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George Yardley
The Pistons' George Yardley had the best year of his career, leading the NBA in scoring at 27.8 points a game.
NBAE Photos/NBAE/Getty Images

Season review: 1957-58

Posted Mar 2 2013 10:54PM


The NBA took giant strides in cementing its big-league image when the Fort Wayne Pistons moved to Detroit and the Rochester Royals moved to Cincinnati. Just three years earlier, half the NBA's teams were based in metropolitan areas with less than a million people; now only Syracuse was in that category.

Fans in Detroit were treated to the offensive exploits of George Yardley, who led the league in scoring while becoming the first player in NBA history to score 2,000-plus points in a season (2001).

In a Jan. 12 rout of those same Pistons, Syracuse's Dolph Schayes had 23 points to surpass George Mikan as the NBA's all-time scorer. Mikan scored 11,764 points in 439 games while Schayes had 11,770 points in 655 games at the time.

Boston in the East and St. Louis in the West were clearly the class of the league, with each team winning its division by eight games over a 72-game schedule.

Boston took Philadelphia in five games to win what was now a best-of-7 Division finals, while St. Louis also bested Detroit in five games.

When St. Louis and Boston split the first two games in Boston, it seemed another classic series was in the offing. But Bill Russell's sprained ankle in Game 3 turned the series in the Hawks' favor. Boston showed gritty determination by tying the series with a win in Game 4 without Russell, but St. Louis won Game 5 in Boston by two points and Hawks forward Bob Pettit exploded for 50 points in Game 6 to give St. Louis its only league title.

Pettit won only one championship during his illustrious career, but that says more about the Celtics' dominance during that period than about the desire of the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward from LSU. Pettit burned with an inner fire that never let him be satisfied with his performance.

"When I fall below what I know I can do, my belly growls and growls," Pettit once said.


Eastern Division semifinals

Philadelphia defeated Syracuse (2-1)

Western Division semifinals

Detroit defeated Cincinnati (2-0)

Eastern Division finals

Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-1)

Western Division finals

St. Louis defeated Detroit (4-1)

NBA Finals

St. Louis defeated Boston (4-2)

Season leaders

PPG -- George Yardley, Detroit Pistons (27.8)
RPG -- Bill Russell, Boston Celtics (22.7)
FG% -- Jack Twyman, Cincinnati Royals (.452)
FT% -- Dolph Schayes, Syracuse Nationals (.904)
Assists -- Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics (7.1)

Award winners

Most Valuable Player -- Bill Russell, Boston Celtics
Rookie of the Year -- Woody Sauldsberry, Philadelphia Warriors
All-Star Game MVP -- Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks

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Hassan Whiteside gets in down low and jams it in with two hands.
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Seth Curry drives off the screen and hits the jump shot, plus the foul.
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Harrison Barnes gets both defenders up with the fake and banks in the nice layup.

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