All-time NBA/ABA tournament of champions: Part VI
By Cort Reynolds
The final three spots in the quarterfinals are now filled as the six best decade round losers faced off in a trio of one-game playoffs to earn entrance to the quarterfinals.
The team with the better record in their season of play and the all-time tournament was given home court for the one-game play-in contest.
The three survivors will assume the six through eight seeds.
All-time NBA/ABA Tournament of Champions Loser's Bracket
Team (with season record, playoff record, tournament record, head coach)
2012-13 Miami Heat (66-16, 16-7, 10-9 Erik Spoelstra)
1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (69-13, 12-3, 12-6 Bill Sharman)
INGLEWOOD - The two teams with the longest win streaks in NBA history faced off at the Fabulous Forum in a one game play-in battle during the knockout stage of the all-time tournamemt of champions.
But the outcome was never seriously in doubt as the star-studded 1972 Lakers roared out to a big early lead and held on to defeat the 2013 Heat 125-116, advancing to the quarterfinals after they narrowly fell in the 1970s decade championship series to the 1973 Knicks, 4-3.
LA guard Jerry West led all players with 33 points, five steals and nine assists as he orchestrated the victory from the backcourt.
On the interior, Laker center Wilt Chamberlain, despite being 35, pulled down a game-high 24 rebounds as he dominated the smaller Heat frontline inside with eight blocks as well as many altered shots.
His defense, board work and outlet passing triggered the deadly Laker break, which helped pave the way for their record 33-game win streak in 1971-72. LA crushed Miami on the glass, 70-56.
Laker power forward Happy Hairston also yanked down 14 caroms, five more than any Heat player, demonstrating the Laker superiority on the boards.
"We knew we had an advantage on the glass," said LA coach Bill Sharman. "I felt that if we could force them to shoot outside and control the boards, we could run and get easy baskets. Plus I like our halfcourt offense better than theirs. Jerry did a great job on Wade, and Gail outplayed Chalmers and the other Heat guards."
Speedy southpaw Goodrich matched his season' scoring average with 26 points, while Chalmers netted just eight. Ray Allen scored 15 off the bench for Miami but it wasn't enough to beat the better-balanced Lakers.
Los Angeles boasted the highest-scoring backcourt in NBA history (the Hall of Fame pairing of West and Goodrich combined for 51.7 ppg) and the duo hit for 59 vs. Miami to exceed their norm.
Versatile Miami MVP LeBron James tallied 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while Dwyane Wade added 25 markers, but they didn't have enough help. Chris Bosh scored 16 and grabbed eight caroms.
The Heat put together a 27-win skein in 2012-13 but played in a weakened eastern conference amid a soft Atlantic Division, and lacked a true center and any consistent or true low-post offense. In addition, they were an erratic shooting team from outside which relied on its pressure defense to force turnovers and score in transition, as well as the driving of Wade and James.
However, the veteran guards West and Goodrich were both fine, esperienced ballhandlers with the quickness, floor vision and skill to beat any Heat pressure.
LA jumped ahead 21-8 and led 30-23 after one period as West scored 11 points. Miami stayed within striking distance, down just six at the intermission. Going into the fourth stanza, LA held on to an 88-82 edge.
But Miami never got closer than four points in the final quarter. Chamberlain closed off the driving lanes toJames and Wade, and the Laker guards were able to pressure more on the perimeter as a result, leading to five West steals.
His swipe and breakaway layup put the game out of reach 123-115 in the final 30 seconds, and after James misfired from three-point land, LA rebounded and West was fouled. He canned two free throws to provide the final margin.
"We just didn't have an answer for Wilt inside, and our outside shooting was not good enough to make up for a lack of inside scoring," explained Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
Miami shot just 41 percent from the field, while LA connected on exactly half of its floor tries.
Jim McMillian added 19 points for the victors, who are expected to meet the third seeded 1986 Celtics in the quarterfinals.
West 11-23 9-11 33, Goodrich 10-19 5-6 26, Chamberlain 5-7 3-8 13, Hairston 6-13 2-4 14, McMillian 7-15 4-5 19, Riley 3-8 0-0 6, Robinson 3-5 2-2 9, Erickson 2-4 1-1 5.
Totals: 47-94 26-37 125. 3-pointers (5-13): West 2, Goodrich 1, McMillian 1, Robinson 1. Rebounds (70): Chamberlain 24, Hairston 14, West 7, McMillian 5, Goodrich 2, Riley 3, Robinson 1, Erickson 5. Team rebs: 7. Deadball rebs: 2.
