The Celtics and Lakers, led by superstars Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, engaged in that heated basketball rivalry that led to three head-to-head matchups in the NBA Finals in the 1980s.
It’s a chance to relive all that, and remember just how good those two teams were. Here are seven things to know about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry before watching…
These series are built around Magic and Bird, who began their rivalry in the 1979 NCAA men’s basketball championship game and took that to the next level. They were the epitome of do-it-all superstars. Bird averaged 23.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists head-to-head against Johnson, who averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 assists and 7.3 rebounds in those games.
There was a skirmish in a fight for a loose ball between Warriors center Zaza Pachulia and Cavs guard Iman Shumpert, during which Pachulia appeared to take swipe between Shumpert’s legs. Cavs forward Dahntay Jones was whistled for a technical foul from the bench. Even a Cavs fan was ejected from the game for a skirmish with Warriors reserve Matt Barnes.
Don’t expect the tension to let up.
It’s the finals, Thompson said. Guys are going to talk. We’re going to respond but they aren’t going to punk us. Not me. They’re not about to punk Tristan Thompson. You got the game f—ed up with that one. You can talk all you want but I’m definitely going to bark back. That’s just how I’m built.
The Cavs did not just bark, though. They fought back. They were not punked. And we’ll get a Game 5 as a result.