Greatest Moments in NBA Finals History: Junior Skyhook

The 1987 NBA Finals signaled an end of an era. The 1980's seemed like every NBA Finals matchup featured the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, although in reality the two teams met only three times in the decade. However this would be the final time of the Showtime era. 


With the Lakers up two games to one, Boston had a chance to even the series at home in Game 4.  The Celtics rolled out to a 16-point halftime lead, but the Lakers refused to go away and cut the lead to eight points with three minutes left eventually getting down to a 103-102 deficit with 30 seconds to play. A pick-and-roll from Magic Johnson to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put Los Angeles in front, but Larry Bird responded with a three-pointer to put Boston back on top 106-104 with 12 seconds left. After being fouled on the next possession, Abdul-Jabbar made the first free-throw and missed the second, but the rebound squirted out of bounds off Boston.


The Lakers maintained possession with seven seconds remaining, and all eyes were on Earvin "Magic" Johnson.  Magic took the inbounds pass, hesitating briefly before driving into the middle of the lane.  Just as the Celtics' Kevin McHale and Robert Parish converged on him, he launched a rainbow hook over the two, catching nothing but nylon with two seconds left to give the Lakers the one-point edge. The shot ultimately helped the Lakers seal a 107-106 victory. Los Angeles would go on to wrap up the title in six games, and Johnson was named the NBA Finals most valuable player.


Afterwards, Johnson labeled the shot "my junior, junior sky-hook," after Abdul-Jabbar's favorite weapon.


"You expect to lose to the Lakers on a sky-hook," noted Bird. "You don't expect it to be from Magic."


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