Best Starting Five from Each NBA Franchise


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1. Boston Celtics

  • PG – Bob Cousy
  • SG – Paul Pierce
  • SF – Larry Bird
  • PF – Kevin McHale
  • C – Bill Russell

2. New Jersey Nets

  • PG – Jason Kidd
  • SG – Drazen Petrovic
  • SF – Reggie Theus
  • PF – Derrick Coleman
  • C – Brook Lopez

3. New York Knickerbockers

  • PG – Walt Frazier
  • SG – Bernard King
  • SF – Dave DeBusschere
  • PF – Willis Reed
  • C – Patrick Ewing

4. Philadelphia 76′ers

  • PG – Allen Iverson
  • SG – Hal Greer
  • SF – Julius Erving
  • PF – Charles Barkley
  • C – Moses Malone

5. Toronto Raptors

  • PG – Damon Stoudemire
  • SG – Vince Carter
  • SF – Tracy McGrady
  • PF – Chris Bosh
  • C – Marcus Camby

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6. Chicago Bulls

  • PG – Derrick Rose
  • SG – Michael Jordan
  • SF – Scottie Pippen
  • PF – Horace Grant
  • C – Artis Gilmore

7. Cleveland Cavaliers

  • PG – Mark Price
  • SG – Ron Harper
  • SF – LeBron James
  • PF – Larry Nance
  • C – Brad Daugherty

8. Detroit Pistons

  • PG – Isaiah Thomas
  • SG – Dave Bing
  • SF – Grant Hill
  • PF – Dennis Rodman
  • C – Ben Wallace

9. Indiana Pacers

  • PG – Mark Jackson
  • SG – Reggie Miller
  • SF – Danny Granger
  • PF – George McInnis
  • C – Mel Daniels

10. Milwaukee Bucks

  • PG – Oscar Robertson
  • SG – Sidney Moncrief
  • SF – Marques Johnson
  • PF – Bob Lanier
  • C – Lew Alcindor

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11. Atlanta Hawks

  • PG – Mookie Blaylock
  • SG – Lou Hudson
  • SF – Dominique Wilkins
  • PF – Bob Petitt
  • C – Dikembe Mutumbo

12. Charlotte Bobcats

  • PG – Raymond Felton
  • SG – Jason Richardson
  • SF – Steven Jackson
  • PF – Gerald Wallace
  • C – Nazr Mohamed

13. Miami Heat

  • PG – Tim Hardaway
  • SG – Dwayne Wade
  • SF – Jamal Mashburn
  • PF – P.J. Brown
  • C – Alonzo Mourning

14. Orlando Magic

  • PG – Anfernee Hardaway
  • SG – Tracy McGrady
  • SF – Hedo Turkoglu
  • PF – Horace Grant
  • C – Dwight Howard

15. Washington Wizards

  • PG – Earl Monroe
  • SG – Gilbert Arenas
  • SF – Antawn Jamison
  • PF – Elvin Hayes
  • C – Wes Unseld

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16. Denver Nuggets

  • PG – Chauncey Billups
  • SG – David Thompson
  • SF – Alex English
  • PF – Dan Issel
  • C – Dikembe Mutumbo

17. Minnesota Timberwolves

  • PG – Terrell Brandon
  • SG – Wally Szcerbiak
  • SF – Tom Gugliotta
  • PF – Kevin Garnett
  • C – Al Jefferson

18. Oklahoma Thunder (formerly the Seattle Supersonics)

  • PG – Gary Payton
  • SG – Ray Allen
  • SF – Kevin Durant
  • PF – Shawn Kemp
  • C – Jack Sikma

19. Portland Trailblazers

  • PG – Terry Porter
  • SG – Clyde Drexler
  • SF – Brandon Roy
  • PF – Rasheed Wallace
  • C – Bill Walton

20. Utah Jazz

  • PG – John Stockton
  • SG – Jeff Hornacek
  • SF – Bryon Russell
  • PF – Karl Malone
  • C – Mark Eaton

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21. Golden State Warriors

  • PG – Stephen Curry
  • SG – Rick Barry
  • SF – Chris Mullin
  • PF – Nate Thurmond
  • C – Wilt Chamberlain

22. Los Angeles Clippers

  • PG – Baron Davis
  • SG – Ron Harper
  • SF – Danny Manning
  • PF – Bob McAdoo
  • C – Chris Kaman

23. Los Angeles Lakers

  • PG – Magic Johnson
  • SG – Kobe Bryant
  • SF – Elgin Baylor
  • PF – James Worthy
  • C – Kareem Abdul Jabbar

24. Phoenix Suns

  • PG – Steve Nash
  • SG – Walter Davis
  • SF – Shawn Marion
  • PF – Charles Barkley
  • C – Mark West

25. Sacramento Kings (formerly the Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Rochester Royals)

  • PG – Oscar Robertson
  • SG – Mitch Richmond
  • SF – Jerry Lucas
  • PF – Chris Webber
  • C – Vlade Divac

