Skip to content
Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1960’s NBA Part 1

March 8, 2013

360_lakers_celtics_0614

The Boston Celtics (white) and Los Angeles Lakers (blue) battled 6 times in the NBA Finals in the 1960’s.  Pictured here for the Lakers is LeRoy Ellis (25), Gail Goodrich (11), and Elgin Baylor (left corner with knee wrapping).  For the Celtics, Bill Russell (6), Don Nelson (19), and John Havlicek (left side in the distance behind Baylor) *photo courtesy of time magazine

When one looks back at the 1960’s in American sports history (and American history in general), it is remembered for the African-American struggle for equality.  Black athletes were central figures in the Civil Rights movement along with Political figures like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  The most dominant black basketball player in the decade was perhaps the most prominent in the movement, Bill Russell.  The biggest rival Russell battled on the court, Wilt Chamberlain, was more in the background of the Civil Rights movement.  But on the basketball court the 7’1″ Chamberlain was front and center, breaking almost every conceivable record.  Wilt still holds 72 NBA records (68 by himself).  But the record for the most championships in the decade was Russell’s Celtics with 9 (a record that won’t soon be broken, I’m pretty sure).  Russell and Chamberlain were not only the biggest rivals and attractions in the league, but they were the centers on every championship team in the 1960’s.  Russell and Chamberlain though weren’t the only prominent black basketball players.  Elgin Baylor of the Lakers and Oscar Robertson of the Cincinnati Royals became all-time greats.  San Francisco Warriors’ big man Nate Thurmond developed to a level almost equal to the one set by Chamberlain and Russell in the 1960’s.  In 1966, in a game between Russell’s Celtics and Wilt’s 76ers, all ten players in the starting lineups were black for the first time in NBA History (Chet Walker, Lucious Jackson, Chamberlain, Hal Greer, and Wali Jones for the 76ers – Willie Naulls, Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders, Russell, K.C. Jones, and Sam Jones for the Celtics).  Also in 1966, when Red Auerbach retired from coaching the Celtics, none other than Bill Russell became the first African-American coach in sports history.

A lot of changes were going through the NBA as well.  In 1960, the Minneapolis Lakers stretched the borders of NBA locations by moving to Los Angeles (the St. Louis Hawks were the farthest west before then).  In 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors moved to San Francisco.  In 1961, the NBA tried for the second time to place a team in Chicago.  But the Chicago Packers moved to Baltimore in 1963 and became the Bullets.  In 1966, the NBA tried for a third time to place a team in Chicago.  This time they got it right as the Bulls are still alive and well today.  That wasn’t the only expansion.  In 1967, the San Diego Rockets and Seattle Supersonics became franchises.  And in 1968, the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns came into existence (and had a coin-flip in 1969 for the #1 pick in the draft and Mr. Lew Alcindor).  Money was also getting bigger.  In 1966, Wilt Chamberlain signed a contract for $100,000.  Russell the next day signed one for $100,001.  Those totals were unimaginable at the time.  But more than anything in the 1960’s, teams were trying to figure out how to beat the Celtics.  Only one team succeeded.

Basketball Players Leaping for Ball

Illustrated in this picture was what each big man was known for – Wilt Chamberlain for offense, Bill Russell for defense (both could jump pretty high too) *photo courtesy of hardwood paroxysm

The 1960’s also features the oldest originally broadcasted game that I own, Game 6 of the 1963 NBA Finals (this is very exciting for me and will give me a chance to go more in-depth about the game – although old time highlight footage isn’t too shabby).  But before that there is highlights from the 1962 Season.  The All-Star Game, the NBA Finals, and Wilt’s 100 point game (not really a highlight, just a recap).  Without further ado…

January 16, 1962 – NBA All-Star Game at St. Louis: West 150, East 130

This 1962 Season was the apex of the high-speed era that produced up-and-down action, a lot of attempted and missed shots, and more scoring overall (this had been going on really since the shot clock implementation).  This All-Star Game typified the era.  The highlight actually showed missed shots but mainly there was really no set offense shown in this game.  Just a lot of running up and down the court.  The East attempted 130 shots, the West 121.  The West got 79 total rebounds, the East 70.  There was two 40-point quarters by the West.  The West took an early double-digit lead as their starters were the main factors scoring.  The East came back to cut the lead to 64-60 at halftime.  The West ran up 41 and 45 points in the last two quarters to put the game out of reach.  The main East scorer was Wilt Chamberlain who had an All-Star Game record of 42 points (that record still stands today).  Richie Guerin of the Knicks was the only other scorer over 12 points.  Bob Pettit had 27 rebounds to go with his 25 points and he got his 4th All-Star Game MVP award (record tied with Kobe Bryant).  The main factor in the victory though may have been Oscar Robertson.  Robertson had won the All-Star MVP as a rookie the year before and garnered 26 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds in this one (this was the season that Oscar averaged a triple-double).  The balance of All-Star power would soon shift though as Oscar’s Royals moved to the East for the 1963 Season.  The team that Oscar was the starting point guard for won 8 of 9 All-Star Games in the 1960’s and Oscar would add 2 more MVP (and as the point guard he would have a huge factor in others getting MVP’s – like his Cincinnati teammate Adrian ‘Odie’ Smith in 1966).

