Seventh Game: NBA Takes It to the Limit

The Laker girls have done their history lessons and know the score – home court advantage can be overwhelming in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.

When the Lakers and Celtics tip off tomorrow night, it will mark just the fourth time since 1984 that the NBA Finals have reached a decisive Game 7.

Something’s got to give.

If history serves correct, the Lakers will be celebrating their 17th NBA title. In 16 previous NBA seventh games, the home team has won 13 times.

The only exceptions to the rule were the 1978 Washington Bullets at Seattle; the 1974 Celtics at Milwaukee; and the 1969 Celtics at (guess where?) Los Angeles.

The Celtics counter that home court advantage with their unblemished 7-0 record in Finals that have gone the full seven, with four of those wins coming against the Lakers. Los Angeles is 3-5 in those do-or-die games, including 0-4 against Boston.

The best seventh games in the NBA Finals occurred in a 15-year stretch between 1955 and 1970. In summary:

1955: Syracuse Nationals 92, Fort Wayne Pistons 91
The seventh game went down to the final 12 seconds before Syracuse’s George King broke a tie with a clutch free throw to give the Nats the title.

1957: Boston Celtics 125, St. Louis Hawks 123 (2OT)
Bill Russell made his debut for the Celtics and helped gain the first NBA championship for Boston. The final game went into double overtime and the score was tied 123-123 before Andy Phillip’s foul shot put Boston up by one and then “Jungle” Jim Luscutoff gave the Celtics a 125-123 lead with another free throw. Bob Pettit’s shot at the buzzer rimmed the basket and fell out, giving Boston the title.

1962: Boston Celtics 110, Los Angeles Lakers 107
The Celtics came back with a convincing 119-105 victory on the road to force a deciding game. In that seventh game, with the score tied at 100, the Lakers’ Frank Selvy hit the rim with a last-second shot that would have dethroned the Celtics. Instead, the game went into overtime and Boston continued its dynasty, scoring a 110-107 win.

1966: Boston Celtics 95, Los Angeles Lakers 93
Bill Russell scored 25 points and took down 32 rebounds to give the Celtics their eighth straight championship in the 95-93 title game.

1969: Boston Celtics 108, Los Angeles Lakers 106
The Celtics, who finished in fourth place in the Eastern Division, came back to take the last two games as Bill Russell outplayed Wilt Chamberlain. Boston held onto what had been a 17-point lead in the finale to win its 11th title 108-106. Jerry West became the only player on a losing team to win Finals MVP.

1970: New York Knicks 113, Los Angeles Lakers 99
Los Angeles prevailed in the sixth game before Willis Reed hobbled onto the Madison Square Garden court and sparked the Knicks to a 113-99 victory and their first title. New York guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier led the way with 36 points and 19 assists.

Related Post: Can Celtics-Lakers Push The Envelope to Game 7?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s