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26. Dallas Mavericks

  • PG – Steve Nash
  • SG – Michael Finley
  • SF – Rolondo Blackman
  • PF – Dirk Nowitski
  • C – Shawn Bradley

27. Houston Rockets

  • PG – Calvin Murphy
  • SG – Tracy McGrady
  • SF – Rudy Tomjonavich
  • PF – Hakeem Olajuwon
  • C – Moses Malone

28. Memphis Grizzlies

  • PG – Mike Bibby
  • SG – Rudy Gay
  • SF – Shareef Abdur-Rahim
  • PF – Zach Randolph
  • C – Pau Gasol

29. New Orleans Hornets

  • PG – Chris Paul
  • SG – Kendall Gill
  • SF – Glenn Rice
  • PF – Larry Johnson
  • C – Alonzo Mourning

30. San Antonio Spurs

  • PG – Tony Parker
  • SG – Manu Ginobli
  • SF – George Gervin
  • PF – Tim Duncan
  • C – David Robinson

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The first round of games were easily decided for the most part. The Lakers and the Celtics both had bye weeks because their teams dominated most of the basketball world during their rich basketball history. They rested after automatically advancing to the second round and awaited the outcome of the first round games.

Round 1 Eastern Conference

N.J.-N.Y. – A young Jason Kidd pushes the basketball mercilessly trying to force a fast pace to the game. He hits Drazen Petrovic, one of the purest shooters in the league, on the wing with crisp passes early in the series and Petrovic cashes in. But, Walt Frazier clamps down on Kidd and begins to push to the ball for the Knicks. Kidd has played right into his hands. He starts one of the biggest scoring bursts of these playoffs. Frazier penetrates at will against a larger Jason Kidd and starts distributing the basketball to his bigs. Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing dominate Brook Lopez and Derrick Coleman with perfectly run high-low offense. The Knicks win 4-1.

Phi.-Tor. – Toronto has no chance against the superiorly talented Philadelphia 76’ers. Though their two uber-athletic wings, cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, played well against the Philly wings, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Dr. J, in the end, they were over powered with the sheer scoring of Allen Iverson, Moses Malone, and Dr. J. Moses Malone grabbed every offensive and defensive rebound and threw outlet passes to Julius Erving for open court dunks and to AI the one man fast break. Philly sweeps Toronto in 4 games.

Chi.-Clev. – Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls did not need “the Shot”, to dispatch the Cleveland Cavaliers as they finished them in 5 games. Chicago destroyed the Cavs in the first game as Scottie Pippen 28 pts. and 6 steals to Jordan’s 35 pts. The Cavaliers won game 3 behind two triple doubles by the sharp-shooting Mark Price and the physical specimen, LeBron James. In games 4 and 5, Pippen used his unparalleled lateral quickness to slow James, and Rose finally stopped Mark Price who averaged 29.3 ppg. in the series.

Ind.-Det. – The clutch shooting of Reggie Miller kept the Pacers in most games, however the talented defense of the Pistons was too much to handle. Ben Wallace blocked almost every shot in the paint and Grant Hill shredded the porous defense of Indiana. Hill averaged 8.6 asts. against Indy and put in 24 ppg., too. Danny Granger was overshadowed by a squad that proved too skilled and athletic for even him. The Pistons won in 4.

Mil.-Atl. – Oscar Robertson dominated Mookie Blaylock at the point. He averaged 30.2 ppg, 10.4 apg, and 9.6 rpg. almost averaging a triple-double against him. Lew Alcindor outplayed Dikembe Mutumbo who averaged 4.5 bpg. in the series. Dominique Wilkins provided daily incentive to watch the series with vicious dunks and a 33.8 scoring average. However, the Hawks were grossly outmatched and conceded the series 4-1.

Char.-Mia. – Miami destroys the scrappy, but overwhelmingly less-talented Bobcats. Alonzo Mourning shows Mohamed how a real big man scores in the post. He shoots jump hooks mercilessly over him and guards the paint at the other end. Hardaway has his killer crossover in full effect, and Mashburn annihilates Hedo on the wing. The Heat win 4-0.

Orl. – Wash. – Dwight Howard fights valiantly, but completely in vain against two of the best big men to ever play in the NBA. Elvin Hayes, possibly the most underrated Hall of Fame player in NBA History, schools Howard on the offensive end, hitting jumpers all over the court with his sweet stroke, and Unseld bullies him on the defensive end. Though McGrady and Penny Hardaway are bigger, a hot Gilbert Arenas and Earl the Pearl score relentlessly. The Wizards win the series handily, 4-1.

Round 1 Western Conference

Denver – Minn. – Minnesota battles for six games before bowing out. David Thompson averages 34 ppg. in the series while collecting 8.7 boards. Dan Issel and Kevin Garnett draw even in the series both averaging about 22 and 13, but Thompson was the difference.  He jumped over and around Szcerbiak and Gugliotta on almost every play. Chauncey fed Thompson continuously on the wing and hit a few clutch buckets too.