East starters (teams) and point totals

Tom Heinsohn (Boston Celtics) 10 – Small Forward

Dolph Schayes (Syracuse Nationals) 0 – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors) 42 – Center

Bob Cousy (Boston Celtics) 11 – Point Guard

Richie Guerin (New York Knicks) 23 – Shooting Guard

East bench (teams) and point totals

Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) 12

Hal Greer (Syracuse Nationals) 8

Willie Naulls (New York Knicks) 11

Johnny Green (New York Knicks) 7

Paul Arizin (Philadelphia Warriors) 4

Sam Jones (Boston Celtics) 2

East Coach: Red Auerbach (Boston Celtics)

West starters (teams) and point totals

Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers) 32 – Small Forward

Bob Pettit (St. Louis Hawks) 25 – Power Forward

Walt Bellamy (Chicago Packers) 23 – Center

Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals) 26 – Point Guard

Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers) 18 – Shooting Guard

West bench (teams) and point totals

Gene Shue (Detroit Pistons) 7

Wayne Embry (Cincinnati Royals) 4

Frank Selvy (Los Angeles Lakers) 0

Cliff Hagan (St. Louis Hawks) 2

Jack Twyman (Cincinnati Royals) 11

Bailey Howell (Detroit Pistons) 2

West Coach: Fred Schaus (Los Angeles Lakers)

March 2, 1962 – New York Knicks 147 @Philadelphia Warriors 169 (Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points)

Like I said before this is a recap, not a game or highlight.  As far as one knows there was only one radio broadcast of the game that exists.  It was almost inevitable that Wilt at some point would put up 100 points in one game.  Wilt averaged 50.4 points per game that season (on 48.5 minutes per game playing time).  Wilt had already put up point totals of 60 (twice), 61 (three times), 62 (three times), 65 (twice), 67 (twice), 73, and 78 that season.  As the story goes, when Chamberlain was racking it up in the fourth quarter and broke his own record of 78, the colorful PA announcer Dave Zinkoff was spouting off ‘that’s 82!’ and the crowd started chanting for 100.  The attendance was 4,124 at the game in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  The Warriors kept feeding Wilt the ball and he kept shooting.  The Knicks tried to stop it by fouling everyone on the Warriors except Wilt and Philadelphia fouled New York to give Wilt more chances.  This game was in the shot clock era but the constant fouling reminded one of the pre-shot clock era when the team with the lead could run out the game.  Eventually with under a minute left, Wilt had 98.  Chamberlain took one shot from the post, missed it.  Teammate Ted Luckingbill got the rebound and passed to Wilt who missed another shot.  Then Luckingbill got another rebound and passed to Joe Ruklick, who got off a lob pass to Chamberlain before being fouled, and Wilt laid it in for the century mark.  The game stopped then with 46 seconds left as fans ran out onto the court.  Interestingly, Wilt was living in New York at the time and after the game got driven back to the Big Apple by a few Knicks.  Unbelievable stuff.

New York starters (points scored)

Willie Naulls (31) – Small Forward

Johnny Green (6) – Power Forward

Darrall Imhoff (7) – Center

Al Butler (6) – Point Guard

Richie Guerin (39) – Shooting Guard

New York bench (points scored)

Dave Budd (13)

Donnie Butcher (10)

Cleveland Buckner (33)

New York Coach: Eddie Donovan

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Paul Arizin (16) – Small Forward

Tom Meschery (16) – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (100) – Center

Guy Rodgers (11) – Point Guard

Al Attles (17) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

York Larese (9)

Ed Conlin (0)

Joe Ruklick (0)

Ted Luckingbill (0)

Philadelphia Coach: Frank McGuire

post100  wilt100

images of Chamberlain after his 100-point game *photos courtesy of wiltfan.tripod.com

April 10, 1962 – NBA Finals, Game 3: Boston Celtics 115 @Los Angeles Lakers 117

After surprisingly defeating the St. Louis Hawks in the Western Division Finals in 1959, the Lakers lost back-to-back 7-game series versus the Hawks in 1960 and 1961 (the Lakers moved to Los Angeles after the 1960 season).  But in 1962, with Elgin Baylor and second-year man Jerry West leading the way, the Lakers finally broke through and made it to the NBA Finals.  Meanwhile, the Celtics were coming off three straight championships.  They had trouble however in the Eastern Division Finals as Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors took Boston to 7 games.  The Celtics won Game 7 109-107 as their young star guard Sam Jones hit the winning jumper over Chamberlain.  Sam Jones had replaced the retired Bill Sharman as the starting shooting guard for the 1962 season.  The Celtics had also added defensive specialists Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders and K.C. Jones, which would help them against Baylor and West throughout the decade.

