Larry Bird and Earvin (Magic) Johnson, the nation's top collegians a year ago , met for the first time since turning pro. The much ballyhooed showdown attracted a sellout crowd to the Los Angeles Forum, where Johnson (23 points, six assists, eight rebounds) led the Lakers to an easy 123-105 victory over Bird and his Boston teammates, who had a rare off night. Despite the loss, the Celtics equalled their victory total for all of last season with wins over San Diego and Golden State, lifting their best-in-the-NBA record to 29-9. Philadelphia, meanwhile, turned in an identical 2-1 week to remain two games behind Boston in the Atlantic Division. In the Pacific Division, Seattle pulled a half game ahead of L.A., which ended a nine-game Phoenix winning streak on Sunday. Atlanta moved further in front of San Antonio in the Central as Milwaukee, a loser in 10 of its last 13 games, feel into a tie with Kansas City in the Midwest.
In a compromise agreement, Denver's George McGinnis had his five-game suspension for colliding with referee Jess Kersey shortened to three games after meeting with NBA Commissioner Larry O'Brien.McGinnis, who told O'Brien he had not intended to hit Kersey, acknowledged his failure "to exercise sufficient care to avoid the collision."