show Time” offense is limited to 78 points, and Boston leads by 7 points at the start of money time. But the stars of the Lakers are waking up. Jabbar equalizes (95-95) 5 minutes from the end, but Boston responds with an 8-0! There are 3 minutes left to play. Bird and his family think they have done the hardest part of a Garden that is hotter than ever.

A suffocating end to the game

But the Lakers will first seek throws by the Thompson-Jabbar duo, then Michael Cooper plants a 3-pointer! Parish then McHale lost balloons, and on an alley-oop between Magic and Jabbar, the Lakers took control of the match (104-103) 29 seconds from the siren!

Time-out Boston. On the throw-in, Larry Bird is tightly squeezed by James Worthy who even holds his jersey! The referees don’t flinch. Bird can’t do anything so Dennis Johnson plays low post for Parish. And Bird decides to screen to release Ainge. The ball travels well. Parish for Johnson. Johnson for Ainge who finds himself at 4 meters to shoot. James Worthy climbs on top of him. He leaves Bird for a second… Good Larry is in the corner. Ainge saw it. He serves it, and Bird hits the 3-pointer! 106-104 for Boston. There are 12 seconds left. Lakers time-out.

The great Kareem begins his rolled arm…

The system is for Jabbar. The big Kareem is served at the low post, and he begins his rolled arm. McHale comes to help Parish, and fouls. Kareem puts only one out of two throws, but the Lakers recover the key…

With 7 seconds left, Boston leads 106-105. Riley calls a time-out. The “Beat LA” resonate in the room. Even Red Auerbach is standing.

On the throw-in, Magic drives into the racket before finding himself in front of a wall composed of McHale, Bird and Parish. He thinks he is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a difficult but controlled “sky hook” (rolled arm). The ball passes over the mountain of arms before completing its course in the net. Bingo!

“We could imagine losing this match on a skyhook but we couldn’t have predicted that it would come from Magic”will say Larry Bird.

Although stunned by this ” junior sky hook as Magic would dub it, the Celtics would win the next game at home before falling in Game 6.

SEE ALSO:  The Suns and the Heat finalists to recover Bradley Beal?
Back to top button

Adblock Detected

Please disable your ad blocker to be able to see the content of the page. For an independent site with free content, it is literally a matter of life and death to have ads. Thank you for your understanding!