Click here to Skip to main content
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's MVP performance helped the Lakers finally top the Celtics in the NBA Finals.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images

Season review: 1984-85

Posted Mar 2 2013 10:20PM


The 1984 Draft was one for the ages, yielding future Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and John Stockton, as well as many other fine players.

Olajuwon had been chosen first by Houston, Jordan third by Chicago, Barkley fifth by Philadelphia and Stockton 16th by Utah. Their impact would be felt for years to come.

Before the season, the Clippers moved from San Diego before the season and joined the Lakers in Los Angeles, and the league began operating under a salary cap system.

During the regular season, Boston was the class of the East with 63 victories, and Bird enjoyed his best season to date, averaging 28.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game. Each member of Boston's starting five -- Bird, Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Dennis Johnson and Danny Ainge -- played in excess of 2,500 minutes during the season.

In New York, Bernard King clinched the scoring title (32.9 ppg) despite suffering a serious knee injury with 27 games left in the season.

The Lakers had endured an offseason of questions about how they had let the 1984 title slip right through their fingers. Johnson in particular seemed to use every game as a stepping stone toward a rematch with the Celtics.

L.A. won 62 games and easily dispatched Phoenix, Portland and Denver to reach The Finals. Boston had beaten Cleveland, Detroit and Philadelphia to make it a return Finals engagement.

Ex-Laker Wilt Chamberlain had two championship rings. Jerry West got his in 1972. A ring was the only honor Elgin Baylor hadn't won in the NBA. But none of the great Lakers had known the sweet bliss of beating the Boston Celtics in an NBA Finals.

Only the St. Louis Hawks of Bob Pettit in 1958 had ever beaten the Celtics in The Finals. Boston's response that time had been eight straight titles. Save for the 1958 championship, the other 15 times the Celtics had made it to The Finals, they had gone home wearing rings.

It took a team with two of the NBA's all-time greats, Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, to put the leprechauns to sleep. The Lakers won two of the three games in Boston, including the final one, Game 6. The sound of silence in Boston Garden was sweet music, indeed, for generations of the frustrated Laker faithful.


Eastern Conference first round

Boston defeated Cleveland (3-1)
Milwaukee defeated Chicago (3-1)
Philadelphia defeated Washington (3-1)
Detroit defeated New Jersey (3-1)

Western Conference first round

L.A. Lakers defeated Phoenix (3-0)
Denver defeated San Antonio (3-2)
Utah defeated Houston (3-2)
Portland defeated Dallas (3-1)

Eastern Conference semifinals

Boston defeated Detroit (4-2)
Philadelphia defeated Milwaukee (4-0)

Western Conference semifinals

L.A. Lakers defeated Portland (4-1)
Denver defeated Utah (4-1)

Eastern Conference finals

Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-1)

Western Conference finals

L.A. Lakers defeated Denver (4-1)

NBA Finals

L.A. Lakers defeated Boston (4-2)

Season leaders

PPG -- Bernard King, New York Knicks (32.9)
FG % -- James Donaldson, L.A. Clippers (.637)
FT % -- Kyle Macy, Phoenix Suns (.907)
3PT % -- Byron Scott, L.A. Lakers (.433)
Assists -- Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons (13.9)
Rebounds -- Moses Malone, Philadelphia 76ers (13.1)
Steals -- Michael Ray Richardson, New Jersey Nets (2.96)
Blocked Shots -- Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz (5.56)

Award winners

Most Valuable Player -- Video Larry Bird, Boston Celtics
Rookie of the Year -- Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
Defensive Player of the Year -- Mark Eaton, Utah Jazz
Sixth Man of the Year -- Kevin McHale, Boston Celtics
Coach of the Year -- Don Nelson, Milwaukee Bucks
All-Star Game MVP -- Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets
Finals MVP -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers

photoAll-Access: Celtics-Cavaliers Game 3
In advance of tonight's Celtics-Cavaliers game at 8:30pm ET on TNT, take a look back to Game 3 where Avery Bradley made a game winning three-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining to lift Boston over Cleveland 111-108 cutting their series deficit to 2-1.
photoWarriors Trophy Presentation
Watch the trophy ceremony and interviews with Draymond Green and Stephen Curry following Golden State's series sweep of the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
photoGameTime: Warriors Finals Talk
GameTime crew talks about the Golden State Warriors and what they have to do to take the trophy home this year.
photoWarriors React to Series Sweep Against Spurs
Mike Brown, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green react postgame following their 4-0 sweep of the Spurs.
photoSpurs React to Game 4 Loss
Gregg Popovich and Manu Ginobili talk postgame following the Spurs loss in Game 4 against the Warriors.

Copyright © NBA Media Ventures, LLC. All rights reserved. No portion of may be duplicated, redistributed or manipulated in any form. By accessing any information beyond this page, you agree to abide by the Privacy Policy / Your California Privacy Rights and Terms of Use. | Ad Choices Ad Choices is part of Turner Sports Digital, part of the Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network.