For this series that was featured on The Way it Was and narrated by Laker broadcasting legend Chick Hearn, the teams split the first two games in Boston and Game 3 was the first of many Finals games in Los Angeles.  The Lakers gradually built their lead to 87-78 at the end of the third quarter.  But Boston, led by Bob Cousy and Tom Heinsohn came back in the fourth quarter and took a 113-109 lead with a few minutes left.  This is where The Way it Was picks it up.  The Celtics had the ball with this lead, but K.C. Jones was forced to take a long shot at the end of the shot clock and he missed.  Rudy LaRusso got the rebound and got it ahead to Baylor on a fast break, Elgin had his first shot blocked by Heinsohn but Baylor was able to follow it up and score.  After a great behind the back pass from Heinsohn from the post to K.C. Jones, Jones followed up his own miss to put Boston back up 115-111.  Jerry West then came back with a jumper with just over 30 seconds left.  The Celtics then ran down the 24 second clock.  Near the end there were two scrambles but the Celtics managed to get a shot off and Heinsohn missed a short banker.  Ray Felix got the rebound for the Lakers and quickly got it to West on the fast break.  As Jerry went in for a layup he was fouled by Bill Russell with 3 seconds left.  West made both free throws to tie the game.  The Celtics got the ball at half-court with 3 seconds left and Sam Jones inbounded the ball to Cousy right in front of half court.  West stole the inbounds pass, ran downcourt, and made the layup before time expired for a Lakers victory and 2-1 lead.

In this era, that last pass by Jones would be criticized to no end (everyone on Sportscenter would give an opinion of it, even if they weren’t a basketball analyst).  Cousy was standing right in front of the half court line.  Even if he’d have gotten the ball he probably could have only forced up a long jumper from way outside today’s three-point line.  Auerbach even mentioned on the panel of The Way it Was in retrospect that he wanted the taller Jones to inbound the ball instead of Cousy, but he admmited that Cousy probably would have made the pass more into the front court (in better shooting range and West wouldn’t have been able to run down court for a winning layup).

Anyway, the Laker euphoria wouldn’t last as the Celtics won Game 4 in LA 115-103 to take it back to Game 5 in Boston with a 2-2 series.

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (22) – Small Forward

Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders (8) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (26) – Center

Bob Cousy (24) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (12) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

Frank Ramsey (7)

K.C. Jones (13)

Jim Loscutoff (2)

Carl Braun (1)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Elgin Baylor (39) – Small Forward

Rudy LaRusso (10) – Power Forward

Ray Felix (7) – Center

Frank Selvy (12) – Point Guard

Jerry West (36) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Jim Krebs (8)

Tom Hawkins (3)

Rod Hundley (2)

Los Angeles Coach: Fred Schaus

April 14, 1962 – NBA Finals, Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers 126 @Boston Celtics 121

This game was picked up with 1:42 left and the Celtics leading 117-116, but the Lakers had the ball.  Elgin Baylor had scored 57 points to that point.  The Lakers had also gotten contributions from their bench (although their bench in this game were normally their starters).  The Lakers ran some time off the clock and then Frank Selvy drove baseline off a Baylor screen.  Baylor popped out, got the ball, and hit the short baseline jumper for 59 points and a one point Laker lead.  The Celtics came back and ran a little weave, but Heinsohn missed a short jumper in the lane just below the free throw line and then in going after the rebound Tommy got called for pushing off Baylor.  Elgin went to the line and made 2 free throws for his Finals record 61 points (still stands today) and a 120-117 Lakers lead.  The action picked back up with Jerry West hitting two free throws to put the Lakers up 124-121.  After a Boston timeout, Satch Sanders missed a driving layup and the Lakers got the rebound and ran out the clock with Jerry West hitting a short jumper for the final margin.

