1980sBasketballBoston CelticsBrent MusburgerCBSCoach K. C. JonesCoach Pat RileyDennis JohnsonDick StocktonHighlightsJames BrownJames WorthyKareem Abdule JabbarLarry BirdLos Angeles LakersNBANBA FinalsNBA Hall of FamePregame ShowsRobert ParrishTom HeinsohnVideos

NBA – 1987 – Finals Game 1 Celtics Vs Lakers PreGame Show – With Brent Musburger + Tom Heinsohn

Thanks to the 1984 trade of Gerald Henderson and the subsequent fall of the Seattle SuperSonics at the end of 1985–86….the Celtics were not only the best team in the NBA….but also owned the 2nd pick in the 1986 NBA Draft…..when they chose Maryland forward Len Bias with the pick….and had high hopes that the presence of the young star would ensure that the franchise would remain a powerhouse after Bird, McHale, and Parish retired. Unfortunately, Bias died 48 hours after being drafted, after using cocaine at a party and overdosing.  

The Celtics finished the regular season with a 59–23 record….which was best in the Eastern Conference….but despite retaining the core of the team that won the championship a year earlier….Boston endured numerous injuries to its roster. Their bench, an asset of the previous year’s team, was decimated by injuries to Scott Wedman and Bill Walton….thus, with limited options, head coach K. C. Jones was forced to give his starting five of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge extended minutes….as the lengthy playing time took its toll on the players’ health….and by the start of the playoffs, the Celtics were a roster full of walking wounded…..then, after sweeping the Chicago Bulls in the first round….the Celtics were pushed to a Game 7 in the next two rounds by the Milwaukee Bucks and the Detroit Pistons….only to advance each time…..but still coming into the finals against the Lakers….the Celtics’ health was a huge question mark.

The Lakers finished the regular season with a league-best 65–17 record….as head coach Pat Riley made a strategical move shifting the offensive focus to Magic Johnson. The Lakers then acquired center Mychal Thompson via trade midway through the season….as both moves helped alleviate the load off of the aging Kareem Abdul-Jabbar….who turned 40 during the playoffs….plus, A. C. Greene placed Kurt Rambis in the starting lineup.

The Lakers’ path to the Finals proved to be smoother…..as they swept the Denver Nuggets in the first round….defeated the Golden State Warriors in five games during the second round….and swept the Seattle SuperSonics in the conference finals. So, coming into the 1987 NBA Finals…..the Los Angeles Lakers were a healthy with a “deep bench”….while the Celts were a “walking wounded” team of epic proportions.

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