1954–55 Syracuse Nationals season

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1954–55 Syracuse Nationals season
First NBA Championship
Head coach Al Cervi
Arena Onondaga War Memorial
Results
Record 43–29 (.597)
Place Division: 1st (Eastern)
Playoff finish NBA Champions
< 1953–54 1955–56 >

With the NBA struggling financially and down to just 8 teams, Nationals owner Danny Biasone suggested that the league limit the amount of time taken for a shot. Biasone was upset with the stalling tactics of opposing teams. During the summer of 1954, Biasone had gotten together some of his pros and a group of high school players and timed them with a stopwatch.[1] Most shots were taken within 12 seconds, Biasone discovered. Biasone calculated that a 24 second shot clock would allow at least 30 shots per quarter and assist in increasing scoring. The result would speed up a game that often ended with long periods of teams just holding the ball. Quickness and athletic ability became prized as they never had been before. Excessive fouling didn't disappear completely, but just about everyone concluded that the clock was good for the game. The shot clock was a success with the result that scoring was up 14 points per game league wide.[2] In the first season of the shot clock, the Nats would take first place in the Eastern Division with a 43-29 record.

Offseason[edit]

NBA Draft[edit]

Round Pick Player Position Nationality College
1 6 Red Kerr C/F  United States Illinois

[3]

Roster[edit]

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starter Bench Reserve Inactive
C Red Rocha Red Kerr Connie Simmons
PF Dolph Schayes Wally Osterkorn
SF Earl Lloyd Jim Tucker
SG Paul Seymour Dick Farley
PG George King Billy Kenville Billy Gabor

Regular season[edit]

Season standings[edit]

Eastern Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Syracuse Nationals 43 29 .597 25–7 10–17 8–5 21–15
x-New York Knicks 38 34 .528 5 17–9 8–17 13–8 15–21
x-Boston Celtics 36 36 .500 7 21–5 4–22 11–9 19–17
Philadelphia Warriors 33 39 .458 10 14–5 6–20 13–14 17–19


Season schedule[edit]

Date Opponent Score Result Record
Oct 31 Minneapolis Lakers 94-97 Loss 0-1
Nov 6 @ Boston Celtics 84-107 Loss 0-2
Nov 7 Milwaukee Hawks 97-80 Win 1-2
Nov 11 @ Fort Wayne Pistons 88-86 Win 2-2
Nov 13 @ Milwaukee Hawks 72-85 Loss 2-3
Nov 14 @ Minneapolis Lakers 92-99 Loss 2-4
Nov 16 Philadelphia Warriors (at New York, NY) 86-85 Win 3-4
Nov 18 Fort Wayne PIstons 91-82 Win 4-4
Nov 20 @ Rochester Royals 80-79 Win 5-4
Nov 21 Boston Celtics 110-104 Win 6-4
Nov 25 Milwaukee Hawks 91-85 Win 7-4
Nov 27 @ New York Knicks 80-74 Win 8-4
Nov 28 New York Knicks 79-77 Win 9-4
Dec 1 New York Knicks (at Philadelphia) 86-88 Loss 9-5
Dec 2 Rochester Royals 82-78 Win 10-5
Dec 4 @ Philadelphia Warriors 73-79 Loss 10-6
Dec 5 Philadelphia Warriors 89-72 Win 11-6
Dec 7 Philadelphia Warriors (at New Haven, CT) 88-81 Win 12-6
Dec 8 @ Rochester Royals 78-105 Loss 12-7
Dec 9 Boston Celtics 120-107 Win 13-7

[4]

Player stats[edit]

Note: GP= Games played; REB= Rebounds; AST= Assists; STL = Steals; BLK = Blocks; PTS = Points; AVG = Average

Player GP REB AST STL BLK PTS AVG
Dolph Schayes 72 887 213 1333

[5]

Playoffs[edit]

East Division Semifinals[edit]

The Nationals had a division semifinal bye.

East Division Finals[edit]

(1) Syracuse Nationals vs. (3) Boston Celtics: Nationals win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Syracuse: Syracuse 110, Boston 100
  • Game 2 @ Syracuse: Syracuse 116, Boston 110
  • Game 3 @ Boston: Boston 100, Syracuse 97 (OT)
  • Game 4 @ Boston: Syracuse 110, Boston 94

NBA finals[edit]

In the finals the Nats would get off to a fast start taking the first 2 games at home against the Fort Wayne Pistons. However, as the series moved to Fort Wayne the Pistons would spark back to life taking all 3 games to take a 3-2 series lead. Back in Syracuse for Game 6 on the Nats kept Championship hopes alive by beating the Pistons 109-104 to force a 7th game at home. Game 7 would be as tight as the series as George King sank a free throw to give the Nats a 92-91 lead in the final seconds. King would then steal inbound pass to clinch the NBA Championship for the Nationals.[2]

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 March 31 Syracuse 86-82 Fort Wayne
Game 2 April 2 Syracuse 87-84 Fort Wayne
Game 3 April 3 Fort Wayne 96-89 Syracuse
Game 4 April 5 Fort Wayne 109-82 Syracuse
Game 5 April 7 Fort Wayne 74-71 Syracuse
Game 6 April 9 Syracuse 109-104 Fort Wayne
Game 7 April 10 Syracuse 92-91 Fort Wayne

Nationals win series 4-3

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]