Posted Mar 2 2013 10:40PM
When Wilt Chamberlain got traded for the second (and final) time in his career -- this time to the Lakers -- he and the L.A. faithful had championship dreams. Yet once again, the Celtics dashed the hopes of Chamberlain (and the Lakers).
This was a season when two rookies made huge waves. The San Diego Rockets' Elvin Hayes won the scoring title after averaging 28.4 points, while Baltimore's Wes Unseld joined Chamberlain as the only players to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. Unseld averaged 13.8 rebounds and was second only to Chamberlain with 18.2 rebounds.
Two new franchises -- the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks -- made their debut as expansion franchises. Walt Bellamy set a record for games played, too. Bellamy, who began the season with New York before a trade sent him to Detroit, ended up playing 88 games because the Knicks had a busier early season schedule.
The Knicks had long been a league doormat, making the playoffs just once from 1956-66. But a couple of interesting developments had occurred in New York that would have an impact down the road. Red Holzman, the former Hawks coach in Milwaukee and St. Louis, replaced Dick McGuire as Knicks coach in midseason and took the 15-22 Knicks to a 28-17 mark the rest of the way to reach the playoffs.
Rhodes Scholar Bill Bradley of Princeton, Walt Frazier of Southern Illinois and Phil Jackson of North Dakota all made their rookie debuts. And in December, the Knicks made another important addition, obtaining Dave DeBusschere from Detroit for Bellamy and Howie Komives.
Once the playoffs began, Boston and Los Angeles romped through the competition to set up The Finals. L.A. held home court advantage and, with the series tied 3-3, felt confident as Game 7 at The Forum approached. Owner Jack Kent Cooke had set up balloons in the ceiling to be released when the Lakers won it all. But Boston ended up making Los Angeles pay, thanks to a friendly bounce of a Don Nelson jump shot that all-but clinched the title.
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.
Eastern Division semifinals
New York defeated Baltimore (4-0)
Boston defeated Philadelphia (4-1)
Western Division semifinals
Atlanta defeated San Diego (4-2)
Los Angeles defeated San Francisco (4-2)
Eastern Division finals
Boston defeated New York (4-2)
Western Division finals
Los Angeles defeated Atlanta (4-1)
Boston defeated Los Angeles (4-3)
PPG -- Elvin Hayes, San Diego Rockets (28.4)
FG% -- Wilt Chamberlain, L.A. Lakers (.583)
FT% -- Larry Siegfried, Boston Celtics (.864)
Assists -- Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (9.8)
Rebounds -- Wilt Chamberlain, L.A. Lakers (21.1)
Most Valuable Player -- Wes Unseld, Baltimore Bullets
Rookie of the Year -- Wes Unseld, Baltimore Bullets
Coach of the Year -- Gene Shue, Baltimore Bullets
All-Star Game MVP -- Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals
Finals MVP -- Jerry West, L.A. Lakers
|Do Cavs Lack Toughness?|
As the East's 1-seed remains up for grabs, LeBron said the Cavs aren't tough enough. The Starters debate.
|NBA Digital to Cover Lakers' Unveiling of Shaquille O'Neal Statue|
NBA TV will cover the Lakers' unveiling of Shaquille O'Neal's statue, live from Star Plaza in Los Angeles on Friday, March 24 during the 7 p.m. edition of NBA GameTime (also streamed live via NBA.com). O'Neal, a Turner Sports NBA analyst, will be joined by former teammates and other Lakers notables during the dedication ceremony.
|NBATV Update: 3 Pointers at 3|
Check out the latest headlines from around the association.
|Clippers Playoff Hope|
The Players Only crew discuss the state of Chris Paul and the Clippers as they try to hang onto a playoff spot in a very tough Western Conference.
|24 Seconds with DeMar DeRozan|
He's become one of the NBA's premier scorers…now Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan tries to beat the shot clock in 24 seconds! Watch him in action tonight at 7:30pm ET on NBA TV as he takes on the Miami Heat!