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Tom Hawkins (0) – Small Forward

Elgin Baylor (61) – Power Forward

Jim Krebs (10) – Center

Rod Hundley (0) – Point Guard

Jerry West (24) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Rudy LaRusso (10)

Frank Selvy (12)

Ray Felix (9)

Los Angeles Coach: Fred Schaus

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (30) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (11) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (26) – Center

Bob Cousy (16) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (26) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

Frank Ramsey (6)

K.C. Jones (2)

Jim Loscutoff (4)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

The Lakers for their fourth straight 7-game series had taken a 3-2 advantage.  In the 1960 and 1961 Western Finals, the Lakers had taken 3-2 leads back home against St. Louis.  However, they had lost Game 6 at home both times before losing Game 7 in St. Louis.  Even in the Lakers’ 4-2 win in the 1962 Western Division Finals against the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers had taken a 3-0 lead before losing the next two games.  So taking a 3-2 lead back home was nothing new for the Lakers (except this was for the World Championship).  And as they had against St. Louis, they lost Game 6 at home to Boston 119-105.  The Lakers led 65-57 at halftime but were outscored 34-16 in the third.

April 18, 1962 – NBA Finals, Game 7: Los Angeles Lakers 107 @Boston Celtics 110 (OT)

This was a game where the stars showed up.  Baylor and West combined for 76 points for the Lakers and Bill Russell had 40 rebounds to go with his 30 points.  There were also a lot of fouls in this game as the Lakers were 31-for-45 from the line and the Celtics were 36-for-50.  And like Game 7 of the 1957 NBA Finals, a lot of people fouled out.  Heinsohn and Sanders were lost for Boston and the Lakers lost both LaRusso and Baylor in overtime.  The Celtics had taken a 6-point halftime lead but the Lakers came back to tie it at the end of the third quarter.  The Celtics took a 7-point lead in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers cut it back to 100-96 with a minute left.  The Celtics lineup in the game at that point was Russell, Cousy, Sam Jones, Ramsey and veteran Carl Braun (who had come in for the fouled out Heinsohn).  For the Lakers, it was Baylor, West, Selvy, Jim Krebs, and Rudy LaRusso.  The Celtics had the ball but Braun put up a long outside shot as the shot clock was running out and missed.  LaRusso got the rebound and gave it to Frank Selvy who took it coast-to-coast past Cousy for a layup to cut Boston’s lead to two.  Then with 30 seconds left and the Celtics trying to run out some clock, Cousy threw a cross-court pass that was intercepted by West.  Jerry raced the ball downcourt and attempted a short bank shot after a fake that missed.  The rebound went off the hands of Braun right to Selvy who laid it in to tie the game.  The Celtics got the ball to Frank Ramsey who had 23 points in the game (15 on free throws), but Ramsey’s running hook hit nothing but backboard and Krebs got the rebound and called timeout for the Lakers with 5 seconds left.  It was the Lakers’ time to win the Championship.  Ball-handler Hot Rod Hundley came into the game for Krebs.  He got the inbounds pass from Selvy at the top of the circle.  Selvy went to the left baseline  past Cousy and was open.  Hundley got him the ball and Selvy attempted a short baseline jumper.  It bounced on the front of the rim once and hit the front rim again on the second bounce where Russell was able to get the rebound for overtime.  Right as the ball was bouncing Elgin Baylor was in rebounding position but mistimed his jump.  As Baylor was coming down, Russell got the rebound over him.  Baylor still claims he was pushed off by Sam Jones (and says Jones admitted it too).

In overtime, Baylor made two free throws for the first points but then the Celtics tied it when Cousy and Russell worked a give-and-go for a Russ layup.  After a Selvy miss, Sam Jones made a jumper at the other end that hit the front rim, bounced around and went in.  Jones was fouled on the shot and made the free throw for a 105-102 lead.  In the next few minutes, the Lakers lost LaRusso and Baylor to fouls and the Celtics took a 109-103 lead when Sam Jones nailed a jumper that pretty much put the game away.  Bob Cousy dribbled out the clock at the end as the fans stormed the court.  It was a most heart-breaking loss for the Lakers that would gain steam as Los Angeles would try and try again to beat the Celtics and fail.  As the years passed, they would go back to Selvy’s missed jumper that could have won the World Championship.

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Elgin Baylor (41) – Small Forward

Rudy LaRusso (7) – Power Forward

Jim Krebs (8) – Center

Frank Selvy (10) – Point Guard

Jerry West (35) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Tom Hawkins (4)

Rod Hundley (0)

Ray Felix (2)

Howie Jolliff (0)

Los Angeles Coach: Fred Schaus

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (8) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (6) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (30) – Center

Bob Cousy (8) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (27) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

Frank Ramsey (23)

K.C. Jones (2)

Jim Loscutoff (6)

Carl Braun (0)

