Posted Mar 2 2013 10:55PM
The season marked the beginning of what would become sports' greatest dynasty, the reign of the Boston Celtics that would produce 11 championships in 13 years.
The Celtics had employed the group of Bob Cousy, Bill Sharman and Ed Macauley to score points in bunches for some time, but without rebounding and defense, they hadn't progressed very far in the playoffs. But Red Auerbach traded Macauley and Cliff Hagan to St. Louis for the draft rights to center Bill Russell of San Francisco, and Boston used its own pick to grab high-scoring 6-foot-7 forward Tom Heinsohn of Holy Cross.
With Russell and Heinsohn joining Cousy, Sharman, muscleman Jim Loscutoff and sixth man Frank Ramsey, the Celtics had assembled a team that would be the scourge of the league for years to come. Sharman (21.1 ppg) and Cousy (20.6) still piled up the points, but with Russell anchoring a suddenly-tough Celtics defense, Boston cruised to a league-best 44-28 record, winning the Eastern Division by a comfortable six games.
The Celtics' first title didn't come easily, though: Boston went to seven games in The Finals against the St. Louis Hawks, who featured scorers Bob Pettit, Ed Macauley and rookie Cliff Hagan. In Game 7, Heinsohn scored 37 points and pulled down 23 rebounds, and Russell scored 19 while grabbing a whopping 32 rebounds in a 125-123 double-overtime win.
Game 7 of the 1957 NBA Finals was the type of game that could advance a sport by its sheer excitement. It was a game that would be talked bout for years: how rookies Russell (19 points, 32 rebounds) and Heinsohn (37 points, 23 rebounds) stepped up and provided the win that would set the Celtic dynasty in motion.
"The first one (championship) is always the hardest, and it's also the most satisfying," reflected Auerbach. "Everywhere I went that following summer, I could tell myself, 'I'm the coach of the world champions.' "
Western Division tiebreaker
St. Louis defeated Fort Wayne
St. Louis defeated Minneapolis
Eastern Division semifinals
Syracuse defeated Philadelphia (2-0)
Western Division semifinals
Minneapolis defeated Fort Wayne (2-0)
Eastern Division finals
Boston defeated Syracuse (3-0)
Western Division finals
St. Louis defeated Minneapolis (3-0)
Boston defeated St. Louis (4-3)
PPG -- Paul Arizin, Philadelphia Warriors (25.6)
FG% -- Neil Johnston, Philadelphia Warriors (.447)
FT% -- Bill Sharman, Boston Celtics (.905)
Assists -- Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics (7.5)
Rebounds -- Maurice Stokes, Rochester Royals (16.3)
Most Valuable Player -- Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics
Rookie of the Year -- Tom Heinsohn, Boston Celtics
All-Star Game MVP -- Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics
|Off To A Good Start|
An all access look at the US Olympic Men's team as they started their exhibition tour with a win over Argentina.
|Valentine's Las Vegas Summer League Highlights|
Check out the 1st round pick of the Chicago Bulls, Denzel Valentine, putting on a show in Las Vegas Summer League action!
|Hield's Las Vegas Summer League|
Check out the dynamic scorer for the New Orleans Pelicans, Buddy Hield, as he makes his presence felt in the Las Vegas Summer League!
As the US Olympic Men's team wraps up its time in Las Vegas, here's an all-access look back at a week of practice that brought the team closer together.
|Top 100 Plays: 2016 NBA Season|
Countdown the top 100 plays from an amazing and exciting 2016 NBA Season.