1973 NBA Finals

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1973 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
New York Knicks Red Holzman 4
Los Angeles Lakers Bill Sharman 1
Dates May 1–10
MVP Willis Reed
(New York Knicks)
Television ABC (U.S.)
Announcers Keith Jackson and Bill Russell
Radio network Mutual (National)
Announcers Marv Albert and John Andariese (NYK)
Chick Hearn and Lynn Shackelford (LAL)
Game 3: Jack Madden and Don Murphy
Game 4: Darell Garretson and Mendy Rudolph
Game 5: Darell Garretson and Don Murphy
Hall of Famers Knicks:
Bill Bradley (1983)
Jerry Lucas (1980)
Dave DeBusschere (1983)
Willis Reed (1982)
Phil Jackson (2007, coach)
Earl Monroe (1990)
Walt Frazier (1987)
Wilt Chamberlain (1979)
Gail Goodrich (1996)
Pat Riley (2008, coach)
Jerry West (1980)
Red Holzman (1986)
Bill Sharman (1976, player/2004, coach)
Darell Garretson (2016)
Mendy Rudolph (2007)
Eastern Finals Knicks defeat Celtics, 4–3
Western Finals Lakers defeat Warriors, 4–1
NBA Finals

The 1973 NBA World Championship Series was the championship series of the 1972–73 National Basketball Association (NBA) season, and the culmination of that season's playoffs. The Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks defeated the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 1. The series was an exact reversal of the prior year, with the Lakers winning Game 1 and the Knicks taking the next four games. Knicks center Willis Reed was named as the NBA Finals MVP.


Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 1973 NBA Playoffs as co-favorites in the West with the Milwaukee Bucks, but both teams faced inspired opponents in the first round. The Chicago Bulls gave the Lakers all they could handle before the Lakers came from behind in Game 7 to take the series. The Lakers next faced the Golden State Warriors for the Western Conference Championship (the Warriors had upset the Bucks in six games). In Game 1, the Lakers won by 2, and in Game 2 the Lakers won by 10. In Game 3 at Oakland, the Lakers routed the Warriors 126-70, but the Warriors won Game 4 to send the series back to Los Angeles. In the Forum, the Lakers took Game 5 and advanced to their fourth NBA Finals series in five seasons.

New York Knicks

One year after their NBA Finals loss, the Knicks were back in the playoffs. For some of the Knicks, including Jerry Lucas and Earl Monroe, this was probably their last shot at an NBA title. In the first round they paired against the Baltimore Bullets. The Knicks won Game's 1 and 2 in New York, but lost Game 3 at Baltimore (in that game, the Bullets used a strange lineup of two centers and three guards). New York would take Games 4 and 5 Walt Frazier averaging 20 points per game in this series. In the Conference Finals, the Knicks faced none other than the 68-14 Boston Celtics, who had the league's best record. The Celtics won Game 1 at the Boston Garden, but the Knicks stunned the Celtics in Game 2 with a big 129-96 victory. The Knicks eventually held a 3-1 series lead before Boston came back with two critical wins. However, that had to be done without their star John Havlicek, who was nursing an elbow injury. The loss would come back to haunt the Celtics as they lost again, in Game 7 at home to the Knicks. Even rarer was the fact that this was lost on their home court.

Road to the Finals

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference Champion) New York Knicks (Eastern Conference Champion)
# Western Conference
Team W L PCT
1 z-Milwaukee Bucks 60 22 .732
2 y-Los Angeles Lakers 60 22 .732
3 x-Chicago Bulls 51 31 .622
4 x-Golden State Warriors 47 35 .573
5 Detroit Pistons 40 42 .488
6 Phoenix Suns 38 44 .463
7 Kansas City–Omaha Kings 36 46 .439
8 Seattle SuperSonics 26 56 .317
9 Portland Trail Blazers 21 61 .256

2nd seed in the West, 3rd best league record

Regular season
# Eastern Conference
Team W L PCT
1 z-Boston Celtics 68 14 .829
2 x-New York Knicks 57 25 .695
3 y-Baltimore Bullets 52 30 .634
4 x-Atlanta Hawks 46 36 .561
5 Houston Rockets 33 49 .402
6 Cleveland Cavaliers 32 50 .390
7 Buffalo Braves 21 61 .256
8 Philadelphia 76ers 9 73 .110
2nd seed in the East, 4th best league record
Defeated the (3) Chicago Bulls, 4–3 Division Semifinals Defeated the (2) Baltimore Bullets, 4–1
Defeated the (4) Golden State Warriors, 4–1 Division Finals Defeated the (1) Boston Celtics, 4–3

Series summary

After losing the first game, the Knicks reeled off four straight wins to reclaim the NBA title. This is the Knicks' most recent NBA Championship to date. New York would not make it back to the NBA Finals until 1994.

This would also be the last Finals appearance of the decade for the Lakers. Their next appearance would be in 1980, which would be the first of nine Finals appearances in 12 years for the Franchise.

Game Date Home Team Score Road Team
Game 1 Tue. May 1 Los Angeles Lakers 115–112 (1–0) New York Knicks
Game 2 Thu. May 3 Los Angeles Lakers 95–99 (1–1) New York Knicks
Game 3 Sun. May 6 New York Knicks 87–83 (2–1) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 4 Tue. May 8 New York Knicks 103–98 (3–1) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 5 Thu. May 10 Los Angeles Lakers 93–102 (1–4) New York Knicks

Knicks win series 4-1

This was the only NBA Championship for Jerry Lucas and Earl Monroe.

Game 5 of the 1973 Finals was Wilt Chamberlain's last game played in the NBA. Chamberlain scored the last points of the game, and of his career, on an uncontested fast break dunk with one second remaining.

ABC televised its last NBA Finals, until 2003. This is, to date, the last time a New York/Los Angeles NBA Finals of any combination has taken place, as well as the third-to-last championship series contested by both cities in any sport (the 1981 World Series is the last such matchup in the 20th century, and the 2014 Stanley Cup Final is the latest).

In popular culture

These Finals were cited by Sam Tyler (played by Jason O'Mara) as a treasured memory of his father on the U.S. version of the TV series Life on Mars.

Team rosters

New York Knicks

1972–73 New York Knicks roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB (YYYY-MM-DD) From
SG 12 Barnett, Dick 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 190 lb (86 kg) 1936–10–02 Tennessee State
PG 17 Bibby, Henry 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1949–11–24 UCLA
SF 24 Bradley, Bill 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) 1943–07–28 Princeton
PF 22 DeBusschere, Dave 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1940–10–16 Detroit
PG 10 Frazier, Walt 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) 1945–03–29 Southern Illinois
C 40 Gianelli, John 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1950–06–10 Pacific
PF 18 Jackson, Phil 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1945–09–17 North Dakota
PF 32 Lucas, Jerry 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 230 lb (104 kg) 1940–03–30 Ohio State
SG 7 Meminger, Dean 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 175 lb (79 kg) 1948–05–13 Marquette
SG 15 Monroe, Earl 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 1944–11–21 Winston-Salem State
C 23 Rackley, Luther 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 220 lb (100 kg) 1946–06–11 Xavier
C 19 Reed, Willis (C) 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m) 235 lb (107 kg) 1942–06–25 Grambling State
C 6 Riker, Tom 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 225 lb (102 kg) 1950–02–28 South Carolina
PF 43 Wingo, Harthorne 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) 1947–09–09 Friendship Junior College
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: 1973–05–10

Los Angeles Lakers

See also

External links

  • NBA History
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