Okl. – Port. – Oklahoma City versus Portland yields the first seven game series. Gary Payton envelops Terry Porter, but the super-athletic Clyde the Glide overwhelms the sweet-shooting Ray Allen in the first two games. In the next two games, Shawn Kemp establishes himself with a few violent dunks over Sikma and Wallace, and Ray finds his stroke. Game 5 belonged to Rasheed as he scored 36 points on an assortment of post moves, short jumpers, and threes. Kemp dominated again in Game 6 with 42 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 3 steals. Payton chipped in with 13 asts. and 21 pts. The final game was a battle between Sikma and Walton. Sikma knocked in long jumpers, but Walton bullied him in the paint and finessed the rest of the defense with quick accurate passes. The Blazers won Game 7 122-110 behind Walton’s 26 pts., 15 rebs., 8 asts., and 3 blocks.

Utah – G.S. – The Jazz attempted to work the pick and roll, but Wilt stood at the end of the roll. He was dominant the entire series. He averaged 37.6 ppg., 18.3 rpg., 4.5 apg., 2.0 spg., and 5.1 bpg. Chris Mullin torched Russell, running him off of countless picks before loosing that smooth, leftie jumper in his face. Karl Malone outclassed Nate Thurmond, but Tiny Archibald ran circles around John Stockton and scored at will. The Warriors advancement from the first round was never in doubt and they defeated the Jazz 4-1.

Sac. – Phoe. – The Phoenix Suns ultimately win the series 4-3 in a hard-fought battle. Oscar Robertson crushes 2-time MVP Steve Nash throughout the series, but Walter Davis scores easily against a young, talented Mitch Richmond. Jerry Lucas plays physical, punishing basketball, but is outmatched by a young Shawn Marion’s superior athleticism. Charles Barkley and Chris Webber alternate having great scoring games at home, however Barkley wins the rebounding war and the Suns win their first round of games.

Hou. – Dallas -Dallas was no match for the Houston’s version of the twin towers with Moses Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon. They dominated the series offensively and defensively. Dirk played well on the perimeter, but could not get his shot off in the paint. Calvin Murphy and Tracy McGrady could not be stopped and Houston swept one of their in-state rivals in the first round.

S.A. – Memph. -San Antonio swept the inept Grizzlies. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was the sole bright spot on the Memphis squad averaging 22 and 10 for the series. Robinson and Duncan bullied Randolph and Gasol. The Iceman, George Gervin, finger-rolled and shot his way to 30 points in each of the four games.

N.O. – L.A.C. -Bob McAdoo and Glenn Rice had a shootout for the ages. In Game 1 Rice scored 44 and McAdoo had 38. In Game 2 McAdoo scored 42 and Rice had 33. In Game 3 Rice scored 52 on high posts, 3-pointers, and short jumpers. McAdoo dropped 44 on quick turnarounds and long jumpers. They battled for 6 games, alternating who would score the most points with neither scoring under 23 points in any game. The series was won by a buoyant yet physical Larry Johnson in the post, though. He pushed and spun his way to a 24.2 ppg. and 11.3 rpg. average.

2nd Round Eastern Conference

N.Y. – Phi. – Though Walt Frazier shows Iverson how to run the point, Philadelphia coasts through the second round almost as easily as they did the first round. Bernard King did score well, but Dr. J outscored him and disheartened the entire team with multiple thunderous dunks in traffic. He threw in flip shots and mid range jump shots for the entirety of the second round unchecked. Moses Malone hit Erving and Iverson with outlet passes and they ran the fast breaks seamlessly. Barkley and Malone out-rebounded and outscored Reed and Ewing, and the 76′ers beat the Knicks in 5 games.

Chi. – Det. -The revamped, reinforced version of the Bad Boys of Detroit took the no lay-up rule to another level. Jordan was clobbered by Rodman and Big Ben anytime he neared the paint. Rose was harassed by Isaiah Thomas whenever he had the ball, but Rose over-powered him on the offensive end. The defensive was another story though. Thomas scored almost at will against a young Derrick Rose. He hit three pointers, floaters, and his utilized his deft ball-handling skills to average 28 points and 12 assists for the series. Grant Hill and Pippen were evenly matched, but Pippen’s lateral quickness confounded Hill in the last two games. In Game 6, Jordan hit a game-winning 17 footer to keep the Bulls championship hopes alive. Once the Bulls started executing their triangle offense, the Pistons could not make regular stops on the defensive end and the Bulls took the series in the last minutes of Game 7. Jordan scored 12 points down the stretch in the fourth quarter, with Pippen and Rose chipping in 5 apiece in the quarter as the Bulls won the game and the series 101-90.

Milw. – Mia. – Tim Hardaway blew The Big O away with his killer crossover in the first game of the series. But Oscar slowed him down on the other end of the court. He shot his patented one-handed jumper over Hardaway at will. Zo was a warrior under the basket against a young Lew Alcindor, but was out of his league. Alcindor had won on every level of basketball and did so here too. His hook shot was unstoppable and his footwork was perfect. Sidney Moncrief guarded Mashburn on the wing. And even though Mashburn posted 25.1 points per game, he took 27 shots per game to get his average. Wade could not hit his jump shot, so he struggled with Alcindor clogging the middle. The Bucks won the series in 5.

