PLEDGE NOW
Celtics, Lakers, and NBA History
photo

NBA finals, Game One tonight, and it’s a storied match-up. Boston Celtics. Los Angeles Lakers. Between them they’ve won almost half the championships in NBA history.

For professional basketball, the classic tip-off can’t come soon enough. The Celtics-Lakers era of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson made the NBA a sports powerhouse. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls kept it soaring.

But it’s been tough going many years since then.

This hour, On Point: We talk with Danny Ainge and top sportswriters – on Celtics, Lakers and the future of the NBA.

Danny Ainge on the Celtics and Lakers, then and now:

Use the audio links below to listen to Danny Ainge’s interview with Tom Ashbrook, and hear him respond to questions from our guests Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated and David Steele of The Baltimore Sun.

Comparing the Celtics and Lakers of the 80s to today’s teams, McCallum asked Ainge (in good humor), “Will you explain to people that you guys weren’t really that damn good defensively? [that the current team], they’re not as good a team, but they’re better defensively than teams were in the 80s, in general?” You can hear Ainge’s reply:

DANNY AINGE: I would agree with that…. I think that the Lakers and Celtics of the 80s were very good defensive teams in the last 5 minutes of games…. But our team now plays defense for 48 minutes better than our teams in the 80s did. At the same time, the offense is not as good. And the offense is not as good because the offensive players are not as good…. I don’t think either one of these teams [now] have the same kind of [offensive] firepower, but they do have better athletes and better defensive energy than I think either one of those teams [in the 80s] had.

http://audio.wbur.org/storage/2008/06/onpoint_0605_3.mp3

Guests:

Danny Ainge, general manager and executive director of basketball operations for The Boston Celtics, and a former Celtics guard with the legendary 1980s team.

Jack McCallum, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and author of this week’s cover story on the Celtics and Lakers, “The Rivalry.”

David Steele, sports columnist for The Baltimore Sun.

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment