The Purple and Gold beat Phoenix 118-102, and the 6-8 point guard set the single-game Playoff record in assists with 24. Magic only took 5 shots from the field — he made two — and converted both shots at the charity stripe. In 38 minutes of action, he had 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals, and 2 blocks.
Johnson was the only guy from the Lakers starting five who scored in single digits. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar put up game-high 21 points, James Worthy had 17 off the bench, Bob McAdoo added 16, Byron Scott 14. Michael Cooper, Mike McGee, and Kurt Rambis all had 12.
Larry Nance led the Suns with 29 points and 9 rebounds. James Edwards had 16, Walter Davis added 14, and Charles Pittman put up 10. But the story of the game was Magic Johnson.
His 24-assist performance against the Suns is an NBA record only John Stockton was able to match — he dished out the same number of assists in Game 5 of Utah’s second-round matchup against the Lakers in ’88. Magic himself was close to breaking the record in ’85 but finished the game against the Blazers one assist shy of 24. Stockton reached the same mark in ’95 as well as Steve Nash in ’07. But none of them eclipsed what Magic did on this date 37 years ago.
Perhaps somebody can do it in this year’s Playoffs. NBA record books have already been rewritten during the regular season; maybe it’s time for somebody to do it come postseason — especially since we’ve already witnessed incredible playmaking displays this year.
Russell Westbrook alone had 3 20+ assist performances. The Mavs‘ Luka Doncic had one. So who’s to say they can’t do the same thing in the postseason? The greatest point guard ever is the current record holder — that should be all the motivation they need.