Assists (23): West 9, Goodrich 5, Chamberlain 3, McMillian 2, Hairton 1, Riley 1, Robinson 1, Erickson 1. Steals (11): West 5. Blocked shots (9): Chamberlain 8. Turnovers (14).
Wade 9-22 6-8 25, Chalmers 2-8 1-2 5, Andersen 3-4 2-3 8, Bosh 6-15 4-6 16, James 11-27 5-7 28, Allen 5-11 3-3 16, Miller 3-7 2-3 10, Haslem 4-8 0-0 8.
Totals: 43-102 23-31 116. 3-pointers (7-21): Allen 3, Miller 2, Wade 1, James 1. Rebounds (56): Anderson 9, Haslem 9, James 8, Bosh 8, Wade 6, Chalmers 1, Allen 2, Miller 4. Team rebs: 8. Deadball rebs: 1. Assists (22): James 7, Wade 4, Chalmers 5, Miller 3, Allen 1, Andersen 1, Haslem 1. Steals (10): Wade 3.
Blocked shots (5): Andersen 4. Turnovers (18).
1 2 3 4 F
1972 LA 30 27 31 37 125
2013 Mia 23 28 31 34 116
Fouled out: Haslem. Technicals: Wade 1. Attendance: 17,505.
1974 Boston Celtics (56-26, 12-5, 7-5 Tom Heinsohn)
1963 Boston Celtics (58-22, 8-5, 11-7 Red Auerbach)
BOSTON - The showdown between the Celtic champions of 1963 and 1974 at Boston Garden featured intriguing matchups, with the most important one between a pair of left-handed, intelligent and athletic yet undersized centers.
Bill Russell lacked the offensive skills of fellow southpaw pivotman Dave Cowens, but no one had Bill's defensive presence and shotblocking abilities, and it may have spelled the slim difference in a 128-126 overtime thriller.
Sharpshooter Sam Jones faced off against defensive ace Don Chaney, rookie supersub John Havlicek met the 1974 Finals MVP and first team all-league version of himself, and Bob Cousy in his last season dueled against a young JoJo White.
The 1963 Celtics possessed the deeper bench with four fine reserves, led by swingmen Frank Ramsey and Hondo and defensive stopper KC Jones. But the '74 Celts featured heady forward shooter Don Nelson and young future All-Star Paul Westphal in his second season at guard off the pines. Not to mention Hall of Fame forward Tom Heinsohn going against a team he coached.
Heinsohn the coach called his 1974 champs "the quickest team in Celtic history" and both teams sought to run and wear down the other in a tight matchup.
Cowens sought to draw Russell out from under the basket with his superior outside shooting ability, and when he began to hit Auerbach countered by switching Russ into Paul Silas, the bruising power forward who was not a good shooter.
When Heinsohn answered by putting the good-shooting, heady Nelson into the game for Silas, Russell went back to Cowens and tried to crowd him and force him right.
The game was close throughout, as expected. The older version of Havlicek ran roughshod over Heisnohn and Sanders for 22 first half points. Only when the rookie version of himself guarded Hondo did the man in perpetual motion come close to slowing down.
White also had his way with the aging Cousy, but Sam Jones countered by scoring 17 furts half points and getting Chaney in foul trouble.
The 74 Celtics tied it 92-all heading into the final period. In the final moments, a Sam Jones jumper put the 63 Celts ahead by a basket.
Havlicek tied it on a running banker yet Cousy threaded the needle to Heinsohn for a hook shot. White then knocked down a jumper over Cousy in an isolation play to tie it again.
Cooz then found Sanders for a potential winner, but his jumper was off and Cowens knocked the rebound out of bounds as time expired with the score tied, 118-118.
In OT, Cousy put his teamin front with two foul shots but a running hook by Cowens tied it. Dave then switched out ona pick and knocked the ball from Cousy, outran him for the loose ball, dove and batted it to Hondo for a layup and a 122-120 edge.
A left wing banker by Sam Jones knotted the score, and Westphal, in for a fouled out Chaney, buried a tough fadeaway from the left baseline.
The game then swung on a sixth foul called on Cowens as Russell swung for a hook shot. Russell split the pair, but with Hank Finkel in for Dave, Sanders hauled in the miss and laid it back in for a 125-124 advantage.
Havlicek drove and was fouled, then calmly hit both shots to put the '74 Celts back on top by a point with 19 seconds left.
Cousy missed a one-hander but Russell rebounded and passed out to Sam Jones, who nailed an 18-footer with four ticks to go.
After a timeout, the '74 Celtics advanced the ball to halfcourt. With Havlicek double-teamed and no Cowens on the bench, Nelson threw the ball into White, who forced a 24-footer fromt he left wing that missed. Russell rebounded and was fouled with a second to go.
Russ made the first free throw but missed the second, perhaps on purpose. Silas grabbed the ball and called for timeout to have one last chance, but referee Richie Powers did not acknowledge it as time expired.
On the bench Red Auerbach put a cigar in his mouth but refused to light it since both teams were his. "Great game, great game," was all he would say later.
The 1963 Celtic bench did outscore their counterpart 40-26, but the big difference came at the charity stripe, as it often does in close games. The victors took 23 more free throws and made 13 more foul shots as the disqualifications of Chaney and Cowens proved costly.
The fiery redhead outscored Russ 25-15 but Bill won the battle of the boards, 24-19.
The elder Havlicek topped all scorers with 36 points and added eight assists to go with seven rebounds. White tallied 23 points and dished out nine assists while Cousy scored 18 and doled out a game-high 13 helpers.
Sam Jones led the winners with 26 points while Heinsohn added 19 and Havlicek added 14 markers off the pines.
"It could have gone either way," said Heinsohn. "Once Dave fouled out, the momentum swung."
Russell 5-13 5-11 15, Cousy 6-17 6-7 18, S. Jones 10-19 6-8 26, Heinsohn 7-16 5-7 19, Sanders 3-9 4-7 10, Havlicek 5-12 4-5 14, Ramsey 3-8 2-3 8, KC Jones 2-6 2-4 6, Lovellette 3-6 4-6 10, Loscutoff 1-3 0-1 2.
Totals: 45-109 38-58 128. Rebounds (74): Russell 24, Sanders 9, Heinsohn 8, Havlicek 7, Lovellette 6, S. Jones 4, Cousy 2, Ramsey 2, KC Jones 2, Loscutoff 2. Team rebounds: 6. Deadball rebounds: 2. Assists (30): Cousy 13, Russell 5, Havlicek 4, KC Jones 3, S. Jones 2, Heinsohn 1, Sanders 1, Ramsey 1. Turnovers: 18. Fouls: 30.
Cowens 9-19 7-9 25, Silas 4-11 2-4 10, Havlicek 14-29 8-10 36, White 9-18 5-6 23, Chaney 2-5 2-3 6, Nelson 6-12 1-1 13, Westphal 5-11 1-2 11, Kuberski 1-2 0-0 2, Finkel 0-1 0-0 0.
Totals: 50-108 26-35 126. Rebounds (71): Cowens 19, Silas 15, Havlicek 7, Chaney 6, White 4, Nelson 4, Kuberski 3, Westphal 2, Finkel 2. Team rebounds: 7. Deadball rebs: 1. Assists (33): White 9, Havlicek 8, Cowens 6, Chaney 4, Westphal 3, Nelson 2, Silas 1. Turnovers: 19. Fouls: 38.
1 2 3 4 OT F
1963 Bos 28 33 31 26 10 128
1974 Bos 27 31 34 26 8 126
Fouled out: Heinsohn, Chaney, Cowens. Technicals: Auerbach, Heinsohn (coach). Attendance: 15,320.
1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers (65-17, 15-2, 7-7 Pat Riley)
1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (66-16, 12-2, 7-5 Larry Costello)
MILWAUKEE - With almost all the other individual matchups grading out even while the 1987 Lakers had a little better bench than the 1971 Bucks, the difference-maker was expected to be this: how would 24-year old Lew Alcindor fare against 40-year old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar?
The answer did spell the difference as young Lew (as he was known publicly still in 1971) outscored old Kareem 40-21 and domainted him on the boards to lead Milwaukee to a taut 123-122 overtime victory.
Clutch Laker forward James Worthy posted up and put in a finger roll to tie the game 110-all late in regulation to force overtime.
Big Games James then put his squad on top with a trademark leakout fast break dunk 122-121 with 32 seconds to go in overtime. But the Bucks showed veteran poise as Oscar Robertson calmly set up the offense and went to a two man game with Alcindor. He lobbed the ball into Lew, who took the fundamentally basic post entry feed from the Big O and drained his patented right baseline hook from 14 feet out over his older self to put the '71 Bucks in front with 13 ticks to go.
