The 1986 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1985–86 NBA season ….which pitted the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics against the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets in a rematch of the 1981 Finals….where only Allen Leavell and Robert Reid remained from the Rockets’ 1981 team. The Celtics defeated the Rockets four games to two to win their 16th NBA championship. The championship would be the Celtics’ last until the 2008 NBA Finals….as Larry Bird was named the Finals MVP.
As a side note….this series marked the first time the “NBA Finals” branding was officially used….as they dropped the “NBA World Championship Series” branding which had been in use since the beginning of the league….though it had been unofficially called the “NBA Finals” for years.
CBS Sports used their lead NBA broadcast team of Dick Stockton and Tom Heinsohn as the play-by-play man and color commentator respectively….while Brent Musburger was the host and Pat O’Brien was on the Rockets’ sideline and Lesley Visser was on the Celtics’ sideline as reporters. Game 2 was played on May 29, 1986 at Boston Gardens…. as the Celtics were the winners by a score of 117 – 95….with the Celtics being led in points scored and rebounds by Larry Bird with 31 and 8….as Akeem Olajuwon lead the Rockets with 21 and 10….as Bird also led in assists with 7.
Like in Game 1 of this series….the third quarter again proved decisive for the Celtics….who outscored the Rockets 34-19 in the quarter….after the Rockets “Twin Towers” in Ralph Sampson and Olajuwon combined for 32 points in the first half….but only seven in the second. Larry Bird paced the Celtics with 31 points on 12-for-19 shooting, while Kevin McHale added 25 in another Boston rout. It was Boston’s 40th consecutive victory at home, regular season and playoffs combined.
Any way you cut the pie….this flash from the glorious past is must see TV.