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Old 06-23-2014, 08:45 PM   #16
Artillery
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

1987 Lakers probably had the weakest run to a Finals in NBA history.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psileas
The info on 1980 Magic is wrong. He faced the Sonics, who went 56-26 (and won in 5).

Conference strength is not necessarily ignored, but what can't be ignored either is what "forced" you to stop in 1988, while you covered almost all of Magic's career. Magic still swept 55 win Phoenix in '89, beat 63 win Portland without HCA and while you may argue that (for various reasons) he didn't win another title, neither did Bird in his last years (also for various reasons) while facing inferior teams compared to his prime seasons.
As for the other below 50 win opponents, the 1981 Rockets obviously weren't the most powerful Western team based on R.S wins, just the ones that beat the Lakers (Magic, having missed more than half the season, had arguably his worst series), for 1984 you have a point, in 1987, the Sonics upset the 55 win Mavs (this upset has been historically forgotten). Which brings us to the question: If we are to "discredit" a team like the Sonics who only won 40, but beat a 55-win team and the '81 Rockets, are we to do the same for 2 of the 5 Celtics' opponents in the Finals (both Rockets teams)? Based on records, neither had been powerhouses and, ironically, their 3rd title also came against a team that had a below their standards regular season, while they lost both Finals when the opponent had won 60+ games.
1) Thanks for the correction, fixed.

2) Are Bird 80-88 and Magic 80-88 relatively similar then, in your opinion?

3) 81 perhaps doesn't warrant inclusion due to strange circumstances (and in general, those mini series are super high variance).

4) I'm not trying to discredit so much, rather I'm trying to supply some baseline context. I do agree with you that the two Houston teams were weaker Finals opponents than the Lakers would face. But in order to get there, Boston did have to beat at least one very good team (Sixers, Bucks, and later on Detroit), and in some cases two.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:47 PM   #18
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by navy
Well it isnt really revisionist history. Magic shouldnt be brought down because Bird was no longer himself. I personally think Bird gets a huge boost because of how good his peak play was.
Just wondering:

1) How close would you say the players would be if both their careers ended in 88?

2) How much do you feel Magic's play in 89-91 improved his legacy?
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Bird and Magic would've been 2-2 H2H in the Finals had the Lakers not been knocked off by Houston in '86 (4-1) though that would've been a fifth consecutive Finals appearance which is quite a lot to ask looking at Boston in 1988. Hell, even the year before that they had to overcome absolute warfare in back-to-back seven game series against Milwaukee and Detroit with some legendary heroics from Bird and went limping into the Finals with nothing left in the tank.

Prior to his deterioration, Bird also held a 3-1 advantage over Magic in MVP's. He evened the score in sort of a peculiar way though considering Jordan was probably the best player in basketball from '88 or '89 onwards.
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Old 06-23-2014, 08:55 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?


Great thread. Kobe said the same but more and more over the years we get more boxscore watchers who underrated Larry Legend
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:08 PM   #21
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpliii
Just wondering:

1) How close would you say the players would be if both their careers ended in 88?

2) How much do you feel Magic's play in 89-91 improved his legacy?

I think it would be much closer (although it is already pretty close now) and would have also taken away the narrative that Magic passed the torch to Jordan. Which gives Magic another boost, perhaps unfairly over Bird.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:13 PM   #22
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpliii
Just wondering:

1) How close would you say the players would be if both their careers ended in 88?

2) How much do you feel Magic's play in 89-91 improved his legacy?

Not asking me, but:

1) Bird wins

2) It's when he pulled away. Two NBA MVP's is absolutely huge to a legacy. His achievements would look much different with 5 titles and 1 MVP compared to 3. He was also a little fortunate Kareem went down in 1980 for that Finals MVP but it is what it is. Larry's legacy will always be centered around his on-court skills (#1, always), impact, peak play, winning three consecutive MVP's and facing some of the greatest opposition of all-time (team-wise) in both the road to and in the NBA Finals. Larry Bird had only 8 healthy seasons beyond his rookie campaign to leave a Top 10 legacy and yet he's still Top 5 all-time in MVP voting shares. He never placed worst than 3rd from 1981-88 including four separate 2nd place finishes.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:16 PM   #23
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

And I wouldn't even really describe him as healthy in '87-'88, it was more about playing through it at an elite level. He was ailing bad by the 1988 playoffs... I don't make excuses ordinarily and he had some bad series with absolutely nothing wrong physically, but really.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:21 PM   #24
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpliii
1) Thanks for the correction, fixed.

