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1963–64 Cincinnati Royals season: Wikis


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1963–64 Cincinnati Royals season
Head coach Jack McMahon
Arena Cincinnati Gardens
Record 55–25 (.688)
Place Division: 2nd
Conference: 2nd
Playoff finish Lost Eastern Finals
Cincinnati Royals seasons
< 1962–63 1964–65 >

The 1963/64 season was the Royals 18th season overall and its 7th in Cincinnati. The season was marked by the arrival of drafted Ohio State star Jerry Lucas, the Royals territorial selection in the NBA Draft the previous year. Lucas, a local high school phenom who had reached national attention, immediately became a big draw for the team, helping the Royals break team attendance records for the season. He also be came the star inside player the Royals had lacked. [1] The deep and dangerous Royals started Lucas and Jack Twyman at forward, Embry at center, Robertson and Bucky Bockhorn at guard. Bob Boozer moved to the top of the bench behind Tom Hawkins and Adrian Smith. The Royals started the season 24-13, including four wins in the first seven meetings over their rival, the Boston Celtics.The Royals were the only team in the league that could consistently beat them. The peak of the rivalry this season was December 27, a 91-87 Royals win before a standing-room crowd of 14,100. The Royals had become arguably the most popular team in the NBA. On January 30, the Royals began a 12-game winning streak that included home games hosted in Dayton, Lima and Cleveland, bringing the team's record to 45-19. Big minutes from new coach Jack McMahon toward the team's big men began to take their toll thereafter. Inexplicably, former starter Bob Boozer had been traded so that Larry Staverman, who had left the Royals for the ABL, could be brought back. The loss of Boozer would haunt the team in the playoffs. Members of the team have since said that the Boozer trade cost the Royals the NBA championship that season. The new combination of Lucas and Oscar Robertson gave the Royals two of the very best players in the NBA. In their first season together, the pair combined to average 49.1 points, 27.3 rebounds, and 13.6 assists per game. [2 ] Lucas averaged 17.4 rebounds per game and was named NBA Rookie of the Year and Robertson was named NBA MVP with a career high 31.4 points per game. [2 ] Robertson also led the league in assists, as the Royals finished in 2nd place with a 55-25 record, the second best record in the NBA. Only Boston and Cincinnati topped 50 wins that year. In the playoffs the Royals would beat the Philadelphia 76ers in a 5-game series, but both Lucas and Olsen would be lost to injury. The Royals would face the defending World Champion Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals. Lucas tried mightily to play, but was well below form. Once again, the Royals were eliminated by the Celtics, who took advantage of those injuries, as the Celtics triumphed in 5 games.




NBA Draft

Pick Player Position School/Club Team

Tom Thacker from the outstanding University of Cincinnati program was another territorial draft pick, the team's first this year. Shooter Jimmy Rayl was the team's second-round selection. He was cut, but later played in the ABA.

Regular season

Season standings

Season Schedule

The Royals consistently posted winning marks over the full season for each month of play. Nov 10-6, Dec 9-4, Jan 11-6, Feb 14-3, March 6-3, plus a 4-6 record in the playoffs. Four of the five Boston playoff games took place in April.

Player stats

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


Awards and honors

  • Jerry Lucas, NBA Rookie of the Year, Second Team All-NBA, NBA All-Star
  • Oscar Robertson, NBA Most Valuable Player, First Team All-NBA, MVP of the 1964 NBA All-Star Game.
  • Wayne Embry, NBA All-Star


  1. ^ Deferring to established stars to help the team, Lucas moved to forward, allowing Team Captain Wayne Embry to remain at center. Fourth on the team in shot attempts, Lucas led the NBA in shooting accuracy and posted 18 points per game. He was also third in the NBA in rebounds. With increased operating room brought by Lucas, superstar Oscar Robertson posted an incredible season. Robertson scored 31.4 points per game, averaged a then-huge 11 assists per game, and sank 800 free throws for the year at an 85% clip. Cincinnati Royals (1957-1972)
  2. ^ a b Cincinnati Royals (1957-1972)


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