Why Larry Bird claimed that the LA Lakers weren’t the biggest rivals of the Boston Celtics – “Nothing was b

Why Larry Bird claimed that the LA Lakers weren’t the biggest rivals of the Boston Celtics – “Nothing was better than those Philly games”

Throughout the 1980s, either the Boston Celtics or the LA Lakers appeared in the NBA Finals, creating monumental matchups brimming with bad blood and heated intensity, especially in the three consecutive years they faced each other in the NBA Finals.

Moreover, with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson – the two biggest stars leading respective sides, these showdowns captivated every basketball fan. However, for the Indiana native, the Purple and Gold were not their biggest rivals; instead, it was the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bird on Boston’s matchups with Philly

Magic and Bird’s rivalry and competitive spirit were so intense that both players confessed to closely monitoring each other’s performance.

Johnson made it a point to mark the matchups against the Boston Celtics on his calendar each season. He claimed that if Larry Legend snacked 20 rebounds, he was determined to rack up 20 assists. Similarly, even Bird prioritized outperforming the Lakers guard individually.

The first thing I would do every morning during the season,” Bird said“Look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn’t care about anything else.”

While it’s safe to say that the two-time Finals MVP kept a close eye on his biggest individual rival, he surprisingly admitted that the Sixers were the biggest rivals for his Celtics during his playing days.

“LA was great, especially in a seven-game series,” Bird said“But to me, nothing was better than those Philly games when I first started out.”

Celtics vs 76ers was very competitive 

Despite never meeting the 76ers in the NBA Finals, the Celtics faced them more frequently in the regular season than they did the Lakers. The intensity of the matchups between Boston and Philly wasn’t limited to just the regular or postseason; even in preseason games, players battled fiercely to outdo each other.

In 1983, when punches were thrown just four minutes into the game, prompting Red Auerbach to confront Moses Malone or Bird’s infamous fight with Julius Erving in 1984, there was no holding back.

In addition, the Celtics and 76ers faced off four times in six seasons in the Eastern Conference Finals, with both teams claiming victory in two of those series, each lasting at least five games. As Larry astutely pointed out, this stat alone underscores the intense rivalry between the two teams.

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