HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — As both Kevin Durant and LeBron James have reminded us all in the past three days, the NBA playoffs is a platform tailor-made for high drama and superstars willing to add to their lore.
The reigning and three-time NBA scoring champ smashes the competition with a 34-point, 14-rebound, 5-assist performance in a decisive Game 6 in the Western Conference finals, leading his team to a spot in The Finals. This a day before the three-time and reigning MVP follows that up with a historic 45-point, 15-rebounds, 5-assist showing of his own in a road Game 6 win that saved his team’s season and the chance to meet up with the scoring champ and his team in The Finals.
But Durant and James, respectively, are only following in the Hall of Fame footsteps of their elders. Guys like Magic Johnson, who 25 years ago today, delivered one of the all-time great playoff moments with a “junior sky-hook” that, on that day in 1987 during The Finals in Boston, shook the basketball world off of its feet.
For those of us lucky enough (and old enough) to remember Game 4 of The Finals that year, Magic’s homage to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s signature move never gets old. As heartbreaking as it had to be then and even now, the most dedicated Celtics fans have to admit it’s one of the greatest shots in playoff history.
Magic’s running sky-hook over three Celtics (Kevin McHale with Larry Bird and Robert Parish closing in) with three seconds to play proved to be the difference as the Lakers rallied from a 16-point deficit to snatch a 107-106 Game 4 win at Boston Garden and a 3-1 series lead.
“You expect to lose to the Lakers on a sky-hook,” Bird said afterwards. “You don’t expect it to be from Magic.”
The Lakers would go on to win the series in six games.
Check out the video and relive that Magic moment. Sorry, Celtics fans.
And who knows, we could be in for more tonight when the Heat and Celtics square off in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in Miami.