Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs

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Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs
Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs
Developer(s) Electronic Arts
Publisher(s) Electronic Arts
Series NBA Playoffs
Platform(s) MS-DOS, Sega Genesis
Release date(s) MS-DOS

Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs is a basketball video game by Electronic Arts, released on PC and later Sega Genesis. It is the first game in EA's NBA Playoffs series and one of the forerunners to the NBA Live series.


The game could be played in various ways: players could play against each other, or against the computer. Games against the computer were divided into two modalities, "exhibition" or "playoffs". There are also three difficulty levels: Pre-season, Regular season, Playoffs and Showtime. Games could be configured for 2, 5, 8 or 12 minute quarters.


Players could pick from one of eight teams who were among the 16 that had gone to the Playoffs in the NBA the year before the game was released. The MS-DOS version contained the playoff teams from the 1988-89 season, while the SEGA Genesis version contained the playoff teams from the 1989-90 season.

MS-DOS version:

East West
Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns
Detroit Pistons Seattle Supersonics
New York Knicks Utah Jazz

SEGA Genesis version:

East West
Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers
Chicago Bulls Phoenix Suns
Detroit Pistons Portland Trail Blazers
Philadelphia 76ers San Antonio Spurs

Both conferences' All-Star teams were also available.


  • The game would be the first "team" basketball video game to acquire full players names and rights without actually relying on the NBA players association.
  • It was also the first team basketball game to have signature moves for the individual star players.
  • It was the first game to feature half time shows and announcers to simulate the authentic feel.
  • This was also the only game to feature in-house Electronic Arts music during gameplay instead of the generic audience cheers.
  • First to feature TV style starting line up prior to the game.
  • Many of the signature moves were inserted without players consent. Moves such as Charles Barkley's gorilla dunk drew controversy and would affect the future of signatures moves and the marketing of the moves for future basketball games. A notable signature move is an unstoppable dunk by Tom Chambers which starts from the elbow.
  • This game is one of very few to have Michael Jordan playable on the Bulls roster due to his expensive contract rights.

References during the 2008 NBA Finals[edit]

With the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics renewed after both teams made the NBA Finals in 2008, fleeting references to the game were made particularly in online forums.

PAL Version[edit]

Although the game was only released for the SEGA Genesis in NTSC regions, a PAL version for the SEGA Mega Drive was developed. However, despite being reviewed by gaming magazines, the PAL version was never officially released due to issues licensing the game for the international market. Complete and working game cartridges did find their way into the hands of the public however, with around 13 copies having surfaced to date. In June 2017, a PAL copy of the game discovered in the United Kingdom attracted bids of over £8000 on eBay.