Costa Mesa
Condors 63-31 (1-1)

Stars 89-2 (1-1)

Score (click for boxscore) Game MVP Hi Points Hi Rebounds Hi Assists
1. Stars 118, Condors 106 Patrick Ewing 27 Patrick Ewing 17 Patrick Ewing 14 Isiah Thomas
2. Stars 131, Condors 130 Doc Rivers 27 Jerome Kersey 14 Alvin Robertson 15 Doc Rivers
3. Stars 134, Condors 120 Magic Johnson 26 Magic Johnson 11 Ben Coleman 14 Isiah Thomas
4. Condors 148, Stars 145 Akeem Olajuwon 32 Michael Cage 19 A.Olajuwon/M.Cage 15 Isiah Thomas
5. Stars 138, Condors 113 Magic Johnson 25 Michael Cage 16 Akeem Olajuwon 11 Doc Rivers
Fresno wins series 4-1


Game 1 – Everyone’s expectations of the big showdown between the Defending Champion Condors and the league’s best team this year, the Fresno Stars, was a high-scoring, well-played affair. Well, game one did NOT follow that script. The visitors jumped out to an 8-0 advantage as the Selland Arena crowd felt helpless as their team could not hit the ocean from a dock from the field OR the free throw line. Both teams were committing turnovers and the big blow to CMC came with 6:40 remaining as Akeem Olajuwon went to the bench with two fouls. Fresno took advantage, pounding it in to Patrick Ewing and Michael Cage as they were able to cut the lead to 3 points. Olajuwon tried to get back in and play “safe” defense, but Jerome Kersey drew the contact and Akeem would sit the rest of the first half. Mychal Thompson and Cliff Levingston would also exit the first early with foul trouble. Both Conference Finals’ MVPs led their respective teams with 8 points after the first 12 minutes. Olajuwon’s absence allowed Fresno to heal their shooting woes with inside scoring. Their PF-C combos combined for 24 points in the 34-27 second frame. Fresno was excited to go into their locker room ahead by a 57-54 score. Ewing had 18 at the half; Brad Sellers was the suprise leading scorer for Costa Mesa, tallying 12 points in 14 minutes played. The 3rd quarter started the same way the 1st did, as CMC rolled off 10 straight points and the Stars couldn’t buy a basket. FRS woke up and went on a 15-6 run to retake the lead and won the quarter 30-25, taking an 87-79 edge into the 4th period. Olajuwon scored 8 more points before he and Ewing were tagged with their 4th fouls and hit the pine with 6:21 to go in the third. Paul Pressey stepped up with 7 for Fresno. The Condors scored the first 5 points of the final frame to make it a 3-point differential, but, once again, Fresno responded with a run(22-6) to give them their biggest lead of the game at 19 points. The fans kept waiting on a huge Condor run, but it never came to fruition. They did cut it to 10 points, but Fresno held serve and took game one 118-106. East Finals’ MVP Patrick Ewing had game-highs of 27 points and 17 boards to take MVP of game one. Magic scored 18 points, had 9 rebounds and 6 dimes. Cage finished with 18 points and 7 boards. Olajuwon tallied 26 points, 10 rebounds and 3 steals in just 22 minutes. Sellers finished with 17 points and a team-high 12 boards. Zeke added 14 points and 14 assists. It looks like a nail-biter of a series is shaping up….

