For our second edition of historic box scores, we’ll take a look back at Magic Johnson’s legendary performance against the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1980 NBA Finals.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar–the Lakers’ leading scorer and rebounder at the time–badly injured his ankle during Game 5 of the Finals. Although he returned to the game to score 14 points in the fourth quarter and lead the Lakers to a close victory, he simply couldn’t go in the potential championship-clinching Game 6.
That set the stage for then-rookie Magic Johnson, who shifted his role from playing point guard to starting at center.
Not only did he start at center, but he ended up playing all five positions!
In one of his greatest performances–and certainly, his most memorable–Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the 1980 NBA championship by putting up 42 points, pulling down 15 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists.
Although Magic was the star of the show, he still credits Jamaal Wilkes’ 37 points for being equally as important.
However, the amazing performance solidified Magic as the 1980 Finals MVP; Magic is still the only player to win the award in his rookie season and is also the youngest player ever to win the award, as he was just 20 years old at the time.
Unfortunately, the only stats that show up in the box score from basketball-reference.com are points, field goals made, and free throw attempts and makes. Nonetheless, it is a performance that will certainly go down in NBA history as one of the absolute best, and Lakers fans should be proud of the legendary performance.
The 33rd anniversary of the performance took place just last week as the game was played on May 16, 1980.
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