Gene Guarilia (0)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

April 24, 1963 – NBA Finals, Game 6: Boston Celtics 112 @Los Angeles Lakers 109

Hallelujah! Finally a live game! And it was the last game for the great Bob Cousy.  Cousy announced before the season that 1963 was his last.  Not shockingly, the Celtics and Lakers finished top in their respective divisions.  A bit more shockingly is that after the 1962 Season the NBA lost its first national television deal with NBC basically because every game played like a disjointed All-Star Game and the pace needed to be controlled instead of just jacking up as many shots as possible (or the defense needed to step up).  The NBA didn’t have a National Television deal for the 1963 and 1964 seasons.  The NBA put together a syndicated broadcast of All-Star Games and NBA Finals Games.  So this game was just Bob Wolff doing play-by-play with nobody else on the broadcast.  Also, the Philadelphia Warriors were sold by their original owner Eddie Gottlieb to a group that moved Wilt Chamberlain and company to San Francisco.  With this the Warriors joined the Lakers, Detroit Pistons, St. Louis Hawks, and Chicago Zephyrs (who became the Baltimore Bullets in 1964) in the Western Division.  Cincinnati moved to the East to go with Boston, New York, and Syracuse (who would move to Philadelphia and become the 76ers in 1964).  Los Angeles beat St. Louis in 7 games in the Western Division Finals while Boston beat Cincinnati in 7 games in the Eastern Division Finals.

The Celtics took two close games at home to start the Finals and then took Game 4 in Los Angeles to take a 3-1 series lead.  But the Lakers shocked everybody by winning Game 5 in Boston as Elgin Baylor had 43 points and Jerry West followed with 32.  So the Lakers had momentum coming back home for Game 6.  The atmosphere was charged at the Los Angeles Sports Arena with a 15,000 sellout.  The Lakers also opened closed-circuit TVs in a theater for $2.50 a piece and 6,000 seats were sold.

After LA took a 9-5 lead as Rudy LaRusso got 2 buckets, the Celtics went on a typical 11-0 run.  The Lakers came back with a 10-0 run and took a 35-33 lead after one on two Jerry West free throws.  The Celtics started the second quarter on an 8-0 run as rookie John Havlicek came in off the bench and sparked the Celtics with 11 points while K.C. Jones came in and scored 9 points while shutting down Jerry West.  The Celtics big spark was Bob Cousy who had 16 first-half points on 7-for-11 shooting, hitting some long jumpers and running hooks.  The Celtics took a 66-52 halftime lead.  West was hot early and finished with 20 points in the first half but the Celtics held Baylor to 9.  The Lakers started rookie big man LeRoy Ellis in the second half in place of point guard Frank Selvy (who didn’t play in the second half) and Baylor moved to guard.  Sparked by their big lineup, the Lakers made a run to cut the Celtics’ lead to 79-75.  However, the Celtics bench helped build the lead back to 92-80 at the end of the third quarter.

With the Celtics still leading 92-83 early in the fourth, Bob Cousy tripped and sprained his ankle.  Cousy had 18 points to lead the Celtics and even got a standing ovation from the Laker crowd.  With the Lakers down 96-87, they made a run when West made a driving layup, Baylor got a fast break dunk and then hit a wing jumper over Russell and it was 96-93.  Sam Jones then made his first field goal of the game on a jumper from the left baseline at the end of the shot clock.  Then Baylor hit an elbow jumper and reserve Dick Barnett hit two free throws and it was a one-point game.  After Russell and West made baskets and Heinsohn and Sam Jones missed free throws it was 100-99 Boston and Jerry West was going to the free throw line for one shot to tie it.  It was then that Bob Cousy came back into the game and got another ovation.  West missed the free throw and then Tom ‘Satch’ Sanders hit back-to-back set shots (the second on a pass from Cousy).  The Lakers cut it to 104-102 and had the ball but West threw a cross-court lop pass to LaRusso that was intercepted by Heinsohn.  Tommy went down and scored to kill the crowd’s energy.  But the Lakers wouldn’t go away.  Dick Barnett got a three-point play and it was 108-107 with 43 seconds left.  The Celtics ran down the shot clock and then Cousy attempted a long shot that was missed.  There was a scramble for the rebound but it eventually went to Heinsohn under the basket who was fouled.  Tommy made the two free throws for a 110-107 lead and then made two more after a Lakers miss that put the game out of reach.  The final second of the game was Bob Cousy getting the ball in his final moment in a Celtics uniform and throwing it high in the air as the buzzer went off.  The Celtics had done it for the fifth consecutive year.

