1951 NBA Finals

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1951 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Rochester Royals Les Harrison 4
New York Knickerbockers Joe Lapchick 3
Dates April 7–21
Radio network WMGM (NYK)
WHAM (ROC)
Eastern Finals Knickerbockers defeat Nationals, 3–2
Western Finals Royals defeat Lakers, 3–1
NBA Finals

The 1951 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1951 NBA Playoffs, which concluded the National Basketball Association 1950–51 season. Western Division champion Rochester faced Eastern Division champion New York in a best-of-seven series with Rochester having home-court advantage.

Rochester won the first three games, two at home, but New York won the next three, two at home. It was the first BAA or NBA Finals (spanning 1947 to 1951)[a] that extended to a seventh-game conclusion, a 4-point win by Rochester at home on Saturday, April 21.

The seven games were played in fifteen days, beginning Saturday and Sunday, April 7 and 8, in Rochester and incorporating one game in Rochester on each following weekend. Three Wednesday or Friday games were played in New York City. The entire postseason tournament spanned 33 days in which both Rochester and New York played 14 games.[1]

The Royals appeared in their first NBA finals by defeating the Fort Wayne Pistons in the semifinals and the two time defending champion Minneapolis Lakers in the division finals while the Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics in the semifinals and the Syracuse Nationals in the division finals. This was the first finals appearance for both teams, and the first Finals with two teams that hadn't made a finals appearance since the 1947 BAA Finals

Series summary[edit]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 April 7 Rochester Royals 92–65 (1–0) New York Knicks
Game 2 April 8 Rochester Royals 99–84 (2–0) New York Knicks
Game 3 April 11 New York Knicks 71–78 (0–3) Rochester Royals
Game 4 April 13 New York Knicks 79–73 (1–3) Rochester Royals
Game 5 April 15 Rochester Royals 89–92 (3–2) New York Knicks
Game 6 April 18 New York Knicks 80–73 (3–3) Rochester Royals
Game 7 April 21 Rochester Royals 79–75 (4–3) New York Knicks

Royals win series 4–3


The 79–75 Game 7 loss by the New York Knicks is the closest of any Game 7 involving teams overcoming 3–0 deficits in NBA history.

In 1994 the Denver Nuggets forced a Game 7 against the Utah Jazz, but lost 91–81 (10 points). Also, the 2003 Portland Trail Blazers forced a Game 7 against the Dallas Mavericks, but lost 107–95 (12 points).

In Game 7, Bob Davies snapped a 75–75 tie by sinking both free throws to give the Royals the lead for good. This was the first and to date last title for the Rochester Royals, who would soon move to Cincinnati for the 1957-58 NBA season, spending 15 years mired in mediocrity before moving to Kansas City in 1972 (once appearing in the 1981 NBA Playoffs), then finally to Sacramento in 1985, who reached the conference finals in the 2002 NBA Playoffs, their closest to reaching the NBA finals in recent years. The Royals/Kings have the longest title drought (63 years), and also the longest Finals appearance drought in history.

Team rosters[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Basketball Association of America (BAA) played three seasons, 1946–47 to 1948–49, all with postseason tournaments that concluded in best-of-seven series. The NBA recognizes BAA history as part of its own, sometimes without comment.[2]
      The NBA was actually created by 1949 merger of the BAA and its older competitor, the National Basketball League. There were 12 NBL championships, all finally decided by a best-of-three or best-of-five series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "1950–51 NBA Season Summary". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
      Select "Previous Season" from the heading for 1949–50, and so on. Select "Finals" from League Playoffs for the daily schedule of the final series, and so on.
  2. ^ "NBA Season Recaps". NBA History (nba.com/history). July 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-04.

External links[edit]