Game 2 – Game 2 of the series started almost the exact opposite of Game 1. Costa Mesa took a 2-0 lead, then Fresno reeled off 8 straight. The Condors cut it to one, then all of a sudden, they could do nothing right. They were fouling defensively and, much to their coach’s dismay, offensively. They were missing shots and were not getting ANY rebounds. The Stars, on the other hand, could do nothing wrong. Their fast break was working, they were hitting shots, rebounding and hitting free throws. The next 5 minutes of the game was a 23-5 run that electrified the home crowd. At the end of the first period, the Stars had a 23-point advantage. All 5 starters for FRS had 6 or more points. The Condors got their game going in the 2nd, but they didn’t slow Fresno down at all and the teams went into the half with the Stars up 85-61. Michael Cage led the home team with 13 and Mychal Thompson, who scored only 7 points in 13:43 minutes in game one, topped the visitors with a dozen. The Stars built a 27-point advantage early in the 3rd, but Akeem Olajuwon started to assert himself defensively and the Champs got their fast break rolling. CMC took the period 28-23 to get the deficit under 20 to start the 4th quarter. For the next 7-1/2 minutes, the visitors went on a 24-10 spree that cut Fresno’s lead to 5. After trading baskets a few times, Patrick Ewing went to the line for 2 free throws with 1:49 to go. He made only one, giving his squad a 127-121 lead. The Microwave went full power and scored the game’s next 5 points and we had a one-point game with just under a minute and a half to go. Ewing got down low and dunked it for another 3-point lead. Costa Mesa got the ball down low to Olajuwon and with 2 Stars on him, he passed it to an open Vinnie Johnson whose jumper went in, caught the rim, rolled around and popped out. The Selland Arena crowd’s moment of relief didn’t last long as Isiah Thomas got his 10th rebound. Zeke tossed it to Vinnie, got it back, then found Thompson in the paint for the jam and it was a one-point game again. Ewing got a great pass from Doc Rivers and hit a short turn-around jumper for a 3-point cushion again. The Dream wasn’t going to be denied and flushed it with 26.4 seconds left. Fresno put in their best free throw shooting team, fully expecting to get fouled when they inbounded the ball. They got the ball into Magic Johnson’s (an .857 FT shooter) hands outside. Magic drove to the hoop looking for contact, but he saw Jerome Kersey close to the basket and tried to get a bounce pass to him. Out of nowhere, Sid Moncrief stole it with 12 ticks left. They got it to Olajuwon, but he couldn’t get a good look, so he passed it to rookie Harold Pressley. Summertime was 2-8 from the field in the game so far. Would he be the hero? No, the ball bounced off the rim, but back to him. He tossed it out to Isiah at the top of the key. Rivers was all over him and two more players rushed at him, forcing an air ball that went out of bounds with 1.6 seconds left. No one touched it – Fresno ball. Magic broke loose to get the inbounds pass and no one could grab him. Fresno escaped, and I do mean ESCAPED with a 131-130 win. Rivers was named MVP of this game. He tallied 16 points, 15 assists, 4 steals and ZERO turnovers. Kersey came off the bench and was instant offense, scoring 16 of his game-high 27 points in the 2nd half. He made 12-15 FGA, blocked 3 shots and had 2 steals all in less than 22 minutes playing time. Ewing added 18 points and 8 rebounds. Vinnie made 12-16 from the floor to lead CMC with 26. Zeke tallied 25 points, 10 rebounds and just missed the triple-double with 9 assists. Olajuwon struggled from the field (6-16), but had 7 rebounds, SIX blocked shots, 4 assists and 3 steals. Thompson finished with 22 points and 7 boards. The series shifts to Costa Mesa and the doctors have cleared Purvis Short to play in front of his home crowd.

Game 3 – Both teams made their first 5 shots from the floor and it looked like we were on our way to a 160-158 barn-burner. Akeem Olajuwon was scoring at will, racking up 12 points in the first 7-1/2 minutes of play with 3 dunks and a put-back. Fresno adjusted, shifting their defense to deny him the ball. It didn’t look to work immediately as Costa Mesa stretched out their lead to 39-32. But then, the momentum shifted and the Stars scored the last 11 points of the first period to take a 43-39 advantage into the huddle. The faithful Costa Mesa crowd sat in shock in the 2nd period as the defending champs couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn; and Fresno, on the other hand, went off on a 37-8 run to take a commanding 80-50 lead. The Condors put a 9-0 spree together, but Fresno got the last two buckets of the first half for a 25-point cushion heading into the lockers. The teams played it pretty even thru the 3rd period and Fresno was up 108-85. With the crowd standing and being extremely loud, the home squad broke the huddle and came out scoring the first 10 points of the 4th. Olajuwon got his first points since 4:19 remaining in the first quarter. Everyone in the building felt like Costa Mesa wouldn’t give in, that they’d rally for another run. Well, this was it.  CMC, with their pressure defense, forced turnovers and a few shot violations and found themselves only down by 8 with 4:47 left in the contest. Coach Joe Watkins started utilizing his timeouts and focusing on the offense – just needing to keep scoring to go up three games to none. His team responded, got back to playing Fresno Star basketball and Costa Mesa never got any closer. The Stars are within one game of winning their first VBA Championship with the 134-120 victory. Magic had 26 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds to lead all scorers and get the game MVP. The Stars had 9, count ’em, nine players in double figures. Ben Coleman had a double-double with 14 points and 11 boards. Blair Rasmussen scored a dozen points and Paul Pressey tallied 15 points, 7 assists and 5 steals. Purvis Short, seeing his first action of the Finals, tied Olajuwon for a team-high 22 points for Costa Mesa. Zeke had 18 points and 14 dimes. Cliff Levingston chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds. CMC spent most of the game shooting below 35% and finished at 41%. The Stars stayed above 50% the entire, game, finishing at 62%. The Condors will have their backs to the wall in a must-win game 4 at home.

