Bernard King was on his way back from a potentially career-ending injury and was on a mission to prove everyone out there that he again belongs to the All-Star game. It would take a couple of seasons more to do that but on December 4th, 1988 King proved everyone in the L.A. Forum why he should be an All-Star!
Magic was just unstoppable that night! Lakers 6’9’’ point guard was at the top of his game, going from one end to the other at will, either for an easy lay-up or a dime to his teammates for an easy bucket. Bullets defensive specialist Darrell Walker just couldn’t handle him!
As the game progressed Bullets kept in balance mostly thanks to the hot hand of the sharp-shooter Jeff Malone, who hit the series of jumpers from the mid-range.
After Malone went quiet, it was Bernard King’s turn to celebrate his 32nd birthday in style, by going to work and hitting the jumpers over powerless Lakers forwards James Worthy and Tony Campbell.
King was in a great shooting form - just two nights before he burned the Pistons with 37 points!
Lakers Byron Scott would sink the buzzer-beater at the halftime buzzer, but it was King who led all scorers at the halftime intermission with 19 points of his own.
1988 NBA Champions, Los Angeles Lakers, opened the second half in their familiar Showtime fashion. Still, King and Malone continued to make shots over Worthy and Scott, especially during the clutch.
With only 39 seconds left King made a 10-foot jumper from the right-wing to give Bullets a 105-101 lead.
But the game still wasn’t over - with only one second left in the regulation Magic hit nothing but twine with an unbelievable 37-foot three-pointer, almost from the center court in the Forum!
In the overtime, Pat Riley’s squad outscored the Bullets by 14-7 for a final score of 119-112.
That night, King played a total of 50 minutes and scored 37 points on 18-28 shooting from the field. Interestingly, he went to the line only four times and scored only one free-throw in the whole game!
The Lakers were led by the Magic who had 29 points, to go along with 17 dimes, 8 boards, and 4 steals!
In 1988-89 NBA season, King started a total of 81 games for the Bullets averaging 20.7 points while solidifying his path back onto the All-Star level, which he will again reach in 1991.
Murray A. a.k.a. Marjan Crnogaj is a BN contributor and the co-author of the Amazon.com TOP 100 basketball biography ‘Drazen – The Years of the Dragon’ ('Drazen - Godine Zmaja') which reveals the yet untold details from the life and career of the legendary NBA shooting guard Drazen Petrovic. He resides in Zagreb, Croatia, currently working on his third book which tells the untold story of the 1989 Green Card Five.