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Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs
Box art
Developer(s) Electronic Arts
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Sega Mega Drive/Genesis
Release date(s) 1989
Genre(s) Sports
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer

Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs was a video game released first in 1989 for MS-DOS-compatible PCs and later adapted for consoles when released in early 1991 for the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis. The game was highly successful; it was the first game endorsed by the NBA and was the first to contain multiple NBA stars and teams in one game. As the title suggested, the game was launched due to the success of the 1980s Lakers–Celtics rivalry. Established stars you can play in the game are Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Patrick Ewing.


Play mode

The game could be played in various ways: players could play against each other, or against the computer. Games against the computer were divided into two modalities, "exhibition" or "playoffs". There are also three difficulty levels: Pre-season, Regular season, Playoffs and Showtime. Games could be configured for 2, 5, 8 or 12 minute quarters.


Players could pick from one of the eight teams that had gone to the playoffs in the NBA the year before the game was released. The MS-DOS version contained the playoff teams from the 1988-89 season, while the SEGA Genesis version contained the playoff teams from the 1989-90 season.

MS-DOS version:

East West
Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns
Detroit Pistons Seattle Supersonics
New York Knicks Utah Jazz

SEGA Genesis version:

East West
Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns
Detroit Pistons Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers San Antonio Spurs

Both conferences' All-Star Teams were available as well.


  • The game would be the first "team" basketball video game to acquire full players names and rights without actually relying on the NBA players association.
  • It was also the first team basketball game to have signature moves for the individual star players.
  • It was the first game to feature half time shows and announcers to simulate the authentic feel.
  • This was also the only game to feature in-house Electronic Arts music during gameplay instead of the generic audience cheers.
  • First to feature TV style starting line up prior to the game.
  • Many of the signature moves were inserted without players consent. Moves such as Charles Barkley's gorilla dunk drew controversy and would affect the future of signatures moves and the marketing of the moves for future basketball games. A notable signature move is an unstoppable dunk by Tom Chambers which starts from the elbow.
  • This game is one of very few to have Michael Jordan playable in the Bulls' roster due to his expensive contract rights.

Related games

External links

Preceded by
EA Sports basketball series
Lakers versus Celtics
Succeeded by
Bulls vs. Lakers


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