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (22) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (18) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (12) – Center

Bob Cousy (18) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (5) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

John Havlicek (18)

K.C. Jones (9)

Frank Ramsey (10)

Jim Loscutoff (0)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

Los Angeles starters (points scored)

Elgin Baylor (28) – Small Forward

Rudy LaRusso (19) – Power Forward

Gene Wiley (6) – Center

Frank Selvy (3) – Point Guard

Jerry West (32) – Shooting Guard

Los Angeles bench (points scored)

Dick Barnett (12)

Jim Krebs (0)

LeRoy Ellis (9)

Los Angeles Coach: Fred Schaus

cousy cousy

Bob Cousy went out a winner in 1963 *photos courtesy of bleacher report (2x)

January 14, 1964 – NBA All-Star Game at Boston: East 111, West 107

In this particular case, the All-Star Game itself was less significant than what happened in the pregame, or almost happened.  The players for years had been trying to get the owners to agree with them on a pension plan.  Players Union head Tom Heinsohn threatened to lead a strike of the nationally televised game if the owners didn’t schedule a meeting to discuss this.  The players even had a vote on whether they should play the game or not, going around 50-50.  The NBA was trying to get a deal signed with ABC, who was televising this game, and ABC said there was no deal if the game didn’t happen.  Some owners tried to threaten their players to play.  Most notibly Bob Short of the Lakers ordered his players Baylor and West to get dressed and get out there.  The players locked themselves in the locker room.  About 15 minutes before the scheduled tip-off, Commissioner Walter Kennedy finally relented and promised the owners would meet and discuss a pension plan, which they did.

As for the game, it was controlled by East point guard Oscar Robertson.  Robertson got an assist on the first possession when Bill Russell made a jumper (who knew Russell had range?  This shot was from just inside the right elbow).  Oscar finished with 8 assists, 14 rebounds and 26 points to take MVP.  The East steadily increased their lead.  They were up 25-22 after one, 59-49 at halftime, and 72-56 in the third quarter.  The West made a run to cut it to 86-77 after the third and closed even more in the final minutes.  But Robertson got a big steal after a Baylor defensive rebound.  Oscar laid it in and the East held on.

West starters (teams) and point totals

Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers) 15 – Small Forward

Bob Pettit (St. Louis Hawks) 19 – Power Forward

Walt Bellamy (Baltimore Bullets) 11 – Center

Guy Rodgers (San Francisco Warriors) 6 – Point Guard

Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers) 17 – Shooting Guard

West bench (teams) and point totals

Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco Warriors) 19

Don Ohl (Detroit Pistons) 8

Lenny Wilkens (St. Louis Hawks) 3

Terry Dischinger (Baltimore Bullets) 7

Bailey Howell (Detroit Pistons) 2

West Coach: Fred Schaus (Los Angeles Lakers)

East starters (teams) and point totals

Tom Heinsohn (Boston Celtics) 10 – Small Forward

Jerry Lucas (Cincinnati Royals) 11 – Power Forward

Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) 13 – Center

Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals) 26 – Point Guard

Hal Greer (Philadelphia 76ers) 13 – Shooting Guard

East bench (teams) and point totals

Sam Jones (Boston Celtics) 16

Wayne Embry (Cincinnati Royals) 13

Len Chappell (New York Knicks) 4

Chet Walker (Philadelphia 76ers) 4

Tom Gola (New York Knicks) 1

East Coach: Red Auerbach (Boston Celtics)

1964-nba-all-stars

Oscar Robertson diving on the floor with Bob Pettit and Jerry West standing over him *photo courtesy of the freeman flyer

April 24, 1964 – NBA Finals, Game 4: Boston Celtics 98 @San Francisco Warriors 95

There was a new sheriff in the West!  Wilt Chamberlain and the San Francisco Warriors grabbed the top seed and then beat St. Louis in a 7-game Western Division Final.  Meanwhile, surprisingly the Celtics took the Eastern Division crown with a league-best 59-21 record (sarcasm if you couldn’t tell – although they were challenged closely in the East by the 55-25 Cincinnati Royals).  The Celtics then easily defeated the Royals in the Eastern Division Finals to make it to their 8th consecutive NBA Finals.  Boston took the first two games in Boston but got blown out in Game 3 115-91.  The Warriors kept the momentum going as they had a 10-point lead in the first half of Game 4.  San Francisco led 44-40 at halftime and the start of the second half is where the original broadcast picks up with Marty Glickman and Lakers Coach Fred Schaus.

Chamberlain had 10 points at halftime of this game and got 6 of the first 8 Warriors points in the second half as they went ahead 52-47 early.  But then the Celtics went on a typical run.  Sam Jones hit back-to-back jumpers, then Heinsohn got a fast break layup and subsequent free throw to give Boston their first lead of the game at 54-52.  Heinsohn then got a tip-in to put the Celtics up 56-53.  Sam Jones followed with a steal and fast-break three-point play.  Heinsohn then went on to make four consecutive shots (one jumper and three hook shots – which was what he was known for shooting) and the Celtics took a 69-58 lead.  San Francisco trailed by as many as 14 but made a run in the fourth.  With the score 92-84 Boston, San Francisco’s defense stepped up and forced some turnovers.  Not all of those resulted in points though as Tom Meschery missed an easy fast-break layup on a pass from Guy Rodgers.  But most of them did, Rodgers hit a runner and a free throw and then Chamberlain tapped in a Rodgers miss and it was 92-89.  With the Celtics up 92-91, Havlicek missed an elbow jumper.  But Bill Russell got a big offensive rebound and Havlicek nailed a jumper from the same spot.  Then after a Rodgers miss, Heinsohn penetrated to the lane and dished off to Russell for a dunk that put the Celtics up 96-91.  After the Warriors cut it to 96-95, Havlicek got behind the defense to receive a long pass (Havlicek was drafted by the Cleveland Browns as a wide receiver by the way).  Hondo was fouled and his two free throws put the game out of reach.  The Celtics went back home with a 3-1 lead.

