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Category: Lakers-Celtics Finals history

NBA TV to air memorable Lakers playoff games

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird With nearly a month gone by since the NBA began its lockout, it appears the general public has nearly completed phase one of its reaction to the work stoppage.

That's the hand-wringing about who's to blame for this situation, the billionaire owners, the millionaire players or both. It's involved discussing whether NBA players will eventually take their talents overseas and if that's a necessary negotiating move or a needlessly risky gamble with their bodies. And it's included, at least in this corner of the blogosphere, going over nearly every story line entering the 2011-2012 season, assuming there is one.

Now we've entered phase two, in which the lack of summer-league play and the possibility of a lost season have spurred many to watch old NBA games.

Many this weekend clamored to find video featuring the likes of Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose balling in an exhibition game. Others are headed to Washington Park each week to check out the Drew League, which sparked a surprise appearance last weekend by LeBron James. Others of us are watching and rewatch classic NBA games, hoping this will somehow make us forget that the current season is on hiatus. 

Tuesday marks one of those days, as NBA TV will air Game 6 of the Lakers-Sixers 1980 NBA Finals series at 9 a.m., Game 4 of the Lakers-Celtics 1987 NBA Finals series at 10:30 a.m. and Game 5 of the Lakers-Warriors Western Conference semifinal series at 12:30 p.m. Below is a look at some of the memorable moments surrounding those games.

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Magic Johnson and Brian Shaw discuss the Lakers at Trousdale Lounge party

Former Laker Magic Johnson, now a minority owner of the team, hosted a Lakers celebration party Monday at Trousdale Lounge in West Hollywood, and I managed an invite as well as scores of interviews with numerous celebrities. I'm on my way to exit interviews for most of the day, so the interviews from the party will have to wait. But interviews with Johnson and current Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw seemed too timely since part of our conversation entailed Phil Jackson's coaching future with the Lakers. (Kudos to business reporter Nathan Olivarez-Giles, who helped with shooting video).

Among the highlights from Johnson:

-- What it means for the Lakers to beat the Celtics in the NBA Finals

-- What a fifth ring, particularly against the Celtics, means for Kobe Bryant's legacy

-- Whether Jackson and/or Lakers owner Jerry Buss have followed up on Johnson's offer -- outlined to The Times' Mike Bresnahan -- that entails Johnson paying part of Jackson's salary out his own pocket.

Among the highlights from Shaw:

-- Memorable moments from this year's parade and seasons past

-- His take on Jackson's coaching future

-- Mark Medina
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Lakers' 2008 Finals loss to Boston rekindles bitter memories


The Lakers had largely stayed silent on their obvious desire to play the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, despite the excitement built apparently everywhere else. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said, "I have zero reaction to that," when a reporter relayed to him that fans at Staples Center chanted "We Want Boston" as early as when the Lakers held a 1-0 lead over Phoenix in the Western Conference finals. Bryant's teammates shrugged off the scenario, reiterating over and over that the only colors they're thinking about are purple and orange as they played the Phoenix Suns in the conference finals. The only exception belonged to Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who acknowledged during the Suns series on two separate occasions his high excitement level for the likelihood the Lakers would square off with the Celtics in the Finals.

The Lakers no longer have to play the diplomatic route anymore. In what will be the 12th Finals featuring the teams, the Lakers and Celtics matchup beginning Thursday will rekindle stories over the rivalry's history, including here at the L.A. Times Lakers blog where I plan to feature each day one of the Celtics-Lakers Finals matchups. That begins tonight where I'm highlighting the Lakers' most recent Finals loss to Boston in 2008, an outcome that remains fresh on the Lakers' minds.

The Lakers' makeup have changed since that loss. Bynum will actually play this series, with the torn cartilage in his right knee not enough to sideline him like the dislocated left knee cap did in the 2008 Finals. The team's defensive toughness improved, particularly with the off-season addition of Ron Artest worth $33 million over five years. And the team has a more consistent and aggressive post presence with Gasol and Odom, though Odom has been more prone to off nights than Gasol.

I plan to capture each series in chronological order, but since motivation from the 2008 Finals will have the most impact, I'll start there first. I detail after the jump why the Lakers fell apart two years ago in six games, an outcome that will surely serve as a teachable moment as the Lakers aim for a second consecutive championship and redeem themselves against Boston.

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