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Highlights of the greatest Finals

June 2, 2010

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1962
■Elgin Baylor scores 61 points and grabs 22 rebounds at the Boston Garden during a 126-121 Lakers Game 5 victory.

■Frank Selvy misses corner shot that would have won Game 7 in regulation. Bill Russell scores career playoff-high 30 points, to go with 40 rebounds, as Celtics win, 110-107, in OT. Says Russell of his rebound total, “Heck, I should have had 60.’’

1963
■Playing his final game, Bob Cousy limps back onto the court after spraining his ankle to provide needed floor leadership in a 112-109 Game 6 Celtics victory that clinched the series.

1965
■Already leading by 16 entering the final period of clinching Game 5, the Celtics score 20 straight points in a 129-96 triumph for championship No. 8, and seventh in succession. Russell has 22 points and 30 rebounds. Says the Globe’s Bud Collins: “The turning point came early: October 17, 1964, when the Celtics showed up for another season. The decision of Auerbach, Russell, Jones & Co. to resume business wiped out the competition then and there, although we had to wait 191 days to get the details.’’

1966
■Celtics survive scary ending — people crowding the court, liquids spilling on the playing surface, general chaos — before nailing down 95-93 decision in Game 7 to cap Red Auerbach’s coaching career. “I’ve fulfilled my life in basketball,’’ Auerbach says. Russell has 25 points and 32 rebounds. Sound familiar?

1969
■Sam Jones’s last-second jumper wins Game 4 to tie the series. Sam says he wanted to put the shot on the rim in the hopes that Russell would get the rebound, which would have been a great story since coach Russell had removed player Russell from the game in order to have another shooter on the floor.

■Celtics win Game 7 in the Forum, 108-106, the final basket a Don Nelson jumper that hits the back rim, bounds several feet in the air, and comes down through the net. “The luckiest shot I’ve ever made in my life,’’ Nellie says. Balloons fastened to the ceiling to create festive air once Lakers win their expected championship are not needed.

1984
■Gerald Henderson steals James Worthy pass with 13 seconds to go and scores a layup to create an overtime in Game 2, with the Celtics winning, 124-121, on a Scott Wedman jumper.

■With the Celtics trailing in the series, 2-1, and also behind, 76-70, in the third quarter of Game 4, Kevin McHale sends Kurt Rambis to the floor on a fast break. Momentum and attitude shift leads to a 129-125 Celtics OT victory as Larry Bird has 29 points and 21 rebounds.

■Thanks to a June heat wave, the Game 5 tipoff temperature at the un-air conditioned Garden is 97 degrees. With the Lakers gasping and wheezing, Bird shoots 15 for 20, scoring 34 points and grabbing 17 rebounds, as the Celtics win, 121-103, to take command of the last 2-2-1-1-1 Finals.

■Cedric Maxwell addresses the troops before Game 7, saying, “Well, boys, one more time. Just hop on my back and I’ll take you on it.’’ He scores 24 as Celtics secure title No. 15 by a 111-102 score. “I’ve always been a big-game player, and tonight was a big game,’’ he explains.

1985
■Game 1: Celtics annihilate Lakers, 148-114, in what becomes known as the “Memorial Day Massacre.’’ Wedman comes off the bench to shoot 11 for 11.

■A brooding Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scores 30 points and grabs 17 rebounds — matching his high game of the previous 10 years — as inspired Lakers even series at 1-1.

■Abdul-Jabbar leads Lakers to a 111-100 Game 6 victory. It’s the first time the Lakers have beaten the Celtics in a series, and it makes Kareem series MVP at 38.

1987
■With his team leading the series, 2-1, Magic Johnson trumps his buddy, Bird, who has just hit a go-ahead corner three, by swishing a 13-foot running hook over McHale and Robert Parish to give the Lakers a 107-106 victory and a 3-1 series edge. Magic labels his winner “a junior, junior sky hook.’’

■Lakers bust open Game 6 with a 30-12 third quarter, highlighted by a spectacular Worthy hustle play at midcourt. Lakers win title with a 106-93 victory.

2008
■ In Game 4 in LA, Celtics come from 24 down in third quarter to win, 97-91, the final key blow a James Posey 3-pointer that makes it 92-87 with 1:13 remaining. The Celtics outscore LA, 21-3, in the final 6:04 of the pivotal third quarter.

■Celtics win 17th championship by an embarrassing 131-92 score. The Celtics are ahead, 58-38, at the half. “The last two minutes of the second period buried the team emotionally,’’ said Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

BOB RYAN

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