BOSTON -- As Brian Shaw noted, the Boston Celtics should have been motivated for yesterday afternoon's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Should have been.
"The Lakers. National TV. Home court. I think that should be enough to motivate us," Shaw said. "But it wasn't."
No, it wasn't. Shaw and the Celtics fell apart in the second half and lost their traditional Super Sunday game. Magic Johnson and the Lakers were overwhelming in a 104-87 victory, their 11th in a row. And they did it without James Worthy (ankle sprain).
It was the sixth loss in seven games for the Celtics, who, without Larry Bird, have atrophied the past three weeks.
Magic was disappointed by Bird's absence. "I'd like to have Bird in there," he said. "They're a different team without him. He adds so much, just his presence on the floor. I miss him, the fans miss him, I think the whole country misses him."
Maybe a slight overstatement.
Magic had the spotlight to himself before a Garden sellout and an NBC-TV audience. And he filled it, leading all scorers with 22 points, 15 assists, nine rebounds and two steals.
He ran the Lakers at just the right time. He slowed them at just the right time.
He backed a helpless Shaw into the low post, told which players to cut when, then wheeled to make perfect bullet passes.
"He definitely had control of his team," Shaw said. "When we started making runs, they countered. And I credit Magic . . . He's so good, he can do that."