- 1974 NBA Finals
NBA Finals summary
year = 1974
runnerup_games = 3
champion_games = 4
April 28- May 12
television = CBS (U.S.)
Pat Summerall, Rick Barry, and Rod Hundley
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Oscar Robertson
referees_5 = Game 5:
referees_6 = Game 6:
referees_7 = Game 7:
ECF result = Celtics defeat Knicks, 4-1
WCF result = Bucks defeat Bulls, 4-0
"Celtics win series 4-3"
Before the series started, Bucks point guard
Lucius Allenwould be lost for the series with a knee injury. In Game 1, the Celtics took advantage, harassing a 35-year old Oscar Robertsonand Allen's replacement, Ron Williams, into frequent turnovers. The Celtics took a 35-19 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 98-83 win in Milwaukee. Kareem Abdul-Jabbarscored 35 points for the Bucks.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbarscored 36 points, but more importantly, he took more of a role in running the Bucks' offense from the post, given their backcourt issues. His passing enabled Bob Dandridgeto score 24 points.
On the defensive end, Abdul-Jabbar forced
Dave Cowensinto shooting 3-of-13 from the floor, including a block of a Cowens shot at the end of regulation to force overtime. The Bucks won in overtime, 105-96, to even the series at a game apiece as it headed to Boston.
Sensing he was no match for Abdul-Jabbar in the paint,
Dave Cowensdecided to shoot more from the outside and scored 30 points, despite foul trouble that reduced him to 32 minutes of playing time. The Celtics' press also turned up the heat, forcing 11 first-quarter turnovers and helping Boston to a 21-point lead. With Cowens in foul trouble, seldom-used 7-footer Henry Finkeldid an admirable job of spot defense on Abdul-Jabbar, who finished with 26 points. At game's end, the Bucks had turned the ball over 27 times, enough for a 95-83 Boston win.
Ron Williamsunable to handle the Celtic press and shooting guard Jon McGlocklinnursing a sprained ankle, Bucks coach Larry Costelloturned to little-used forward Mickey Davisfor help in the backcourt. Davis at 6'7" presented matchup problems on offense for Jo Jo White, forcing Celtics coach Tom Heinsohnto assign press-master Don Chaneyto guard him. This enabled Oscar Robertsonto more effectively set up the Bucks' offense.
Davis contributed 15 points and
Kareem Abdul-Jabbarshredded the Celtics for 34 points and six assists from the low post. Milwaukee got the lead and kept it down the stretch for a 97-89 win at Boston Garden, thereby getting back their homecourt advantage.
The Celtics stole the homecourt advantage back with a 96-87 win in Milwaukee. They would have a chance to close it out at home in Game 6.
Dave Cowensgot into foul trouble early and watched from the bench as Milwaukee took a 12-point lead in the first half. The Celtics were down by six late in the game, but they came back to force overtime. John Havlicekhit a long jumper to tie it at 86-86 with a little over a minute left, then Oscar Robertsonwas caught in a 24-second violation as time expired. In the first overtime, Milwaukee led 90-88 when Don Chaneygot a steal and passed to Havlicek. Kareem Abdul-Jabbarwas back on defense and forced Havlicek to take a pull-up jumper. Havlicek missed but got the long rebound and scored to send the game into a second overtime.
In the second extra period Havlicek scored nine of Boston's 11 points. With seven seconds left he had the ball on the right baseline, and the Boston bench screamed for a timeout. Instead, Havlicek lofted a rainbow over Abdul-Jabbar for a 101-100 lead.
The Bucks called for a timeout, and instead of setting up a play for Abdul-Jabbar, strangely decided to set up a play for a hobbled
Jon McGlocklinwhere Abdul-Jabbar would set a pick. McGlocklin couldn't get free, however, and Abdul-Jabbar, with the ball, moved to the right of the lane, dribbled to the baseline, and let fly a "sky-hook" from 17 feet with two seconds left. The Celtics put up a failed desperation heave, but that was it. The series was tied at three games apiece and going back to Milwaukee.
Homecourt advantage apparently meant very little in this series. The Celtics decided to abandon man-to-man defense and double and triple team
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This freed Dave Cowensmore on the offensive end, as he hit 8 of 13 shots in the first half on his way to 28 points and 14 rebounds. John Havlicekadded 16 as the Celtics cruised to an easy 102-87 win and their first title in the "post-Bill Russell era."
1974 NBA Playoffs
* [http://www.nba.com/history/finals/19731974.html NBA History]
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