For his career, Danny Ainge has been known for wearing a Boston Celtics hat everywhere. But when the team announced that it was moving to the Brooklyn Nets in 2013, he had to incorporate some new gear into his wardrobe.
Danny Ainge had a stethoscope. Danny Ainge was the general manager of the Boston Celtics during the 2008-2009 season.
The NBA Finals of 1984 had it all. The Boston Celtics faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the championship round, putting Larry Bird against Magic Johnson for the first time. In a dramatic seven-game series, there was mistrust and foul play. Bird stated the decisive Game 7 was the craziest warmup he’d ever seen eight years later.
In the 1984 NBA Finals, Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.
On May 31, 1984, Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics and Michael Cooper of the Los Angeles Lakers are photographed during Game 2 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Boston Garden. | Getty Images/John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe
In 1984, the Celtics had no business winning the NBA championship. After a 115-109 win in the series opener, the Lakers headed into the Boston Garden and snatched home court. In Game 2, Boston was on the verge of losing until Gerald Henderson’s game-saving steal.
With 18 seconds remaining in the game and the Celtics down two, the Lakers decided to milk the clock and prepare for some aggressive Celtics fouls. Henderson jumped in and intercepted a pass meant for Byron Scott, allowing him to drive in for a game-tying basket. The Celtics triumphed in overtime when the Lakers were unable to get a shot off in the last 13 seconds.
In Game 3, the Lakers delivered a statement by defeating the Celtics 137-104 in Los Angeles. They had a 76-70 advantage in Game 4 and were on their way to a 3-1 series lead, but the Celtics went tough — and maybe dirty.
Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis, who was heading in for a layup, a day after Bird dubbed his team “sissies” for their soft play in Game 3. Both benches were emptied, putting an end to the game and LA’s momentum. With a 129-125 win, the Celtics evened the series.
The series lasted seven games, with Boston winning 111-102 at home in the series finale.
According to Larry Bird, Game 7 featured the oddest pregame of his career.
Bird questioned his team’s commitment, particularly after his “sissies” remark in Game 3. According to Sports Illustrated, when asked what it would take to alter things, Bird joked, “Twelve heart transplants.”
According to CBS, Game 5 was the legendary heat game, with game-time temperatures reaching 97 degrees. At the old Boston Garden, there was no air conditioning. The Lakers carried their own oxygen supply. It was strange, said to LA coach Pat Riley.
Riley noted in a 1992 SI story, “It was the most strange game of my career.” “Surreal. That was the one time I felt like I was in hell.”
The heat didn’t bother Bird at all.
“What’s the big deal?” says the narrator. Bird stated after leading Boston to victory with 34 points and 17 rebounds. “Back home in the summer, we used to play in similar situations.” “All the heat did was loosen me up.”
Bird said he never saw a stranger preparing for the winner-take-all battle in Game 7.
“It was the oddest pregame I’ve ever seen,” Bird remarked. “M.L. Carr was wearing goggles as he walked about. Danny Ainge was equipped with a stethoscope. He approached each of us, checking to see whether we had a heart. ‘Jump on my back, lads,’ Cedric Maxwell just exclaimed. It’s my time to speak.’ We were having a great time. I believe Red (Auerbach) would have murdered us if we had lost.”
The Celtics won Game 7 and, in the process, managed to steal the series.
Maxwell kept his word in the championship game, however he subsequently confessed that he never said “jump on my back.”
In 2008, Maxwell told The Boston Herald, “You may say ‘get on my back,’ but what I really said was an X-rated version.” “The ‘climb on my back, lads’ bit didn’t quite go as planned. It was a legend.
“Everyone was talking about it at the time, but all I cared about was coming out and playing a fantastic game.” I had previously been named MVP of the playoffs. In order for us to be successful, I felt like I needed to have a great game against James Worthy.”
With 24 points, Maxwell led the Celtics. In addition, he grabbed eight rebounds.
Bird ended with 20 points and 12 rebounds, but his shooting labored. From the floor, he made six of his 18 tries. Despite his poor performance in Game 7, he was chosen MVP of the Finals.
In the series, he averaged 27 points and 14 rebounds while also putting Ainge’s stethoscope to the test.
‘We didn’t know who was watching,’ the Los Angeles Lakers said of the Boston Celtics during the 1984 NBA Finals.
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