Wash. – Bos. – Boston struggled out of the gate against the Washington Wizards. Elvin Hayes dominated the first two games. He averaged 21.5 rebounds in those games with 28.5 points per game while leading the Wizards to two wins in Boston Garden. Earl Monroe had Cousy’s head spinning for most of the series. McHale could not handle the size and strength of Hayes and Unseld inside, so he took them onto the perimeter. There was no answer for Bird or Pierce on the wing. Bird rained 3 pointer after 3 pointer as Pierce penetrated. Russell shut down Unseld and the Celtics won the next four games as McHale played Hayes evenly in the rest of the series.

2nd Round Western Conference

Port. – Den. – The Portland Trailblazers seemed to have the series wrapped up, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the series, until the oft-injured Bill Walton went down with a high ankle sprain. Alex English, who was somewhat hindered by Walton’s sheer size,  attacked the rim relentlessly after he went out. David Thompson continued to fill it up from outside the arc and inside the paint and the Nuggets won the next two games. In game 6, Rasheed Wallace takes over and ends the Nuggets run.

Phoe. – G.S. – This series had the highest scoring output of the entire tournament. Golden State averages 134.1 ppg. and Phoenix averaged 120.7. Phoenix has match-up problems at one of its strongest and weakest points. Steve Nash though efficient on offense, is grossly outmatched on defense, and Mark West has no chance of slowing Wilt Chamberlain. In game 1 Tiny Archibald scores 36 points with 17 assists. For the series, he averages 29 and 13. Wilt scores 65 points against the smaller, weaker West and by series end has a gaudy average of 48.3 points per game. Rick Barry averaged 26.2 ppg. but conceded 27.6 to the uber-athletic Marion. Barkley scores over Thurmond, but Chamberlain insures that he does not have a great series. He averages 25 and 12 for the series, but the Warriors sweep the Suns 4-0.

Hou. – S.A. – This interstate rivalry proves to be one of the best and closest series in the entire tournament. It is a battle of the twin towers. It is a battle of dual MVP’s. Robinson and Duncan suited up against Malone and Olajuwon. Robinson dribbled around Malone on one end to score only to be bullied under the rim on the other side. Duncan was a bastion of consistency on the offensive end as was Olajuwon but flashier. Olajuwon dominated on the defensive end too. He rendered Tony Parker’s penetration and points in the paint nearly obsolete. The combined defensive prowess and shot-blocking of Robinson and Duncan stopped the penetration of Murphy. However, the sharp shooting of Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjonavich from midrange carried the Rockets offense. None of the games were won by more than 9 points, and the Spurs finally conceded defeat to the Rockets in Game 7, 101-96.

L.A.L. – N.O. – The Los Angeles Lakers roll over the New Orleans Hornets with little resistance. Larry Johnson plays like a bull under the rim, pushing James Worthy around. And Glenn Rice scores against a smaller Elgin Baylor, but Magic Johnson puts Chris Paul in foul trouble every night, and Kareem shows Mourning why he is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader. The Lakers win in four games.

Round 3 Eastern Conference

Milw. – Bos. – Boston hits its stride in this series. Cousy is again outmatched, this time by Oscar Robertson, but Russell holds the young Alcindor in check the entire series. He averages 20.2 rebounds per game against Lew. Pierce and Bird score without much resistance against Moncrief and Johnson. The Bucks win one game behind a triple-double from the Big O. He scored 32 points, assisted 15 times, and had 13 rebounds.

Chi. – Phi. – The Bulls won the first game behind Jordan and Pippen’s combined 73 points. Jordan scored 51 of the 73. The rest of the series was a little more difficult for the talented Bulls. The Sixers won the next two games by an average of 16.7 points with Moses Malone leading the way. In Game 4, Derrick Rose scored 42 points against the smaller Allen Iverson and the Sixers won their second and final game against Philadelphia. Hal Greer scored 28 despite the tough defense of Jordan and lead a balanced attack from the Sixers to beat the Bulls in six games.

Round 3 Western Conference

Hou. – L.A.L. – The size of the Laker back court harassed Calvin Murphy into shooting 38% for the series. McGrady and Bryant numbers were a push, but Kobe scored a third of his points in decisive moments in the fourth quarter. He hit almost every big shot for the Lakers in the 3rd round. Magic ran a blindingly quick fastbreak and had 12+ games in every game. Olajuwon faked and countered the usually graceful Jabbar and outscored him 33.8 points per game to 28.3, but Moses Malone had no answer for the overall quickness of “Big Game” James Worthy. Malone made up for Worthy’s scoring on the other end of the floor and punished him under the rim. In Game 7, Kobe scored 34 and Elgin Baylor scored 30 to beat the Rockets 112-107.

