Willis Reed returned to the Knicks after injuries had limited him to 11 games the previous season. Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, long-time adversaries when Monroe was with Baltimore, learned to coexist in the New York backcourt. Jerry Lucas, like Monroe, had been obtained in a trade and shared the center spot with Reed. Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere were at their familiar forward spots, with Phil Jackson again in reserve. But the top team during the regular season was Boston, which had rebuilt around John Havlicek with young stars Jo Jo White and Dave Cowens, veteran Paul Silas, and 1969 title team holdovers Don Chaney, Don Nelson and Satch Sanders. Boston won 68 games, just one shy of the league record the Lakers established a season earlier. Meanwhile, the 76ers, who lost Billy Cunningham to the ABA, suffered through an NBA record worst 9-73 season.

Walt Frazier found harmony with Earl Monroe in the New York backcourt.

New York breezed past Baltimore in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, then battled tooth-and-nail with Boston before the younger Celtics succumbed in a surprisingly easy Game 7. The Lakers defeated Chicago in seven games, then moved past a well-balanced Golden State team in five to reach the Finals. With the same Finals matchup for the third time in four years, there were few secrets between the two teams. After the Lakers edged New York in Game 1, the Knicks won four straight closely contested games to bring a second NBA title to New York.

"TINY" MAKES BIG IMPRESSION
While Boston grabbed the headlines during the regular season with 68 victories and New York won its second Championship, a remarkable story was being played out in the unlikely settings of Kansas City, MO and Omaha, NE. The Cincinnati Royals had moved after the 1972 season and were splitting home games between the two cities. Although the team went 36-46 and didn't qualify for the Playoffs, the fans witnessed greatness in the form of 6-foot guard Nate "Tiny" Archibald, in his third pro season.

Archibald, a New York guard with all the playground moves, led the NBA in both scoring (34.0) and assists (11.4). He belied his slight frame by playing a league-leading 46 minutes per game. More than two decades later, no one has come close to matching Archibald's dual achievement.