Earvin (Magic) Johnson had 19 assists to become the all-time playoff leader tonight as the Los Angeles Lakers raced to a 153-109 victory over the Denver Nuggets, advancing into the National Basketball Association championship series against the Boston Celtics.

Los Angeles beat the Nuggets, four games to one, in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

That set the stage for a rematch of the 1984 finals won by Boston in seven games.

The Celtics, who'll host the opening game Monday afternoon, won the Eastern Conference title earlier tonight with a 102-100 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers in the fifth game of that series.

Denver Coach Doug Moe wished the Lakers well, saying, "I hope we lost to the eventual NBA champs. I'd like to see them win.

"They were the best team last year, but they gave it away. L.A. is better this year than last, no comparison."

The Lakers' score was the second-highest in NBA playoff history. The Milwaukee Bucks scored 156 points in a 1970 win over the 76ers.

Johnson, in just his sixth NBA season, became the league's all-time career leader in playoff assists with his seventh of the game, in the second quarter.

That gave him 971, bettering the mark of 970 held by Jerry West, a former Lakers guard who's now the team's general manager.

Johnson also scored 17 points and James Worthy had 25 and Byron Scott 21 for the Lakers, who took control of the contest in the second quarter and went on to become the first team to win four consecutive Western Conference titles.

The Nuggets, who lost top scorer Alex English to a broken thumb in last Sunday's loss to the Lakers, missed their first 17 shots of the second quarter.

Lafayettte Lever broke the drought with a jumper from the right foul line with 4:07 remaining in the half.

The Lakers moved from a 34-34 tie at the start the period to a 57-37 lead after seven minutes. They led, 76-53, at intermission and Denver never was close again.

Johnson helped Los Angeles extend the margin in the third period with four consecutive jumpers. The score was 115-81 before the final period began.

Wayne Cooper led the Nuggets' with 23 points, and Lever had 22.