Celtics dynasty age


Russell (Bos) vs Chamberlain (Phi)

NBA 1961-‘62: 9 teams

 

Season Recap:

The 1961-62 season would be defined by the amazing feats of two players: Wilt Chamberlain and Oscar Robertson.

Not only did Chamberlain, the Philadelphia Warriors center, average a staggering 50.4 points, but poured in an NBA-record 100 points in a game against the Knicks on March 2, 1962. Chamberlain was 36-for-63 from the field and went 28-for-32 from the free-throw line in a 169-147 victory. Although 4,124 were in attendance, many thousands more would claim to have been there for decades afterward.

Aside from that scoring feat, Chamberlain proved he was plenty durable, too. He played in all but eight possible minutes for the Warriors and set single-season league records for minutes per game (48.5) and minutes played 3,882.

As for Robertson, all he did was something that has never been done before -- or since: average a triple-double (30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists). In the next three seasons, Robertson would come close to duplicating his accomplishment, but never did.

Chicago had been added to the league as an expansion franchise, and the Packers' center, Walt Bellamy, won Rookie of the Year honors by averaging 31.6 ppg (second in the league behind Chamberlain) and 19.0 rpg and leading the league with a .519 shooting percentage. The Packers would eventually become the Washington Bullets, who would then become the Washington Wizards.

While Chamberlain was setting records that would hold up for decades, the Celtics were busily adding to their dynasty, winning a record 60 games in an 80-game season. In contrast to Chamberlain's scoring feats, no Boston player appeared among the NBA's top 10 in scoring.

Boston and Philadelphia engaged in one of their legendary battles in the Eastern Division Finals, with Sam Jones hitting a jump shot with two seconds left in Game 7 to give the Celtics the win. St. Louis' run of Finals appearances ended with the Lakers winning 54 games and advancing to the Finals against Boston. Boston came back from being down 2-1 and 3-2 in the series to win a fourth straight NBA title in dramatic fashion in Game 7 at the Boston Garden.

Frank Selvy of the Lakers had the chance to put Boston away on the parquet in Game 7. With seconds remaining and the score tied, Selvy was being guarded by Bob Cousy, who had left him momentarily to double-team West. When Hot Rod Hundley passed him the ball, Selvy had a good look at an eight-foot shot.

But his shot bounced off the rim and the game went into overtime, where Boston prevailed 110-107.

"It was a fairly tough shot because I was almost on the baseline," Selvy said. "But I would trade all my points for that last basket."

(Source: NBA.com)


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Russell vs Chamberlain at the Finals

NBA 1968-‘69: 14 teams

 

Season Recap:

Wilt Chamberlain, who absorbed criticism after his loss to Boston the previous year, demanded a trade out of his hometown, Philadelphia. So he would make major waves by joining Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and the Los Angeles Lakers. Never before had three such highly rated NBA stars become teammates. It put Chamberlain's team in the favourite role for the third straight year.

Four NBA teams won 50 or more games this year. While Russell and Chamberlain remained the subject of much discussion, the team of the year was the Baltimore Bullets. Just 36-46 a year before, the Bullets rallied around 6' 7 250-pound rookie Wes Unseld (MVP and Rookie of the year as only Wilt) and won a league-high 57 of 82 NBA games. Guard Earl Monroe followed up on his Rookie Of The Year trophy from a year ago to finish second in the NBA in scoring.

The Los Angeles Lakers won 55 games and the NBA's West Division. The New York Knicks also made waves this year by winning 54 games to be a strong third in the East. Dave DeBusschere was brought over by coach Red Holzman in trade for star center Walt Bellamy and point guard Howie Komives. DeBusschere complemented center Willis Reed perfectly. With strong guard play, led by Walt Frazier, and a solid bench, the Knicks were a contender after years of mediocrity.

Just off the radar were two 48-game winners, the Boston Celtics and the new Atlanta Hawks. In Beantown the 34-year-old player/coach Bill Russell was fighting through a knee injury, and the club he led to a title a year before did not appear to be a convincing champion.

Eight of the NBA's now-fourteen teams finished .500 or better this year, a fact helped very much by the expansion teams, the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks, that made their debut making up the bulk of the West Division.

In the Playoffs, the aging Celtics after eliminated the 76ers, fought off the surging Knicks in 6 tight games, closing the series in Game 6 at the Boston Garden, winning a nail-biter game by 106-105. The Lakers instead went down 0-2 to the Warriors in the first round but surged to win in six and then prevailed also to the Hawks, relocated just that year from St- Louis to Atlanta. Another classic Finals series was set between Lakers and Celtics, but the Lakers certainly looked like favourites this time.

The Lakers got a big start by winning two close games at home. Los Angeles fans sensed their victory coming after years of frustration. But Boston won their two home games next, including a 89-88 nail-biter in Game Four, keyed by a last-second basket by Sam Jones. The two teams then exchanged home wins again to force Game Seven in Los Angeles, where a Lakers victory was eagerly expected by fans. Five of Boston's top players in minutes played were over age 30, but they ran hard to pull out to a 17-point fourth quarter lead. With just over five minutes to play, and the Lakers down by 9, the 32-year-old Chamberlain came down awkwardly after a rebound try and limped to the bench in pain. Replaced by seven-foot back-up Mel Counts, the Lakers cut the margin to one, but stalled despite having several chances to take the lead. In the final minutes, Chamberlain had recovered enough to return and signalled to Van Breda Kolff to put him back in. But the Lakers coach ignored him, thinking Counts could outlast the Celtic charge. He was wrong, and the Celtics reasserted command following a key shot by Don Nelson with a minute to play. Boston, winner of eleven out of the last thirteen NBA titles, gave Bill Russell his eleventh championship ring while Wilt watched from the bench, 108-106.