Earvin Johnson dribbled the ball down to three seconds and did not get the ball into Kareem or Worthy as he was supposed to. Instead he tried to back down Robertson and tossed up a desperation turnaround fadeaway from the foul line that fell woefully short and into the hands of Alcindor as time expired.
Johnson moaned and gesticulated wildly for a foul call but replays showed Robertson did not come close to hitting his arm on the shot as Johnson pleaded he had done to the officials.
Robertson (21 points, 12 assists, 10 rebounds) and Johnson (28 points, 13 assists, eight rebounds) basically negated each other at the point, although Johnson was five years younger and 3.5 inches taller.
Sharpshooters Jon McGlocklin (16 points) and Byron Scott (14) played about even. James Worthy took advantage of a three-inch height surplus to outscore Bob Dandridge inside 27-18.
The '87 Laker bench outscored the '71 Bucks 24-19, but the 19-point difference between Alcindor and Jabbar and a 59-51 advantage on the boards made up the margin in transition points and speed.
1987 Laker coach Pat Riley lamented the physical play his team had to suffer from. "They really beat us up inside and on the backboards," he cried.
But Buck coach Larry Costello had some pointed comments in response when told of Riley's comment, and he noted that the 1987 Lakers were bigger than his squad, especially at forward. "Green is 6-9 and Greg Smith is just 6-4, and everyone knows A.C. is a dirty player, plus Worthy is three inches taller and much heavier than Bobby," said the former All-Star guard.
"It's time the Lakers are seen as the physical, big club that they are," he continued. "Their starting lineup goes 7-2, 6-9, 6-9, 6-4 and almost 6-9. Plus they have a 6-10 former number one pick (Thompson) and a feisty 6-7 guy (Cooper) with long arms off the bench, and another 6-8 guy (Rambis) who isn't afraid to mix it up.
"All I am saying is that despite what they like to portray, they aren't any wilting lilies out there," he growled. "And all the whining and complaining in the world won't change the outcome. "In the end I thought our halfcourt offense was better. We limited the transition points and punished Worthy for leaking out on the break by hitting the offensive boards. We knew Worthy did not like to defensive rebound, instead liking to run out," he concluded.
Alcindor out-rebounded Jabbar 17-7, including four stickback baskets. Dandridge also tallied two of his seven baskets on putbacks.
Alcindor 16-25 8-11 40, Smith 4-9 1-2 9, Dandridge 7-16 4-5 18, Robertson 9-16 3-4 21, McGlocklin 6-12 2-2 16, Allen 4-10 3-4 11, Boozer 3-7 0-0 6, Cunningham 1-2 0-1 2.
Totals: 50-97 21-29 123. 3-pointers (2-7): McGlocklin 2. Rebounds (59): Alcindor 17, Robertson 10, Smith 7, Dandridge 7, McGlocklin 4, Allen 3, Cunningham 3, Boozer 2. Team rebounds: 5. Deadball rebs: 1. Assists (31): Robertson 12, Dandridge 5, McGlocklin 4, Alcindor 3, Allen 3, Smith 2, Boozer 1, Cunningham 1. Turnovers: 17.
Jabbar 9-19 3-5 21, Green 3-8 2-4 8, Worthy 11-17 5-7 27, Johnson 9-18 10-12 28, Scott 5-12 2-3 14, Cooper 5-11 1-2 12, M. Thompson 4-6 1-1 9, Rambis 1-1 1-2 3.
Totals: 47-92 25-40 122. 3-pointers (3-8): Scott 2, Cooper 1. Rebounds (51): Green 9, Johnson 8, Jabbar 7, Rambis 6, Thompson 5, Worthy 4, Scott 3, Cooper 3. Team rebounds: 5. Deadball rebs: 1. Assists (33): Johnson 13, Worthy 7, Jabbar 6, Cooper 3, Scott 2, Rambis 1, Green 1. Turnovers: 20.
1 2 3 4 OT F
1971 Milw 29 32 25 24 13 123
1987 LA 32 30 27 21 12 122
Fouled out: Green. Technicals: Costello, Jabbar. Attendance: 10,938.
#1 seed 1990s champion 1996 Chicago vs.
#8 seed 1963 Boston
#2 seed 1950s/60s champion 1967 Philadelphia vs.
#7 seed 1971 Milwaukee
#3 seed 1980s champion 1986 Boston vs.
#6 seed 1972 Los Angeles Lakers
#4 seed 2000s champion 2007 San Antonio vs.
#5 seed 1970s champion 1973 New York
Check back for quarterfinal results in the next installment of the series coming soon.tb727 9/20/2013 04:26:00 PM Tweet