G.S. – Port. – Golden State dominate the Trailblazers in the third round because of severe match-up problems. Terry Porter can not keep Tiny Archibald out of the paint, and he scores or assists to Wilt for the entirety of the series. Walton is no match for the bigger, stronger Chamberlain and he wears Walton down over the course of the series scoring 45 and 49 points in the final two games. Thurmond slows down Rasheed Wallace and Rick Barry matches Clyde Drexler’s pure scoring 29.6 ppg. to 29.9. Portland wins Game 4 behind a near perfect game from Walton once Chamberlain got into foul trouble. Wilt did not foul out, but the Big Red Machine hit 14 of 15 field goals in the Game 4 before losing in the fifth game.

Eastern Conference Finals

Bos. – Phi. – Boston finished Philadelphia 4-2 in the Conference Finals. Dr. J scores easily in the open floor, but Bird matches him in points from behind the 3 pt. line. Pierce muscles Greer and scores continuously on his step-back jumper. Barkley leads Philly in scoring with a 32.5 point average. He rebounds well too, averaging 14.1 for the series. But Cousy was relieved to see a smaller guard and plays well against Iverson. He feeds Kevin McHale and Bill Russell as Boston beats a talented Sixers team.

Western Conference Finals

G.S. – L.A.L. – The Western Conference Finals is ripe with epic match-ups. The most prolific scorer in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain, is up against the most consistent and reliable scorer in NBA history, the all-time leader in points, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The most prolific passer in NBA history, Magic Johnson, faces one of the best scoring points in NBA history, Tiny Archibald. Nate Thurmond, a great defensive player will guard James Worthy, one of the best playoff scorers ever. The sharp-shooting Rick Barry will be defended by the ball-hawking, high scoring, and highly-skilled Kobe Bryant. And one of the best pure shooters in league history, Chris Mullin, goes head to head against one of the best athletes in NBA history, Elgin Baylor. Wilt outscores Kareem in every game, but Jabbar holds his own against the giant. Wilt uses the gamut of shots in his arsenal including the finger roll, jump hook, bank shots, and power dunks. Kareem counters with his sky hook and a myriad of short range attacks. Wilt averages 40.1 points per game in the series and Kareem averages 32.3. Magic once again bullies his smaller opponent, and upped his playoff scoring average by 5 points. He averages 26.1 ppg. in the series with 11.2 apg. Worthy scores in the open court and on putbacks to shed the bigger Thurmond and his rangy arms. But the series was won in the match-ups on the wing. The stronger, more athletic Baylor turns Chris Mullin into a facilitator. He could not get his shot off consistently despite having a significant height advantage. Kobe Bryant outduels Rick Barry by getting into the lane and scoring on soft, short jumpers after numerous jab steps and pump fakes. He holds Barry to 19.2 ppg. in the series. The Lakers outlast the Warriors in Game 7, 120-113.

NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics – Game 1 is decided by Magic Johnson. He keeps the entire Lakers squad involved by making pinpoint passes over the head of the smaller Bob Cousy. He leads Kareem into easy baskets with soft touch passes and throws alley-oops to James Worthy on backdoor passes and on the break. Magic has the Lakers Showtime attack in full effect in Game 1. He only scores 11 points, but has 19 assists as the Lakers win 113-98. He dominates the game without scoring on the wing or post.

In Game 2, the Celtics stay close to the Lakers until the fourth quarter when Kobe Bryant scores 8 points in the final 4 minutes to pull the Lakers away from the Celtics 110-101. He was fairly quiet in the first game of the series, but explodes for 36 points to put the Lakers up 2-0 in the home games. McHale and Worthy were locked in a duel the entire game. McHale had his footwork on full display, rarely using even power dribbles in the paint. Worthy used his turnaround jumper to score over the longer McHale.

In Game 3, Larry Bird scored 44 against Elgin Baylor from beyond the arc and in the post. He also had 12 rebounds and lead the Celtics to their 1st victory in the series 98-90. The Celtics never trailed in their first home game of the series. Bird was on fire from the tip-off, drilling three pointers from nearly 30 feet when the defense stepped out and attacking the rim when he was crowded by defenders..

The Lakers double-teamed Bird in Game 4 to keep the basketball out of his hands. He instead turned in a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists, and 13 rebounds. McHale and Russell scored easily in the interior of the Laker defense. The Celtics tied the series with a 103-91 victory.

The Celtics then stole Game 5 behind a 20-25 game for the legendary Bill Russell. He also had 8 blocks. McHale chipped in 22 points and 12 rebounds in a 110-106 Celtics win. Chamberlain had 36 points and 17 boards in a valiant effort, but he missed several crucial free-throws down the stretch and it cost the Lakers a victory.

The Lakers evened the match-up with spectacular play from Kareem and Worthy. They accounted for 62 points and 37 rebounds combined in Game 6. Magic added 20 points, 14 assists, and 8 rebounds. Larry Bird continued his great play with 30 points, 8 assists, and 13 boards in a losing effort for the Boston Celtics.

