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Magic-Bird, Lakers-Celtics rivalry, part 2

November 5, 2009 | 11:44 am

Nbafinals85 Magic Johnson and Larry Bird teamed up with reporter Jackie MacMullan for a new book, "When the Game Was Ours."

One passage talks about the 1985 NBA Finals when the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics for the title in Game 6, after having lost to them in the Finals eight previous times, including in 1984. It was a particularly sweet win for the Lakers and Magic Johnson because they won the title in the Boston Garden.

Here's an excerpt:

The aura of [Red] Auerbach's cigars, the booby-trapped parquet, and the plethora of championship banners was not quite so daunting the second time around. [Lakers Coach Pat] Riley ordered high-powered fans to cool off the [Boston Garden] locker room in case another heat wave settled into the visitor's area....

"Magic's purpose was written all over his face in Game 6," Riley said. "It was 'Atone for 1984.' It was life or death for him."...

[After winning the title] In the cluttered visitors' locker room, the Lakers gathered in a circle and chanted "LA! LA!" in unison. Their owner, Jerry Buss, accepted the championship trophy from David Stern and declared, "This has removed the most odious sentence in the English language. It can never again be said the Lakers have not beaten the Celtics."

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Magic Johnson scores over Larry Bird and Kevin McHale in the 1985 NBA Finals. Photo credit: Los Angeles Times.