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (25) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (12) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (8) – Center

K.C. Jones (3) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (23) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

John Havlicek (18)

Frank Ramsey (5)

Willie Naulls (4)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

San Francisco starters (points scored)

Tom Meschery (12) – Small Forward

Nate Thurmond (13) – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (27) – Center

Guy Rodgers (23) – Point Guard

Al Attles (4) – Shooting Guard

San Francisco bench (points scored)

Gary Phillips (10)

Wayne Hightower (6)

George Lee (0)

San Francisco Coach: Alex Hannum

April 26, 1964 – NBA Finals, Game 5: San Francisco Warriors 99 @Boston Celtics 105

This particular highlight narrated by Marty Glickman I believe was a cross between highlights from Game 2 and Game 5 at the Boston Garden.  This is the type of thing that only I would notice (and only I would be bothered by… oh well).  Glickman’s narration of the end of first quarter and halftime score in the highlight are scores from Game 2 (a Celtics blowout).  There were also narrations of the final minutes of a close Game 5.  The Celtics were up 101-99 when Heinsohn took a corner shot that missed.  But Russell slammed it in for a four-point margin.  Havlicek clinched it with 2 free throws and the Celtics fans ran out onto the court to celebrate a 6th consecutive championship.

San Francisco starters (points scored)

Tom Meschery (9) – Small Forward

Nate Thurmond (11) – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (30) – Center

Guy Rodgers (19) – Point Guard

Al Attles (11) – Shooting Guard

San Francisco bench (points scored)

Wayne Hightower (10)
Gary Hill (0)

George Lee (9)

San Francisco Coach: Alex Hannum

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (19) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (11) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (14) – Center

K.C. Jones (7) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (18) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

John Havlicek (14)

Frank Ramsey (18)

Willie Naulls (4)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

samjones

Sam Jones drives in for a layup *photo courtesy of inside hoops

January 13, 1965 – NBA All-Star Game at St. Louis: East 124, West 123

For the second straight All-Star Game, a story surrounding the game overshadowed the game itself.  Would the San Francisco Warriors really trade the great Wilt Chamberlain?  After a Finals appearance the season before, the Warriors came into the All-Star break with an 11-33 record.  With this record, attendance went down and Wilt Chamberlain had a large contract which was more money than the Warriors owners could afford to give him because they were losing at the gate.  Because he wasn’t getting his money, Wilt was unhappy and wasn’t quite playing to his overall level.  The Warriors were shopping Chamberlain around during the All-Star break and were surprisingly not getting anywhere (there was a lot of perception of Wilt’s selfishness).  The Lakers owners gave the players a vote on whether they should go after Chamberlain and it was a landslide in favor of not going after Wilt.  Finally, the Warriors obliged Wilt two days after the All-Star Game.  They traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for Connie Dierking, Paul Neumann, Lee Shaffer, and cash.  Trading Chamberlain for three decently OK players at best and cash can indicate to one how desperate the Warriors were to unload Wilt.

But for the game, the West still had Wilt as well as Nate Thurmond, his replacement at center in San Francisco.  The East led by Robertson, Russell and eventual game MVP Jerry Lucas took a 36-27 lead after one quarter and a 75-61 lead at halftime.  After trailing 107-91 at the end of the third quarter, the West’s defense stepped up and held the East to 17 fourth quarter points.  They came back led by young and athletic Baltimore forward Gus Johnson.  But they could not overtake the East, their last basket was a steal and fast break dunk by Bob Pettit (playing in his final NBA season) to cut East’s lead to 124-123.  But the East was able to run out the clock.