Game 7 was the best game of the series. There were 22 ties or lead changes in the game. Magic scored 10 points and had 4 assists in the first quarter, but Bird countered with 12 points and 3 rebounds. Magic fed Kareem in the post throughout the 2nd quarter and got 5 more assists by the half, but the Lakers were down at the break 52-51. Bill Russell dominated the 3rd quarter by blocking almost every shot that was taken in the paint. The Lakers only scored 20 points in the quarter combined. But they rallied in the 4th, behind Magic and Big Game James as they scored or assisted on the last 17 points in the game. On the last play of the game, Los Angeles trailed by a point with 6 seconds left. Magic faked right, dribbled left, hesitated with his dribble, stepped back right, and finished over the outstretched hand of Bill Russell to beat their biggest rivals. The Lakers won Game 7, 103-102 on a flip shot by their leader Magic Johnson.


6 comments for “Best Starting Five from Each NBA Franchise

  1. June 7, 2011 at 6:09 AM

    Neato concept. Not sure I agree with some of the teams though… and I’m bored at work so I may as well waste some time nitpicking. Heyoooo!

    No havlicek for celtics?
    No Buck Williams or Michael Ray Richardson for the Nets (Lopez over Buck WIlliams? Really?).
    Take our DeBuscchere (great, gritty player but he’s a tinge overrated) and put in Earl Monroe, make that Rolls Royce offense purr again!
    I’d use Rodman or Kukoc over Horace.
    I’ll give ya Phili, Toronto and Cleveland.
    Ben Wallace over Bob Lanier (especially since you already had Rodman for isolation D) and Dave Bing over Dumars? Huh?
    Mel Daniels over Rik Smits? Granger over DPOY-level Ron Ron? Hell, I may even take Jermaine over McInnis (dude was a walking turnover).
    No Ray Allen on the Bucks? (You can play him at SF, it’d be way better than Johnson!!)
    I don’t really remember much of Lenny Wilkins, so I’ll give you Blaylock… but even though I equally don’t remember Lou Hudson, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that Joe Johnson would be a better choice.
    You really can’t have Nazr Mohamed over Emeka Okafor…
    You don’t seem to have a time period of waiting, so I don’t know why you don’t have Lebron and Bosh (haha!) but if you were to exclude them, I’d say Seikaly and Rice are better choices than Mashburn and Brown.
    For the Magic, gimme Nick Anderson over Turkoglu, even if I knew he’d choke his FTs down the stretch.
    I may take Caron BUtler over Antawn Jamison just cause I don’t really like Antawn Jamison.
    For Denver, ya gotta have Melo in there… replace Issel, he was a garbage defender anyway. Chauncy or Lever would be a wash for me.
    I can’t think of anyone on the Timberwolves I’d replace from your list, but I sort of just don’t want to think about the Timberwolves =/
    I may spot Spencer Haywood in for Shawn Kemp, but Shawn Kemp ain’t a bad option if yer running with Payton at the point.
    I may put Kiki Vandeweghe over Brandon Roy (and I’m not sure about putting Rasheed Wallace and Walton together… so much weed would be smoked on that team).
    Where is Pistol Pete and Adrian Dantley on your Utah Jazz team? With Stockton and Pete running the show, that team would be insane!!!
    I get Archibald was leagues better than Hardaway, but I’d be tempted to put Hardaway over Archibald in that lineup… just for Chamberlain passing out of double teams to three deadeye shooters.
    I know the Clips would be running small, but put in Elton Brand at the four and McAdoo at the five. McAdoo used to run the five in Buffalo anyway, the mismatches were ridiculous.
    You gotta replace Baylor with West. Baylor was only 6’5, Kobe is taller and could play the SF slot or you could put the 6’9 Magic in there and run him like a point forward. West adds massive shooting and passing to that team, Baylor is just a better Worthy (but I may not replace Worthy cause of the size issues you’d get by putting Baylor at the four).
    I’m torn with the Suns. On one hand, that’s a great lineup and it makes sense talent wise and chemistry wise. On the other hand, can you really leave out Kevin Johnson and Connie Hawkins?
    I don’t remember Jerry Lucas, but from all I’ve read, he was a stat-skank. Go small, put in Archibald and make that team run-run-run.
    Aguirre over Blackman and Perkins over Bradley for Dallas (unless you think Dirk and Perkins are redundant… but c’mon, Bradley was the human highlight reel but on the other end!).
    Tomjonavich was a center and in no way could play SF: Cuttino Mobley or Sean Battier is a decent enough replacement. I know putting in Moses Malone is great, but what if you put in Yao Ming? Ming is 7’6 and can play the high post while the 7 foot Olajwuon runs the low post. It’d be just like Olajuwon-Sampson but taller and with the same amount of injuries.
    I’m just going to assume you’re right for the Grizzlies.
    Maybe some Baron Davis for the Hornets? Or drop Rice and Johnson down one position and put in David West? More suggestions than anything.
    Also, replace Tony Parker with massively underrated DPOY Alvin Robertson and you got my darkhorse team for this tournament.

    But nice job anyway!

