Danny Ainge Flat-Out Blew off the Boston Celtics Coaches and it Paid off During the 1987 NBA Finals Against the Lakers

Danny Ainge, the General Manager of the Boston Celtics, made some bold moves in Game 7 against the Lakers during their 1987 NBA Finals. After intentionally fouling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and missing a free throw to ensure his team lost, he was able to secure an easier matchup for his own players that led them to victory.

The “Boston Celtics Head Coach” is a person who has been with the Boston Celtics for many years. In 1987, Danny Ainge flat-out blew off the Boston Celtics Coaches and it paid off during the 1987 NBA Finals against the Lakers. Read more in detail here: boston celtics head coach.

During Game 5 of the 1987 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics were in urgent need of a win. They needed a victory to keep the series alive and send the game back to Los Angeles. Danny Ainge, Boston’s lone non-Hall of Famer in the starting lineup, delivered. He accomplished this by ignoring his coaches’ directions, and it resulted in a much-needed Celtics win.

In Game 5, Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics avoided elimination.


Danny-Ainge-Celtics-1-1024x718 Kevin McHale (32), Danny Ainge (44), and Dennis Johnson (3) of the Boston Celtics react after their team’s defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in a regular-season NBA basketball game at the Boston Garden on Dec. 11, 1987. | Getty Images/Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe

The Celtics were defeated 107-106 at home in Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals, giving the rival Lakers a 3-1 series lead. The Finals were then formatted as a 2-3-2 series, which meant the Celtics had one more game at home before the Lakers returned for a possible Game 6 and Game 7. Would the Celtics give up after that heartbreaking Game 4 defeat, knowing they needed to win three in a row?

It took the Celtics a quarter to figure out what was going on. After tying the Lakers 25-25 after the opening 12 minutes of Game 5, Boston broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the visitors 38-23 and going into the locker room with a 15-point advantage.

After extending their advantage to 18 points in the third quarter, the Celtics won 123-108, cutting their series deficit to 3-2.

All five Boston starters scored in double figures, with Dennis Johnson leading the way with 25 points. Larry Bird had 23 points, Kevin McHale had 22, and Danny Ainge and Robert Parish each had 21.

Danny Ainge blew by his coaches on his way to a big game.

📅 In Game 5 of the NBA Finals in 1987, five @celtics scored at least 20 points:

Dennis Johnson (#25) Larry Bird (#23) Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale, Kevin McHale

It’s one of just six occasions in NBA history that this has occurred, three of them in the Finals. pic.twitter.com/1bpLzyKMrT

June 11, 2021 — Justin Kubatko (@jkubatko)

It wasn’t until the second half that Ainge became enthralled. Whenever the Lakers went on a run, the Celtics guard hit a massive 3-pointer to stifle any possible comeback. After the break, he nailed four of five 3-pointers but missed his first, prompting a reprimand from the Celtics bench.

Luckily for the Celtics, Ainge chose to disregard the coaches.

“When I missed my first 3-point attempt, the coaches rose up and said, ‘Hey, we don’t need those shots,’” said the player. According to United Press International, Ainge stated after the game. “I stated.” ‘Hey, I’m going to shoot them if I’m available.’ If I had missed another time, I may have been on the bench.”

He didn’t make another mistake.

As the halftime buzzer rang, Ainge hit his first 3-pointer of the game. As time expired, he threw a 40-footer.

He said, “That was simply a fortunate shot.” “You’re always taking them, and that one simply went in.”

At 69-60, the Lakers were within single digits, but Ainge hit back-to-back 3-pointers to reopen the game.

“The three-point shot is lethal,” Ainge added. “The 3-pointer isn’t that tough if you’re open.” I believe they were preoccupied with Larry (Bird) and our inside game, leaving me vulnerable.”

In Game 5, Ainge performed his best Michael Cooper imitation.

Ainge was the least likely of Boston’s five starters to steal the spotlight offensively. In Game 5, Ainge did likewise, as did Lakers guard Michael Cooper in Game 2.

Cooper was more recognized for his defensive skills than his attacking abilities during his time with the Lakers. He did, though, what Ainge did in Game 5 of the 1987 NBA Finals in Game 2.

Cooper scored 21 points off the bench for LA, making six of his seven 3-point attempts. He also had nine assists in the Lakers’ 141-122 triumph, which gave them a 2-0 series lead.

The Celtics’ head coach, K.C. After Game 5, Jones compared Ainge’s performance to Cooper’s.

“(Ainge) was hitting 3-pointers for them in the same manner Cooper did,” Jones said. “I understand how the Lakers feel.”

The Lakers, on the other hand, won Game 6 at home by a score of 106-93 to wrap up the series.

Ainge had two points on the night, missing eight of his nine attempts from the field.

Perhaps he should have paid attention to his instructors that night.

Larry Bird knew it was over when he saw Magic Johnson guarding him during the 1984 NBA Finals’ crunch time.

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