Nearly 29 years ago, Monday, May 27, 1985 was Memorial Day and also the opening game of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers.
The series marked the ninth time the two iconic teams had met in the Finals and the Celtics had won all eight championships, including the one the year before in 1984.
During the 1984-85 season the Lakers won 62 games and the Celtics had won 63 and both teams won their respective conference finals with a 4-1 record.
Everything was pointing to a close, hard fought series.
However, in the opening game the Celtics blew out the Lakers right from the opening tip and won 148-114 in a game that’s been known ever since as the Memorial Day Massacre.
The Lakers were thoroughly embarrassed and all Lakers and Celtics fans were thinking the exact same thing – “Here we go again!”
But in the second game Kareem Abdul-Jabbar responded with 30 points and 17 rebounds and the Lakers won 109-102.
More importantly they got their confidence back and went on to win the NBA Championship in 6 games.
Never, ever could anyone say again that the Lakers couldn’t beat the Celtics in the Finals.
People who remember that game, or who have even heard of that game, no longer get too excited over a single win or loss.
Winners and losers alike all remind themselves that the scores don’t really matter; what matters is who can win four games before their opponent.
In a playoff series, as in many aspects of life in general, how you finish is much more important than how you start!