AP Was There: Bird defeats Magic in the opening Finals match

Boston, June 12, 1984 (AP): In the first NBA Finals between Boston’s Larry Bird and Los Angeles’ Magic Johnson, the Boston Celtics defeated the Lakers 111-102 in Game 7. There would be two more finals meetings between them, both of which the Lakers would win. The story about Bird and the Celtics defeating Johnson and the Lakers for the NBA title on June 12, 1984, is being republished verbatim by the Associated Press.


Thanks to William R. Barnard


Sports Writer for AP


Boston — The Boston Celtics, the most successful team in professional basketball history, defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 111-102 on Tuesday night in the seventh game of their championship series to capture an NBA record 15 titles. Cedric Maxwell scored 24 points, while Larry Bird scored 20.


The Celtics are now 7-0 when they have pushed the final round to the limit. The team won their first National Basketball Association championship in 19557, defeating St. Louis in seven games.


Maxwell matched his season-high point total. He was the Most Valuable Player in 1981, the year the Celtics last won the championship. This time, Bird took home the MVP trophy for his outstanding all-court performance. Before the game on Tuesday night, Bird was scoring 28 points a night on average.


With 1:15 remaining in the game, the Lakers made a furious comeback to narrow the score to 105-102 thanks to a three-point play by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who finished with 29 points, and a basket by James Worthy, who had 21 points. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Celtics led by 13.


With 45 seconds remaining, Dennis Johnson’s two free throws (he finished with 22 points) put the score at 107-102, but two more foul shots by Bird ignited a raucous celebration among the 14,890 sold-out spectators.


The two teams squared up in Boston Garden under oppressive heat for the second straight game; but, it wasn’t quite as hot as it was for Game 5, which the Celtics won by 18 points, last Friday night in the venue without air conditioning. Similar to that game, Boston held off the Lakers in Game 7 by maintaining a significant rebounding edge and occasionally making clutch free throws.


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