Before the start of this year's NBA finals, many have noted the similarities between the 2014 Miami Heat-San Antonio Spurs series and the 1984 finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. A few days ago on Reddit, a much-discussed topic stated:
In 1984, the Celtics and Lakers did battle in that year's NBA Finals. The Celtics were 62-20 during the regular season while the Lakers were 54-28. The NBA welcomed a new commissioner in David Stern, replacing Larry O'Brien on April 1, 1984. The Finals that season was also the last time the Finals used the 2-2-1-1-1 format before going to the 2-3-2 format in 1985.
In 2014, the Spurs and Heat will do battle in this year's NBA Finals. The Spurs were 62-20 during the regular season and the Heat were 54-28. The NBA welcomed a new commissioner in Adam Silver on February 1, replacing David Stern. This Finals will be, for the first time since 1984, using the 2-2-1-1-1 format.
After last night's game 1, we have found that the similarities don't end there. Both series had a "heat" game that was played in extreme temperatures (although it came in game 5 in 1984, and game 1 in 2014).
Big Heat in SA reminds us of '84 Game 5 with no AC game time Garden temp at 97 and Bird going for 34 and 17 and 15-for-20 from the floor.
— Bob Ryan (@GlobeBobRyan) June 6, 2014
The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan jumped on Twitter this morning to compare the two games, and further elaborated in his comparison in a must-watch video for any Celtics fan who would like to vividly recall the days when Larry Bird graced the parquet floors of the old Boston Garden.
Bob Ryan recalls:
Game 4 in Los Angeles had been an epic - truly one of the great games in Celtics playoff history - and now the teams were arriving at Logan Airport late on a Thursday afternoon to find a very different Boston than the one they had left five days earlier. For Boston was in the grip of a heat wave. We're talking high 90s with accompanying East Coast humidity. Logan Airport was chaotic. There were cars and taxis everywhere. There were people sweating, babies crying, miserable, angry, and frustrated people all over. If you ever saw "The Year of Living Dangerously," you know what I'm talking about.
On game day, it was 97 degrees in the un-air conditioned old Boston Garden. Ryan describes the crowd being scantily dressed, but also embracing the conditions and turning it into a positive for the Celtics. On the other hand, the Lakers didn't fare as well, and brought along an oxygen tank for their players:
The Lakers did not like it, and Kareem disliked it most of all. He was 37, and fairly cranky to begin with, and playing a Finals game in 97-degree heat was not his idea of fun. He would shoot 7 for 25 and wind up sucking on oxygen (honest).
"Who's out there acting like there is nothing wrong with this at all?" Asks Ryan. "Larry Bird." Bird had an amazing night, scoring 34 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, going 15-for-20 from the floor, and said after the game:
"I play in this stuff all the time back home, " sneered Larry Bird. "It's like this all summer."
Fast-forward to present day and game 1 of the 2014 NBA finals. Ryan points out in his video that "if (the cramping) happened to LeBron 20 years ago, there would be hardly any conversation, it would be taken for granted that the cramps bothered him, but in the age of social media, and talk radio, and talk shows on the TV, there is no chance for anyone to escape. I'm sure it will hurt (LeBron's) reputation, and it's poppycock."
It's definitely a different age than the 80s, not just because of social media, but also because we take for granted things like having an air conditioned arena. Last night's air conditioning issue will probably be an isolated incident for the 2014 finals, but for those who played in arenas like the old Boston Garden, not having climate control was the norm. Makes you wonder if certain players today could have been as successful if they played 30 years ago.
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