1973 NBA Finals
(New York Knicks)
|Announcers||Keith Jackson and Bill Russell|
Marv Albert and John Andariese (NYK)|
Chick Hearn and Lynn Shackelford (LAL)
|Hall of Famers||
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|
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)|
2nd seed in the West, 3rd 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|
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
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
New York Knicks
|1972–73 New York Knicks roster|
Los Angeles Lakers
|1972–73 Los Angeles Lakers roster|