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1985 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Pat Riley 4
Boston Celtics K.C. Jones 2
Dates: May 27 - June 9
MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Television: CBS (U.S.)
Announcers: Dick Stockton and Tom Heinsohn
Radio network: WRKO (BOS)
Announcers: Johnny Most and Glenn Ordway (BOS)
Chick Hearn and Keith Erickson (LAL)
Game 3: Hugh Evans and Earl Strom
Game 6: Hugh Evans and Earl Strom
Hall of Famers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1995)
Larry Bird (1998)
Magic Johnson (2002)
Bob McAdoo (2000)
Kevin McHale (1999)
Robert Parish (2003)
James Worthy (2003)
K.C. Jones (1989, player)
Pat Riley (2008)
Eastern Finals: Celtics defeat 76ers, 4-1
Western Finals: Lakers defeat Nuggets, 4-1
 < 1984 NBA Finals 1986 > 

The 1985 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1984–85 NBA season.

The Boston Celtics were looking to repeat as NBA Champions for the first time since the 1968-69 NBA season. The Celtics had homecourt advantage for the second year in a row as they finished the regular season with a 63-19 record while the Los Angeles Lakers compiled a 62-20 record. The Lakers looked to bounce back from the previous year's painful loss to the Celtics in the NBA Finals. For the first time, the Finals went to a 2-3-2 format with Games 1 and 2 in Boston while the next three games were in Los Angeles. The final two games of the series would be played in Boston, if required. This change of format came after David Stern had a conversation with Celtics legend Red Auerbach in 1984, who didn't like the frequent traveling between games.[1]

The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Celtics four games to two to defeat the Celtics for the first time in Laker history in the NBA Finals.

It would mark the last time the NBA World Championship Series branding would be in use as the NBA Finals branding would replace it the next season.

The video documentary Return to Glory recaps the 1985 NBA Playoff action. It would be the last documentary until 1989 narrated by Dick Stockton.

Television: CBS - Announcers: Brent Musburger (host), Dick Stockton (play-by-play), Tom Heinsohn (color commentatory), Pat O'Brien (Lakers' sideline), and Lesley Visser (Celtics' sideline).


Series scoring summary

Team Games Wins
1 2 3 4 5 6
Los Angeles Lakers 114 109 136 105 120 111 4
Boston Celtics 148 102 111 107 111 100 2

Game 1

The Celtics beat the Lakers 148-114 in a game that came to be known as the "Memorial Day Massacre." The game was a profound embarrassment for the Lakers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had only 12 points and 3 rebounds in his matchup with Robert Parish, and Magic Johnson pulled down only one rebound. Danny Ainge of the Celtics started hot, scoring 15 points in the first quarter. Scott Wedman made all 11 shots he took from the field. Afterwards, Abdul-Jabbar apologized to his teammates for his terrible performance.

Prior to Boston's 131-92 victory over the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, this was the most lopsided finals game in the history of the Lakers–Celtics rivalry.

Game 2

The Lakers responded with a 109-102 win, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had 30 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocked shots, and 8 assists. Laker swingman Michael Cooper helped in the cause by finishing with 22 points on an 8 for 9 shooting performance. The series was evened at 1-1.

Game 3

The Celtics held a 48-38 lead in the second quarter before the Lakers, led by James Worthy, took a 65-59 lead at halftime. The Lakers pulled away in the second half and won the game 136-111. During the game, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became the league's all time leading playoff scorer. Meanwhile, Larry Bird's shooting slump from game 2 continued. He shot 17 of 42 from the field. He had been troubled by a bad back and a sore right elbow, although most people believed he was having trouble with Michael Cooper's defense.

Game 4

The Celtics tied the series in the fourth game with a 107-105 win, as Dennis Johnson hit a jumper as time expired.

Game 5

In this game, the Lakers raced out to a 64-51 lead and stretched it to 89-72 before the Celtics cut the deficit to 101-97 with six minutes remaining. However, Magic Johnson made three shots while Kareem added four more shots and the Lakers came away with a 120-111 victory to take a 3-2 series lead. It was the first Game 5 to be played in the 2-3-2 Finals format in which the team without home court advantage hosted.

Game 6

In the last game, the Lakers were led by Abdul-Jabbar who scored 29 points as the Lakers defeated the Celtics 111-100. Celtics' forward Kevin McHale scored 32 points in the losing effort. Thanks to Michael Cooper's defense and an injured right elbow, Larry Bird had a mediocre 12-for-29 shooting performance in the final game. It was the first (and to date, the only) time an opposing team had claimed an NBA championship in the Boston Garden. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was named MVP of the series, only his second Finals MVP award (he also won it in 1971). In the Lakers' four victories, Abdul-Jabbar averaged 30.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 blocks. In one memorable sequence, Abdul-Jabbar grabbed a rebound, drove the length of the court and swished a sky-hook. He also dove for a loose ball. "What you saw," Laker head coach Pat Riley told Sports Illustrated, "was passion."

During a postgame interview with Brent Musburger, Lakers owner Jerry Buss stated that "this trophy removes the most odious sentence in the English language: It can never be said again that 'the Lakers have never beaten the Celtics'"—a reference to the Lakers' eight failed attempts at beating Boston in the World Championship.


The Lakers were invited to a reception at the White House with President Ronald Reagan, where Kareem Abdul-Jabbar presented the President with a jersey. The following Tuesday would be declared "Laker Day" by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley with a parade beginning at 9th and Broadway.

Team rosters

See also


External links


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