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Boston Sucks or Beat LA! For the 12th Time in NBA History a Familiar Chant Comes to Town

Jun 15, 2010 by Rick Ray

The Celtics have seventeen; the Lakers have fifteen – championship banners that hang from each sports franchise’s hallowed rafters. The two teams make up for 32 of the 63 championships in NBA history. An unheard of sports statistic: fifty percent of the time either the Boston green or the Los Angeles purple have taken home the golden trophy as the final seconds ticked off the clock of the NBA finals. Sometime this week one of these two teams will add another title to its ceiling collection of waving flags. The impassioned fans of LA or Boston will gladly tell you it’s going to be “their” team to seize the league’s grand prize. This is the team’s fifth meeting in the finals since Magic Johnson and Larry Bird revitalized this storied rivalry back in 1984. Since that historic first meeting of the most famous players to ever wear their teams jerseys (Magic and Bird), the two franchises are tied at two championships a piece against one another. The Celtics captured the crown in ’84 and ’08 while the Lakers celebrated in ’85 and ’87.

In 2010 who will tip the scale with three out of five titles (over the last 26 years) versus each other – Boston or LA?

The Celtics dominated the Lakers throughout the 1960’s, as Jerry West watched his Los Angeles team outmatched and out-hustled to Bill Russell and the Celtics six times in the finals during the decade. It would be later known as the Celtic’s curse or jinx upon the Lakers – as Boston’s 8-0 record against Los Angeles for the championship would last for twenty five long years—from years 1959 – 1984.

Magic Johnson as the designated team leader of the Lakers finally found a way to dispel the Celtics and their lucky leprechauns in the 1985 season. Los Angeles put to rest all disbelievers by convincingly defeating Larry Bird and the Celtics in six games for the NBA title. With their resounding Championship victory, not only did the Lakers lift the Celtics hold over them, but by doing so as the only team in history to win it on the Boston Garden parquet floor. It was a clear message that times had changed.

The Lakers – Celtics would meet up one more time in the 1980’s, for the 1987 NBA finals, and Magic and his Lakers would once again seize the day and the championship.

It wouldn’t be until twenty one years later in the 2008 NBA finals that the Celtics and Lakers match-up would yet again come to fruition. All new faces took center stage as LA’s Kobe Bryant and Boston’s Kevin Garnett would lead their teams into battle. The Boston Celtics and their lucky three leaf clover wearing leprechauns would dominate and crush the Los Angeles Lakers, winning the series and the final game by a demoralizing margin of 39 points. This painful loss to Boston left a very unsavory taste in the Laker’s mouths – especially Kobe Bryant, who had been waiting for a chance to return to the finals against Boston to avenge himself and his team.

Now, two years later Kobe and his Laker teammates are once again near the tail end of this celebrated rivalry – with two games left as both games 6 and 7 will be played here in Los Angeles. Yet the Celtic mystique has arisen again, as mighty Boston has a 3-2 series lead with Sunday’s hard fought 92-86 victory over LA at the TD Garden. Coming into this finals series, Kevin Garnett’s Celtics were the underdogs as the Lakers have home court advantage and the best clutch player in the game – Kobe Bryant, also known as “The Black Mamba,” due to his uncanny talent for taking the life out of opponents by striking them with a barrage of unstoppable shots.

The stage is set. Boston is up 3-2 and the last two games for the Championship will be played in Los Angeles. The NBA, the fans and the Lakers are eagerly praying and hoping for a game 7 showdown at the Staples Center this Thursday night. First LA must take care of business in game 6 this Tuesday evening to tie the series at 3-3. Boston is not going to roll over and play dead though, as they know the odds of them taking the sixth game are much greater than a win for them in a deciding game seven – in Los Angeles.

It’s high drama for the NBA and basketball fans worldwide – but especially so for the frenzied fans of LA and Boston who love championships but even more so at the expense of the other’s franchise. Here in the streets of Los Angeles, come June time, summer is not the only thing Angelino’s look forward to when the Lakers are vying for another title. Cities like Boston and Los Angeles are so accustomed to basketball success and championships that anything less than that is considered a failure and disappointment. Lakers hysteria is in full swing and right on time. The fans here know better than anywhere else that the extra spark and energy they as Lakers faithful put out can be the difference in a tight series. This is as close as it gets and the Boston Celtics and their fans would love nothing more than to steal the title on our (LA’s) home court and in the process strip us of our pride as well.