    • AFM
      June 9, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      You started this Jake, so I have to reply. Hondo is one of the most celebrated and overrated players of those Celtic teams. People see that steal in the Finals and make him a legend. He was a good shooter and rebounder, not great. On the same note, Buck Williams was never exceptional at anything. He was a great rebounder and shot a decent FG percentage, but he did not dominate. I actually had the Pearl in the lineup for NY for DeBuscchere, but that wasn’t the same Pearl as the one in DC. He was old and a role player in NY. Kukoc and Rodman were only in town for a few years. Grant was in Chicago for most of the glory years. I’ll give you Bob Lanier, I struggled with that decision. Bob Lanier was great in a few places though, so I went with Ben. Dumars and Bing are a wash, and I will say that Dumars was very underrated. Rik Smits sucked every year of his career except maybe two of them. He was like a soft Patrick Ewing, and at least Ewing could blame his knees. Let me just say, most decisions to leave a guy off the list were because they didn’t stay in the city long enough. That was the case for Rice in Miami and Carmelo in Denver too. You got me on Ron Seikaly. Good call. I never liked Mashburn, but he tore it up for about 3 years. Nazr and Okafur both suck. I hated to leave KJ off the list, but there was no where to put him. Nash is clearly better at this point, even though KJ is one of my favorite players. The Connie Hawkins omit was difficult too, but he was a bit of a journeyman. That’s what hurt Brand, despite being a 20-10 guy before the injuries. I like your Aguirre suggestion, but he was more popular as a Piston. “It’d be just like Olajuwon-Sampson but taller and with the same amount of injuries.” That’s hilarious. I wish I could put Yao on the team, but he’s been omitted for the same reason as Sampson. And Rudy T. was a forward, by the way, and a pretty good shooter. Pistol Pete was a hard omission. The injuries and the trades hurt him, plus the Jazz lost a lot of games with Pistol Pete. Malone, Stockton, and the Pistol would have been great to see though.

      • June 9, 2011 at 3:14 PM

        No no, on boring days like this, I live for this discussion. “Who would play well with who” is, imho, a lot more fun than “who is better than who?” Lemme defend some of my positions and withdraw a few others!
        As players, Havlicek and Pierce are pretty close, maybe if ya feel the players in the 70s can’t compete with todays, then Pierce is better. But that team you have right there is a team MADE for ball movement and player movement (with the exception of lowpost Kevin ‘Black Hole’ McHale). Pierce has impressed me with how well he has played with Garnett and Allen, but his game is still mostly based on “clear out and lemme isolate and do some magic.” You got Larry Bird on the team for that, if ya need it. With Havlicek, you get that ‘decent’ shooting and rebounding but you also get his more-than-decent passing, plus a great cutter/runer for Cousy and Bird’s bullet/outlet passes. All-first team defense too.
        Actually, I know this is probably sacrilegious, but I may even replace Cousy for Dennis Johnson… Cousy was playing at the cusp of the era where you gotta pause and say “he couldn’t shoot, defend, is 6’1 and is unimpressive for today’s athletic standards… could dude even make it today?”
        I know Buck Williams wasn’t that great, but ugh… Brook Lopez? 7’1 and grabs 6-8 rebounds a game? No thanks. Unless you’re worried about the small backcourt, I’ll take a small man who plays bigger instead of a big man who plays smaller.
        You’re right on the Pearl, I just loved that Monroe-Frazier offense.
        I know Dennis Rodman was on Chicago for only a short stint, but Kukoc was in Chicago longer than Rose (although I realize from yer list, if they’re playing NOW you’re giving them the benefit of the doubt that they will be playing for a while). I think 6 and a half years is enough to give Kukoc the spot over Grant. Ya already have Gilmore for the defense, anyway.
        You say Havlicek is overrated, well I say Dave Bing is overrated beyond belief, and he’s not even that well known! Dude was flashy but without substance to the point where even the Pistol would say “hey dude, just… try a bounce pass or something…” He never won anything, his stats weren’t that impressive, but he makes the HoF? I’ll shake my head at that. Give me a subpar tweener who knows his role and plays killer defense over the one who will get jealous of Isiah Thomas and start throwing 360 outlets that will go out of bounds.
        I know Rik Smits sucked but… Well, I just don’t know Mel Daniels enough to even make a case, really. Does his ABA success translate to an all-era basketball team? I got no clue.
        I feel ya on the time limits, I would draw the cutoff at around four years though. Melo played for seven and a half in Denver before he came to the good ol’ NYC, that’s enough to crack that list and send Issel back to obscurity where he belongs.
        Okafor was a bust, but Narz lived up to his potential and still sucked.
        Yer Phoenix Suns team makes too much sense to argue. RIP KJ =(
        You gotta make an exception for Brand. Brand and McAdoo would be a SICK frontcourt.
        I feel ya on Houston, nine years and Yao has only played 486. Wow.
        Rudy did not have the footspeed to play the small forward. I know he was good enough offensive for it, but mismatches on defense worry me. I thought he was a center, my error.

        Fun times, thanks for the back and fourth.

