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Sixers playoff flashback: Magic Johnson’s 1980 NBA Finals performance for the ages

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The 76ers needed a win over the Lakers to force a Game 7 in the 1980 NBA Finals and their chances seemed to have been increased significantly when league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suffered an ankle injury during Game 5 in Los Angeles.

Trailing three games to two, the Sixers headed to the Spectrum with plenty of confidence for Game 6 on May 16, 1980.

#right-rail. “Abdul-Jabbar sprained his ankle and nobody expected them to win and the pressure was taken off their shoulder. They could play free and loose.”

While the Sixers didn’t have to deal with Abdul-Jabbar, they had no answer for Johnson, who began the game at center and was seen at all different positions that game. A year after leading Michigan State to the NCAA title, he guided the Lakers to a 123-107 win over the Sixers in the clinching Game 6.

A point guard by trade, Johnson became a point center in that game and he finished with 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists.

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