2) Are Bird 80-88 and Magic 80-88 relatively similar then, in your opinion?

3) 81 perhaps doesn't warrant inclusion due to strange circumstances (and in general, those mini series are super high variance).

4) I'm not trying to discredit so much, rather I'm trying to supply some baseline context. I do agree with you that the two Houston teams were weaker Finals opponents than the Lakers would face. But in order to get there, Boston did have to beat at least one very good team (Sixers, Bucks, and later on Detroit), and in some cases two.

1) No problem
2) 80-88 Bird has a much better case of being ranked above 80-88 Magic than overall Bird vs overall Magic. Competition-wise, 80-88 Bird's in the East > 80-88 Magic's in the West, but it seems to even out if we include their latter years.
4) So, I guess we roughly agree that overall there's some relative balance between the competitions.
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Old 06-23-2014, 09:29 PM   #25
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

man bird had some GARBAGE series
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:05 AM   #26
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gts
The biggest reason was the Showtime Lakers were really good... they made 9 trip to the finals over the years, you don't do that unless you're a rock solid team... Lebron talks about how tough it is to make the finals 4 times, Kobe Shaq Jordan talked about the energy it took to make the finals 3 times, Lakers made it 9 times over that span and they had t beat some pretty good teams to do it

They matched up against anyone, could play fast or slow and they played defense every bit as tough as the Eastern teams...

People hear Showtime and think the team was some fast break juggernaut that only tried to run and that couldn't be farther than the truth... Their offense started on defense, they'd push the ball but just as often bring it down the floor and play inside out...

The beauty of Magic was it allowed the Lakers to be a very opportunistic team, he could thrive in any situation and they Lakers had a player for every situation. They had to be a tough team to game plan against

They were fun to watch, they'd play in Denver one night and the Nuggets would try and run the Lakers into the ground and the Lakers would run with them and beat them at their own game... two nights later they're grinding it out in a defensive battle


Awesome comments. Folks sleep on the Lakers Showtime era defense all the time. When the Lakers used their 1-3-1 half court trap; with Cooper at the top, Magic and Worthy on the wing, Kareem in the middle, and either Wilkes/McAdoo at the bottom, they were deadly. Teams were no match for the Lakers.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:41 AM   #27
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

1981: WCF between Kansas City(5th) & Rockets(6th), two 41-41 Teams..
1984: WCF between the Lakers and the 41-41 Rockets
1987: WCF between the Lakers and the 39-43 Sonics...

The #3 seed in the West in 1987 won 49 games, 44 games were enough to get HCA in the first round with the #4 seed.

Seattle did not have a single 50+ game winning season from 1983 until 1993. If 1987 were an anomaly for an otherwise very good team that would be something else but clearly that team was simply mediocre.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:07 AM   #28
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArbitraryWater
1981: WCF between Kansas City(5th) & Rockets(6th), two 41-41 Teams..
1984: WCF between the Lakers and the 41-41 Rockets
1987: WCF between the Lakers and the 39-43 Sonics...

The #3 seed in the West in 1987 won 49 games, 44 games were enough to get HCA in the first round with the #4 seed.

Seattle did not have a single 50+ game winning season from 1983 until 1993. If 1987 were an anomaly for an otherwise very good team that would be something else but clearly that team was simply mediocre.

The Sonics didn't become anything special, but their postseason was. They beat the second strongest team in the West (according to their R.S record) and then took out the 1986 Finalists Rockets without HCA, as well. I'm not saying '87 Rockets were as good as the '86 Rockets, but it becomes evident that the Sonics were not some typical 39 win team that you could take as lightly as your typical 1st round team.
Oh, and the 1981 40-win Rockets still sent the series against the Celtics to 6 games.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:10 AM   #29
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psileas
The Sonics didn't become anything special, but their postseason was. They beat the second strongest team in the West (according to their R.S record) and then took out the 1986 Finalists Rockets without HCA, as well. I'm not saying '87 Rockets were as good as the '86 Rockets, but it becomes evident that the Sonics were not some typical 39 win team that you could take as lightly as your typical 1st round team.
Oh, and the 1981 40-win Rockets still sent the series against the Celtics to 6 games.


so you basically just explained the sonics making the conference finals by telling us they defeated a high seed team?

groundbreaking.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:10 AM   #30
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Default Re: Why is conference strength often ignored when comparing Magic and Bird?

Because arguments of that nature are to be used primarily against Lebron only.
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