        • AFM
          June 10, 2011 at 10:10 AM

          Jake, you are apparently a real basketball guy. My buddy, the co-owner of this site, and I literally sit and talk basketball for hours. I’m a believer that you put the most talented guys on the floor and figure out a way for them all to excel together. If you wanted to build teams for chemistry, this whole tourney would have to be re-arranged. Hondo would be a better fit for the Celtics and maybe a shooter like Jojo White could step in for Pierce since Bird is an all around threat to score. In the same line of thought Buck Williams would be a better fit for the Nets because they need some rebounding. Let me just say that Kukoc was only good for about 2 and 1/2 years, so he was never really in the Chicago equation. Rose was added because he won a MVP in Chicago which makes him the best point by a long margin. That is another reason why Moses took the nod over Yao (besides the fact that he is always hurt). Cousy had a pretty good year in his MVP season and his numbers were better than Nash’s in his first MVP year and comparable to the second one. Look it up. I still don’t believe Nash should have won the first MVP, but that’s my cross to bear. There’s an article about that on the site. Brand and McAdoo could have been special. Good call. Also if we’re talking chemistry Nash and KJ could co-exist if you moved either to the 2. You would have Nash facilitating and KJ finishing, which he often did by himself. Or you could have KJ penetrating and dishing to a wide open Nash (who is a member of the 40/50/90 club). But chemistry would have killed your combo of Stockton and Pistol Pete. Both of them needed the ball to be special, and Pete was magical with the basketball. Holy crap, the comment about Nazr was awesome….and true. But, Nazr is consistent and Okafur is in N.O. now. I’ll concede that one though. Check out the sports page, man. There are a bunch of decent articles in there. Some that I’m sure will start another argument, like Pippen was more important to the Bulls than Jordan. My dad says I’m crazy, but I’m right.

          • June 11, 2011 at 6:48 AM

            Drats, you caught a massive flaw in my logic that I was hoping wouldn’t be picked up— I’m telling you that Hondo would be a better fit because Pierce couldn’t adapt to contour around that Celtics team, and at the same time I’m crossing my fingers hoping that Maravich is gonna start playing off the ball and spotting for easy threes that Stockton and Malone would send to him. I guess it’s all about convincing YOURSELF it would work: if we really think for a second, putting Rick Barry and Wilt Chamberlain on the same team would lead to absolute, atrocious disaster. Chamberlain was a party-goer who didn’t practice very hard and loved to give his opinion instead of saying what was politically correct… and Barry was an anal perfectionist who hated lazy people and loved to give his opinion instead of saying what was politically correct. There’s plenty indication they hated each other when they DIDN’T play with each other (I remember Wilt talking about his 100 point game and saying he took more shots than any normal person would ever take… then he paused and said “well, ‘cept for Rick Barry”). One of two things would happen: either Barry would ditch for another league or Wilt would break him.
            But there’s no way I could replace Wilt OR Barry on that team. I’d just have to risk it. They’re too talented to separate. I’d defy logic to put together that team.
            So, backing up a bit to what I said earlier, I can convince myself that Maravich, on a good team, COULD start spotting up but I can’t convince myself that Pierce would start moving without the ball and making clean passes and cuts. Maybe because the first one is a mindset and the second one is more of a skillset… and they’re both equally unbelievable… but for me, one makes sense and one doesn’t.

            Opinions are fun.

            There’s a bajillion reasons to put Moses Malone over Yao Ming, and chemistry is certainly one of them: Moses Malone trained Olajuwon and they have a father/son relationship. I just think a Hakeem/Ming backcourt is mismatch and rebound city, it’s a risk I’d be willing to try, especially since Malone and Olajuwon are a tinge redundant (Hakeem could definitely play high post, but that takes away from his skills a bit).

            I’ll give ya some stuff, like the Kukoc one (always thought the dude would be better than he was), the only thing I ponder about is Cousy. Statistically, he looks very solid, especially when you consider that assists were twice as hard to garner back then (he probably had around 12 assists a game if you logged his assists the way people log assists now) but I don’t know if he could succeed. He’s 6’1 and doesn’t have the vert to overcome it, he couldn’t shoot, and his defense was shoddy as hell. Some players I’ve watched games of, and I’ve said “Man… West/Baylor/Chamberlain would dominate this league the same way they dominated back then…” but Cousy I’m really on the fence about. He had amazing court vision and a decent enough first step, but I think even back then, if Cousy hadn’t found a fast paced team like the Celtics to throw passes to on the break, I question what type of career he would have.
            But if he’s flanked with Bird, Pierce, McHale and Russell, I guess it wont be THAT big of a deal, haha.

            Good stuff, sir, I found this list from a google search but I’ll start reading your blog steadily, throw in my two cents from time to time.

            Adios!

            • AFM
              June 12, 2011 at 11:49 AM

              Thanks Jake. It is always awesome to talk to a guy that really understands basketball. I couldn’t tell you how many ridiculous conversations that I’ve had with people at a barbershop or some other public place about basketball that didn’t have a clue what they were saying. I’m guessing that they watched some special and spouted back what the commentator said. But, when pressed with some technical term like a “slipping a pick” or “running a curl” they looked completely confused. You know your stuff.

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