With a few games left and everything on the line, LA fans will be displaying their Lakers pride and love more than ever. You can see it and feel it in the streets – as thousands of cars sport Lakers flags and logos, people bring out their purple and gold clothes and sneakers signifying it’s time for another championship celebration and parade in the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Loyal fans crowd around televisions, drinking at their local sports bars, watching as the NBA finals drama unfolds – and in this game there’s no prize for 2nd place!

Basketball is a way of life in Los Angeles and for Southern California. Our city, as well as Boston’s, throughout each other’s history has been blessed with some of the best players and dynasty’s the NBA has ever seen. Another chapter is about to be revealed and closed in this enduring sports legacy – between two relentless rivals, between two relentless cities.

I always believed in “Magic,” and nowadays Kobe (Let’s not forget about Shaq’s role during the first three championships), and his killer instincts on the court have helped bring four titles to the city of LA over the past decade. Nonetheless now the Celtics have the upper-hand and are one win away from adding an 18th championship to their long list of memorable wins.

Can the Lakers win two in a row, protect their home court and take home their 16th title in an epic “do or die” game seven?

As Kobe Bryant put it subtly with laser-like intensity to a reporter who asked him if revenge was on his mind during an earlier match up in this year’s playoffs – “What do you think?!”

Does “Boston Suck” as LA fans often shout out or is Boston’s follower’s mantra of “Beat LA” a more befitting slogan to sum up the 2010 NBA finals?

UPDATE:

The Lakers squad showed up on both ends of the court tonight, for a must win situation in game 6. Los Angeles’s smothering defense held the Celtic’s unit to one of the lowest scoring outputs in NBA finals history for just 67 points.

The defending champs roll-over the Celtics for a 89-67 impressive win – extending this ultimate rivalry to a game seven.

Game 7 is this Thursday night at the Staples Center @ 9PM Eastern and 6PM Pacific standard time on ABC, the home of the NBA Finals.

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11 Responses to “Boston Sucks or Beat LA! For the 12th Time in NBA History a Familiar Chant Comes to Town”

  1. Tom Jones says:

    Rick, great story and nice prose to describe what only those living in either L.A. or Boston really understand. Your writing has a a lot of emotional pull for all to feel why certain things are the way they are.

    That being said—Go Lakers!

    Kudos.

    [Reply]

    Rick Ray Reply:

    Game 7…coming soon…!

    [Reply]

  2. Salley Yazlyan says:

    Wow I learned a lot just reading this article. I didn’t even know this war was going on since like the 80s. Great job Rick. =)

    [Reply]

    Rick Ray Reply:

    Since the 1960’s…And as long as there’s the NBA, probably for all time this rivalry will continue to flourish.

    [Reply]

  3. karla says:

    Awesome article Rick! Reading this made me appreciate the rivalry between both teams that’s been going on for several decades. I bet you the great kings of Magic and Bird are enjoying these games as they sit back and watch the freshly new princes of Kobe and Garnett. It’s no wonder I felt more passion, excitement, and drama from the players on the court along with the dedicated fans on their side. I am excited to see game 7! Whoever does win this championship deserves it as it will add history all over the NBA community. I do have one question though, how come the players stop wearing those basketball shorts from back in the days? I’m just saying lol

    [Reply]

    Rick Ray Reply:

    Hey Karla,

    Tonight may be the biggest Finals game 7 in the last couple of decades. I’m sure Magic and Bird are rooting inside for their old ball-clubs. And as far as the short-shorts are concerned you can thank Michael Jordan for the baggier-looser fit you see nowadays – he started that way back in the late 80’s – early 90’s.

    [Reply]

  4. Hai T. Lam says:

    Good job, Rick. You really did your research.

    [Reply]

    Rick Ray Reply:

    Hai,

    Thanks and enjoy the game tonight!

    [Reply]

  5. Doug McBride says:

    Nice article Rick! Let’s hope that game 7 will be the best match up of another great series between these two teams. I’m hoping that the best team wins. But then again, I’m also hoping that the Lakers prove they are the best team with a nice shot at the buzzer!

    [Reply]

    Rick Ray Reply:

    Doug,

    I think tonight will be an all out battle for all the marbles. I feel sometimes it’s not necessarily the better team who wins a deciding game but the team who really wants it – more!

    Prediction: Laker’s take it. Kobe = MVP

    And as far as buzzer beaters – if there is one, let’s hope it’s us draining one or the Celtics missing one!

    [Reply]

  6. austin collie injury says:

    Rick, great story and nice prose to describe what only those living in either L.A. or Boston really understand. Your writing has a a lot of emotional pull for all to feel why certain things are the way they are.

    That being said—Go Lakers!

    Kudos.

    [Reply]

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