East starters (teams) and point totals

Lucious Jackson (Philadelphia 76ers) 5 – Small Forward

Jerry Lucas (Cincinnati Royals) 25 – Power Forward

Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) 17 – Center

Oscar Robertson (Cincinnati Royals) 28 – Point Guard

Sam Jones (Boston Celtics) 6 – Shooting Guard

East bench (teams) and point totals

Willis Reed (New York Knicks) 7

Hal Greer (Philadelphia 76ers) 13

Wayne Embry (Cincinnati Royals) 11

Johnny Green (New York Knicks) 8

Larry Costello (Philadelphia 76ers) 4

East Coach: Red Auerbach (Boston Celtics)

West starters (teams) and point totals

Elgin Baylor (Los Angeles Lakers) 18 – Small Forward

Bob Pettit (St. Louis Hawks) 13 – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco Warriors) 20 – Center

Lenny Wilkens (St. Louis Hawks) 8 – Point Guard

Jerry West (Los Angeles Lakers) 20 – Shooting Guard

West bench (teams) and point totals

Gus Johnson (Baltimore Bullets) 25

Terry Dischinger (Detroit Pistons) 5

Walt Bellamy (Baltimore Bullets) 12

Don Ohl (Baltimore Bullets) 2

Nate Thurmond (San Francisco Warriors) 0

West Coach: Alex Hannum (San Francisco Warriors) – at this point in the NBA, the All-Star Game coaches were the previous year’s division champions, it wasn’t until 1969 that the coaches who’s team had the best record at the break got to coach the All-Star teams.  So Alex Hannum was coaching the West despite an 11-33 record at the break.

April 15, 1965 – Eastern Division Finals, Game 7: Philadelphia 76ers 109 @Boston Celtics 110

Similar to Wilt’s 100 point game, I only have a recap of this game.  But it needs to be included with this being one of the most famous games in NBA History (Havlicek stole the ball!!!!!!!!!!!!).  The 76ers came into the playoffs third place in the Eastern Division with a 40-40 record (19-18 since acquiring Chamberlain).  But the 76ers with Chamberlain were still dangerous as they proved to the 62-18 Celtics.  Philadelphia beat the Cincinnati Royals in the Semifinals and then won all three games in Philadelphia versus the Celtics.  The Celtics won the first three games in Boston, so with the 7th game at the Garden the Celtics were favored to win.

But the 76ers, after falling behind by 9 at the end of the 1st quarter, took a 62-61 lead at halftime.  The Celtics took the advantage in the second half and grew it to 110-103 after Satch Sanders deflected an inbounds pass to K.C. Jones, then got a return pass from Sam Jones for a layup with a minute left.  But then Wilt scored 6 unanswered points, the last two on an uncontested dunk with 5 seconds left.  Russell was set to inbound for the Celtics, but his pass went off the guy-wire and it was a Boston turnover.  Back in the early days before breakaway rims, the baskets were supported by guy-wires.  And the 6’10” Russell hit the low-lying wire on the inbounds pass.  So Philadelphia got the ball under their own basket with 5 seconds left with a chance to hit a shot and eliminate the Celtics.  The 76ers had guard Hal Greer inbounding the ball with forwards Chet Walker and Lucious Jackson out on the floor with big men Johnny ‘Red’ Kerr and Chamberlain.  They were going against a Boston lineup of Russell, Sanders, Havlicek, and both Sam and K.C. Jones.  The play was for Chet Walker to get a shot off a Kerr screen.  But the pass to Walker was deflected by Havlicek to Sam Jones and the Celtics survived.  They went on to beat the Elgin Baylor-less Los Angeles Lakers in an easy 5-game series in the NBA Finals for their seventh straight championship.

My particular problem with the 76ers last inbounds play was that nobody was moving to get open.  It was documented by Havlicek in interviews that he was counting ‘one-1,000’ ‘two-1,000′ three-1,000’ when Greer had the ball out-of-bounds knowing he had 5 seconds to get it in.  Greer still had the ball at ‘three-1,000’ but then Havlicek took a little bigger peek and was able to get a jump on the ball and deflect it.  But Walker was just standing outside and not moving before the inbounds pass and didn’t come to the ball.  While Kerr, Chamberlain, and Jackson were just standing under the basket not moving and being easily face-guarded by Sam Jones, Russell and Sanders.  I know I linked it earlier but watch it again and check out if you see what I see.

Philadelphia starters (points scored)

Chet Walker (24) – Small Forward

Lucious Jackson (8) – Power Forward

Wilt Chamberlain (30) – Center

Larry Costello (3) – Point Guard

Hal Greer (12) – Shooting Guard

Philadelphia bench (points scored)

Dave Gambee (25)

Al Bianchi (7)

Red Kerr (0)

Philadelphia Coach: Dolph Schayes

Boston starters (points scored)

Tom Heinsohn (2) – Small Forward

Satch Sanders (18) – Power Forward

Bill Russell (15) – Center

K.C. Jones (6) – Point Guard

Sam Jones (37) – Shooting Guard

Boston bench (points scored)

John Havlicek (26)

Larry Siegfried (6)

Boston Coach: Red Auerbach

The 1960’s NBA Part 2 post is here.

Advertisements

From → NBA

2 Comments
  1. Nice post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info particularly the last section 🙂 I maintain such information a lot. I used to be looking for this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thank you and good luck.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: