VBA Finals Preview
Costa Mesa Condors
79-13 (1-1)

Fresno Stars
76-18 (1-1)

Score (click for boxscore) Game MVP Hi Points Hi Rebounds Hi Assists
1. Stars 137, Condors 124 Magic Johnson 29 Magic Johnson 18 Akeem Olajuwon 14 Magic Johnson
2. Condors 148, Stars 110 Sidney Moncrief 36 Sidney Moncrief 11 Clark Kellogg 14 Isiah Thomas
3. Condors 138, Stars 110 Akeem Olajuwon 36 Artis Gilmore 16 Akeem Olajuwon 12 Magic Johnson
4. Stars 135, Condors 132 Patrick Ewing 32 Patrick Ewing 11 Patrick Ewing 13 Magic Johnson
5. Condors 132, Stars 108 Purvis Short 29 Purvis Short 14 Alvin Robertson 15 Magic Johnson
6. Condors 143, Stars 132 Sidney Moncrief 33 Orlando Woolridge 14 M.Thompson/A.Gilmore 16 Isiah Thomas
Costa Mesa wins series 4-2

Game 1 – The teams battled back and forth the entire first period. With Patrick Ewing on the bench in street clothes, the Fresno Stars got an unbelievable performance from an unlikely source –  Kent Benson. He scored 12 points in 7 minutes on 5-6 shooting from the field and had a pair of rebounds. The Magic man had 9 points and 7 assists in the first frame, giving the Stars a 39-37 lead after 12 minutes. Sidney Moncrief led the Condors with 9. Akeem Olajuwon was good for 9 boards and 7 points. The A-Train got rollin’ in the 2nd period. Artis tallied 11 points and 4 rebounds as Fresno pounded it inside, basically getting the entire starting lineup of CMC in foul trouble. The Stars took advantage and went into halftime with a 79-62 lead. The third period belonged to Kellogg, no not the cereal company, but Clark. He only scored 6 points, but it seemed like he was involved in every key play. With more foul issues, the back-up Condors closed the gap by 7, trailing 102-92 heading into the 4th. Caldwell Jones and The Microwave added 5 each to the CMC cause. Costa Mesa whittled the lead down to 6 points early in the 4th and it looked like the home crowd was going to spur their team on. Fresno took a timeout, regrouped a bit and was able to increase the lead to double-digits. Magic and Jerome Kersey combined for 19 points in the period, holding off the VBA’s #1 offense down the stretch to win 137-124. Magic was named game MVP with a game-high 29 points and 14 assists. He was 7-9 from the floor and 15-16 from the stripe. He collected 5 rebounds as well. Alvin Robertson and Gilmore each finished with 23. Kellogg finished with a team-high 21 for Costa Mesa. The Dream managed only 12 points to go with his game-high 18 rebounds.

Game 2 – The first two quarters of game 2 looked like a mirror image of the first contest. Costa Mesa took a 2-point lead after the first 12 minutes and then had a big 2nd period to go into halftime up by a 74-60 margin. The Condors managed to get Artis Gilmore and Magic Johnson in foul trouble very early. Jerome Kersey, playing for an injured Patrick Ewing, kept the Stars close, scoring 13 in the first. Sidney Moncrief had 18 first half points for CMC, while Zeke and Clark Kellogg each contributed 16. With a 16-point lead at the 7:05 mark of the 3rd, the Costa Mesa Express hit high gear, going on a 31-10 run, to complete a 48-point quarter and icing the game. The Condors cruised to the 148-110 rout. The Stars still feel lucky to go into Costa Mesa and steal game one and are looking forward to having Ewing back for the remainder of the series. Moncrief finished with 36 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals to earn game MVP. Kellogg totaled 23 points and a game-high 11 boards. Akeem Olajuwon scored 23 and Isiah Thomas 22. Kersey’s 24 topped Fresno, with Alvin Robertson scoring 21. Magic had 11 assists, but was held to 8 points.

Game 3 – This game had a different feel than the previous two. Fresno built a 19-16 lead with 5:40 to go in the first frame. Costa Mesa went on a 19-6 run and finished the first with a 35-27 advantage. The Stars battled back in the 2nd, scrapping and clawing their way to a 43-42 lead. The Condors shifted gears and went on a 21-3 spree, building a 17-point cushion. From there, Fresno could get no closer than 12. The visitors reclaimed home court advantage with another blowout, winning 138-110. Magic Johnson was held scoreless until 3:29 left in the game. He had 12 assists and 6 boards. Artis Gilmore had a game-high 36 points and added 9 rebounds as the Stars’ only legitimate threat in this one. Akeem Olajuwon topped CMC with 27 points and a game-high 16 rebounds. He also had 6 steals, 4 assists and 3 blocks to be named game MVP. Isiah Thomas contributed 23 points. Fresno will have to get Magic going to stretch this series out. 