Jerry West finished with 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in the Game 7 loss and was named Finals MVP, the first and only time the award has gone to a member of the losing team. Though the Celtics had won their 11th title in 13 seasons, it wasn't all good times in Boston. Three months after winning the title, Bill Russell announced his retirement.

(Source: Wikipedia)

 

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Willis Reed vs Wilt Chamberlain

NBA 1969-'70: 14 Teams

 

Season Recap:

The 1969-'70 season saw the NBA into a new decade as well as a new era. The retirement of Bill Russell from the Celtics at the end of the 1968-69 season effectively signaled the end of the Celtics dynasty that had dominated the NBA for the past decade. The New York Knickerbockers were the top team in the league. The Knicks, as they were well-known, had a solid team of players led by star center Willis Reed and rising star guard Walt Frazier. Dave DeBusschere combined with them to anchor the league's best defense. Coach Red Holzman led the club to wins in 60 of its 82 regular season games to top the league. In just their second season in the league Milwaukee Bucks totaled 56 wins behind rookie superstar Lew Alcindor, signed after a bidding war with the ABA. The rookie, a 7'2 230-pound center, averaged 29 points per game on 52% shooting, was also third in rebounds, seventh in shooting accuracy, second in minutes played, and blocked more shots than any center since Russell or Chamberlain, making him a strong MVP candidate in just his first year. The Baltimore Bullets also reached the 50-win plateau, behind guards Earl Monroe and Kevin Loughery, whose were the team's main scoring threats, while center Wes Unseld and forward Gus Johnson excelled at rebounding. The Atlanta Hawks won the NBA's West Division title with 48 wins. The Hawks of coach Rich Guerin fielded a solid starting five, led again by scorer Lou Hudson and star center Walt Bellamy. Right behind the Hawks at 46 wins were the Los Angeles Lakers whose starting five had to account early for an injury to Wilt Chamberlain, who played just twelve regular-season games. Happy Hairston joined Elgin Baylor to average 20 points per game, even as Elgin was hampered by injury for much of the year. Guard Jerry West led the NBA in scoring, averaging 31.2 points per game on 50% shooting from the field and 82% from the free throw line. He also added 7.5 assists and solid defense in the backcourt yet again. Only one other team, the declining Philadelphia 76ers of Billy Cunningham and Hal Greer had a winning record that year, for a total of just 6 out of the NBA's 14 teams. This was down two teams from a year ago and represented a balancing out of talent as the have-not expansion teams began to acquire talent. The best example of this was Alcindor. The Cincinnati Royals and Boston Celtics both fell far this year. Cincinnati hired former hated rival Bob Cousy as coach, and he jettisoned Ohio's most famous player, Jerry Lucas, to San Francisco. He also attempted to trade Oscar Robertson and then placed Robertson, the NBA's all-time passing guard, at shooting guard. The Royals went on to only win 36 games and miss the playoffs. After the retirement of Bill Russell, the defending NBA champion Celtics only won 34 games and finished second to last in the Eastern Division.

In the Playoffs unusually, the NBA had the division winners face the third-best teams, while the second-seeds faced the fourth seeded teams in Round One. New York met third-place Baltimore in a rematch of the previous year's playoff series and the Knicks won the series in 7 games, including an overtime win in Game 1. New York then met Milwaukee and eliminated the Bucks in five games guarding Alcindor's teammates, while Willis Reed challenged the young superstar. In the West, The Lakers survived a seven-game series with the second-year Phoenix Suns. The Suns had a strong frontline led by Paul Silas and former ABA star Connie Hawkins. The Suns also had solid guards in Dick Van Arsdale and Gail Goodrich, but had no answer for Chamberlain in game 7. The Lakers then swept the Hawks in four games. Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain were again on a mission, but the Lakers bench may have been the deciding factor in this series The NBA now had a classic New York vs Los Angeles championship series that delighted league management. New York winning Game 1 at home but the Lakers evened the series, winning Game 2 105-103 at Madison Square Garden. Games 3 and 4 were in Los Angeles, and both went into overtime. The Knicks took Game 3, 111-108, and Los Angeles won Game 4 to re-even the series at 2-2. Jerry West's 60-foot heave to send the game to overtime would have won the game as a 3-pointer under modern rules. New York had the edge in Game 5 until Reed collapsed with a torn leg muscle, allowing Chamberlain a strong advantage. Knicks coach Red Holzman devised a strategy to confuse the Lakers with a centerless lineup, rotating different defenders on Chamberlain. The Knicks went on to win 107-100. With Reed out, Chamberlain scored 45 points in Game 6 in Los Angeles to knot the series again at 3. Game 7 would be in New York, but without Reed, the Knicks appeared to have little chance of winning. Then Reed emerged from the locker room at the beginning of Game 7 and joined his team on the floor, shocking thousands and surprising the Lakers. Energized by their big man's effort, the Knicks roared to an early lead and held on long after Reed limped to the bench. The Knicks achieved sports immortality with the 113-99 victory, their first NBA title. Reed was lionized for his effort, but it was also Dave DeBusschere's stellar inside play and Walt Frazier's brilliant all-around game that won the game for New York. Chamberlain and West were runners-up again, their outstanding stats and performances again good only for second place.

(Source: Wikipedia)

 

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