Game 4 – The Fresno Stars started the game ice cold and after 9-1/2 minutes, found themselves on the short end of a 31-20 scoreboard. They found their rhythm and narrowed the gap to 37-32 at the end of one. Michael Cage led all scorers with 11 and Vinnie Johnson topped Costa Mesa with 8. The Condors pushed it back up to a 9-point lead early in the 2nd, but Fresno got back in sync and took their biggest lead of the game at 68-60. The home team didn’t roll over though, they tied the game at 68-68. Both teams added a bucket and were knotted at 70 after the first 24 minutes of action. Fresno’s third quarter resembled their first – unable to hit anything from the field. Before it was all said-and-done, they were down 16 with one minute to go in the 3rd. Once again, Fresno rared back and found another gear, opening the 4th on a 32-18 run to tie the game at 133. Fresno tacked on six more, making it a 38-18 run and taking a 6-point lead. The crowd got on their feet and urged their team on. The Condors responded with 7 straight for the 140-139 advantage. The game was an absolute nail-biter from there. Fresno tied it, then Costa Mesa would grab a 3-point edge. Jerome Kersey made only 1 of 2 free throws TWICE down the stretch and that hurt big time. With a 146-145 lead, Purvis Short went to the stripe with 2 ticks left and converted both. Fresno went to their 3-point lineup and got the ball to Alvin Robertson for the trey. He saw a lane, dribbled in looking for the hoop and a foul, but was called for charging. Ballgame!!! Costa Mesa 148, Fresno 145. The VBA Finals head back to Selland Arena for another elimination game. The crowd will be rockin’, hoping their Stars can bring home the trophy on their home court. Akeem Olajuwon was named Game MVP. He scored a team-high 22 points with 19 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 blocks and 3 assists. Isiah Thomas added 20 points and 15 assists. Vinnie finished with 20 and Brad Sellers had 18 off the bench. Cage led all scorers with 32 points and also hauled down 19 boards. Robertson had his best game of the series with 31 points, 7 dimes and 5 takeaways. Magic and Kersey each tallied 18.

Game 5 – Selland Arena was filled to capacity hoping their Stars would defeat the defending champion Costa Mesa Condors and bring home the VBA Trophy for the 1986-87 season. The teams swapped leads several times in the first, the Condors were definitely not going to roll over and play dead. They scored 9 unanswered points near the end of the period before Paul Pressey nailed a jumper to make it 34-29 visitors after one. Mychal Thompson topped CMC with 9, Pressey and Doc Rivers each had 6 for the Stars. Fresno came out of the huddle on a 7-2 run and we had us a 36-36 ballgame. The Condors responded with a 10-4 spree and a 46-40 advantage. The crowd really got into it and their team responded with a 26-8 run; playing tough defense, especially on CMC’s offensive rebounds, and running their fast break to perfection. Fresno took a 66-56 lead into the locker room at half time. Michael Cage and Akeem Olajuwon led their respective teams with 15 points each. The home squad opened the 2nd half on a 22-8 surge to go up 88-64. Costa Mesa scored the last 3 points of the frame to trail by 19 heading into the 4th. The Condors started the last quarter off on fire. Their defense was stifling, taking the ball away and forcing clock violations. They climbed back into the game, making it a 118-109 contest with 5:08 to go. Joe Watkins’ technical foul and a crucial timeout stopped the bleeding. Like a heavyweight champ smelling his opponent’s blood, the Fresno Stars were relentless, scoring 20 of the game’s last 24 points to win their first VBA Championship, 138-113. Olajuwon topped the guests with 24 points, 16 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals; but managed only 11-29 from the field, missing many put back attempts. Purvis Short added 18. Vinnie Johnson and Thompson each finished with 16. Isiah Thomas was in foul trouble a lot, scoring only 8 points but dishing out 9 dimes. Cage tallied a game-high 25 points and 15 boards. Pressey had 20 points, 13 rebounds and 7 assists. Magic Johnson was named game MVP with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. He was also named VBA Finals MVP averaging 20.0 points, making 63% of his two-pointers, and averaging 7.6 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks.

VBA Finals MVP - Magic Johnson

Series MVP – Magic Johnson
20.0 pts, .631 2-pt FG%, 7.6 asts, 6.6 rebs, 1.2 stls, 1.0 blks