Game 4 – The Fresno Stars felt the pressure in the must-win game, as they didn’t want to head back to Costa Mesa trailing 3 games to 1. Magic was mad at himself for his game 3 performance and came out pushing his teammates in this one. The Stars jumped out to a 13-4 lead and held on to be up 36-29 after the first 12 minutes. Earvin was 5-5 from the field with 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 11 points. Zeke countered with 11 in the point guard wars. Costa Mesa battled back over the first 7:51 of the 2nd period, knotting the game at 57. The teams were pretty even the rest of the first half with CMC taking a 72-71 lead into the locker rooms. Sid Moncrief’s 13 points led all scorers in the period, Artis Gilmore had 11 for Fresno. The Condors built a 13-point lead in the third quarter, forcing the Fresno fans to sit down with high anxiety. The Stars were resilient and cut the lead to 8 points heading into the final period behind #2 overall draft pick, Patrick Ewing’s 14 points. Costa Mesa clung to their lead for the first 7-1/2 minutes of the period, but Doc Rivers hit a pair of freebies that tied the score at 118. There were 4 lead changes in the final 4 minutes. With the score tied at 130, Ewing made a jumper and was fouled. He sank the free throw, giving Fresno the 3-point advantage. Isiah Thomas was double-teamed in 3-point territory and passed it down low to Bill Wennington who converted the two, but couldn’t draw a foul. CMC quick-fouled Ewing and he hit two clutch free throws (giving him 14 points in the 4th as well) with 8.8 seconds left. Isiah passed it quickly to Moncrief in three-land, but it hit off the front of the rim bouncing right back to him and he launched a runner trying to draw a foul from Orlando Woolridge, but O blocked it cleanly and the buzzer sounded. The Stars fans went wild as their team tied the series at two games each. Condor fans were really upset with the VBA officials calling 39 fouls on their team and only 17 on the home squad. The Stars nearly self-destructed though, by only hitting 37-53 FTA and turning the ball over 29 times. Ewing was named MVP for his clutch play along with game-highs of 32 points and 11 rebounds. The other twin tower, Artis Gilmore added 28, helping to get Akeem Olajuwon, Mychal Thompson and Cliff Levingston all in foul trouble. Magic pulled off his 2nd triple-double of the post-season with 15 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Sidney Moncrief topped the Condors with 27 points, 13 from the charity stripe. He also led CMC in assists (8) and rebounds (7). Isiah finished with 23 and Purvis Short 20.

Game 5 – Costa Mesa was excited to be back in front of their hometown crowd having regained home court advantage in Game 3 at Fresno. Purvis Short scored 10 first period points to give the people what they wanted, a double-digit lead after one (35-24). Magic Johnson scored 11 in the second, hoping to bring his squad a lot closer on the scoreboard, but Never Nervous Purvis posted another 10-spot and the Condors enjoyed a 70-53 halftime lead. Artis Gilmore scored 10 points of an 18-8 Fresno run coming out of the lockers to make it a 7-point game. The Stars posted a 36-25 third quarter to be down only 6 heading into the 4th. In the final 12 minutes, Costa Mesa could do nothing wrong and Fresno nothing right. CMC ran off a 37-19 frame to take game 5, 132-108. Costa Mesa had 22 takeaways leading to 37 turnovers for FRS. The Condor Express tallied 38 fast break points to Fresno’s 6. Short finished with a game-high 29 points to earn MVP. Mychal Thompson added 20. Zeke had 18 points, 11 assists and 6 steals. Gilmore topped Fresno with 22 points on 10-15 shooting, but also turned it over 9 times. Jerome Kersey had 20 points in 19 minutes off the bench. Magic had 15 dimes to go with 11 points. The series heads back north to Fresno with a chance for Costa Mesa to win it all.

Game 6 – Fresno was back home for a must-win game 6 against the Costa Mesa Condors. Jerome Kersey’s 10 points led the Stars to a 40-39 first period. Sidney Moncrief also had 10 for CMC. The Condors went on a 16-4 run early in the 2nd to cruise to a 77-67 halftime advantage. Orlando Woolridge headed to the lockers as the game’s top scorer with 19. Moncrief was the top Condor with 18. The Stars continued to pound it down low to Artis Gilmore, Kersey and Patrick Ewing and it worked, as they pulled within 3 at 95-92 with 3:42 remaining in the 3rd. The Condor Express left the station again and closed out the frame 16-3, taking a 111-95 lead into the 4th. The Stars fans urged their guys on and they responded with a 15-4 spree of their own, cutting  the lead to 5 points with 1:54 to go. Woolridge got in for a huge dunk at 53.7 and the crowd went berserk as it was now a 4-point game. Unfortunately, that was Fresno’s last points as Costa Mesa made 7 free throws to win game 6 and the VBA Championship, 143-132. “O” led FRS with 33 points and hauled in 11 boards. The A-Train posted 31 and 14. Kersey finished with 26. Magic dished out 14 dimes, but was 1-9 from the field and ended up with 3 points. Purvis Short and Moncrief both finished with 30 for CMC. Sid had 10 rebounds and 6 assists for game MVP honors. Isiah Thomas had 17 points and 16 assists in this game and was named VBA Finals MVP making 47-70 (.671) shots from the floor and averaging 10.7 assists, 3.7 steals and 19.8 points while holding Magic Johnson to an 11.3 scoring average. 

VBA Finals MVP - Isiah Thomas

Series MVP – Isiah Thomas
19.8 pts, .671 FG%, 10.7 asts, 3.7 stls