Posted Jun 16 2010 11:15PM
Game 7 of the NBA Finals. It's the ultimate basketball experience. 48 minutes (or maybe five or 10 more if we're lucky) for everything.
As basketball fans, we couldn't ask for more, especially with the history of these two franchises and the talent of these two rosters. And of course, since we haven't seen many Finals Game 7s in recent memory, we should savor sitting down to watch the Lakers and Celtics put it all on the line Thursday night.
Before we do, here are 16 things you may not have know about the 16 previous editions of Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
1. The Lakers and Celtics are the only franchises to have won more than one Finals Game 7. The Lakers are 3-5 (1-5 since they moved to L.A.), with four of their five losses coming at the hands of Boston, who is 7-0. Other franchises to play in more than one Finals Game 7 are the Knicks (1-3), the Pistons (0-3), the 76ers (1-1 as the Syracuse Nationals) and the Hawks (0-2 when they played in St. Louis).
2. There were five Finals Game 7s in a seven-year stretch between 1951 and 1957. Before this year, there had only been one in the last 15 years. This is just the fourth Game 7 in the 26 years since the Finals switched to the 2-3-2 format. That's a Game 7 every 6.5 years. Before that, there was a Game 7 every 2.9 years.
3. The Western Conference won the first three Finals Game 7s. Then the East won 10 in a row. And now the West has won three straight again. The average score of Finals Game7s (by conference) has been East 98, West 96.
|NBA Finals Game 7s|
|* Road team|
4. The home team has won 13 of the 16 Finals Game7s. The only road winners were the 1969 Celtics (over the Lakers), the 1974 Celtics (over the Bucks), and the 1978 Bullets (over the Sonics). All three were East over West. The average score of Finals Game 7s has been Home 99, Road 95.
5. Rasheed Wallace is the only player on the current Lakers or Celtics who has played in a Finals Game 7. In fact, only 11 active players have. Wallace scored 11 points on 5-for-10 shooting and grabbed one rebound in 28 minutes in the Pistons' 81-74 loss to the Spurs in 2005.
6. Both the Spurs and Pistons went with short rotations in Game 7 of the 2005 Finals. Only seven players for each team played more than one minute, and only six scored for the Spurs.
7. Both Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Lakers coach Phil Jackson were members of Knicks teams that played in a Game 7 of the Finals, but both missed that particular postseason with injuries. Jackson missed all of the 1969-70 season and Rivers played only the first 19 games of the 1993-94 season.
8. Twelve of the 16 Finals Game 7s have been determined by 10 points or less, and seven have been determined by four points or less. The average margin of victory is 7.3 points. The biggest blowout was the Celtics' 122-103 win over the St. Louis Hawks in 1960.
9. Two Finals Game 7s have gone to overtime. The Celtics beat the Hawks 125-123 in double-OT in 1957, and they beat the Lakers 110-107 in overtime in 1962.
10. When Ray Allen went 0-for-13 in Game 3 of these Finals, he fell one miss short of the Finals record for most field goal attempts in a game without a make. The record is held by Chick Reiser (Baltimore, 1948) and Dennis Johnson, whose 0-for-14 performance came in Game 7 of the 1978 Finals, as the Sonics lost at home to the Bullets, 105-99.
11. There have been two triple-doubles in Game 7 of the Finals, both by Lakers. Finals MVP James Worthy had one (36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists) in a 108-105 win over the Pistons in 1988, the only triple-double of his career. Jerry West had the other (42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists) in a 108-106 loss to the Celtics in 1969.
12. West's 42 points in 1969 is the record for most points in a Finals Game 7. He was the first winner of the Finals MVP award that year, and thus far has been the only winner of the award from the losing team.
13. Bill Russell holds the record for most rebounds in a Finals Game 7. He had 40 in the Celtics 110-107 overtime win over the Lakers in 1962.
14. Walt "Clyde" Frazier holds the record for most assists in a Finals Game 7. He had 19 in the Knicks' 113-99 win over the Lakers in 1970, a game more known for Willis Reed limping onto the court at Madison Square Garden. Also scoring 36 points, Frazier was responsible for 65 percent of New York's offense.
15. Russell has played in the most Game 7s of the Finals, and he won all five. Having retired in 1968, Russell never won the Finals MVP award, but the award was named after him in 2009.
16. Michael Jordan never played in a Finals Game 7, but he came close a few times. Five of the Bulls' six championships were won in six games, and four of those five Game 6s were determined by four points or less.
Some of the numbers above were compiled with the help of the Elias Sports Bureau.
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