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1970 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
New York Knicks Red Holtzman 4
Los Angeles Lakers Joe Mullaney 3
Dates: April 24 - May 8
MVP: Willis Reed
(New York Knicks)
Television: ABC (U.S.)
Announcers: Chris Schenkel, Jack Twyman, and Howard Cosell
Referees:
Game 1:
Game 2:
Game 3:
Game 4:
Game 7: Richie Powers and Mendy Rudolph
Hall of Famers: Elgin Baylor (1977)
Bill Bradley (1983)
Wilt Chamberlain (1979)
Dave DeBusschere (1983)
Walt Frazier (1987)
Phil Jackson (2007, coach)
Willis Reed (1982)
Jerry West (1980)
Coaches:
Red Holtzman (1986)
Eastern Finals: Knicks defeat Bucks, 4-1
Western Finals: Lakers defeat Hawks, 4-0
 < 1969 NBA Finals 1971 > 

Contents

Road to the Finals

The New York Knicks had a very successful season, their 60 wins coming as a result of team play instead of big-name superstars.

The Knicks had come off 18-game winning streak (then an NBA record), and were led by NBA MVP Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere. In the playoffs, the Knicks barely won a tough seven-game series against the Baltimore Bullets. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they beat the Milwaukee Bucks, led by captain Lew Alcindor, in five games.

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers had a team of superstars led by Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. In the playoffs, the Lakers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns, and then in the Western Conference Finals they beat the Atlanta Hawks to advance to the NBA Finals for the 3rd straight year.

Television: ABC - Commentators: Chris Schenkel, Jack Twyman, and Howard Cosell.

Game-by-game recap

In a reversal of Game 1, the Lakers achieved an early double-digit lead in Game 2, but they struggled to keep it till the end. After Jerry West scored the game-winning free throws, he had to come up big again in Game 3, another game where the Lakers were up big early. Down 2 with 3 seconds left, Jerry West scored a 60-footer at the buzzer, tying the game as a two-pointer, as threes did not exist then in the NBA. However, with the Knicks up 1, Dick Barnett made the game-cliching shot in overtime for a 111-108 Knicks win.

The Lakers knew they had to win Game 4 at home and they did, 121-105, with help from reserves Mel Counts and Johnny Egan. In Game 5 at the Garden, the Knicks' worst fear came true: eight minutes into the game, Willis Reed fell down hard while trying to make a shot. Reed eventually got up on his own, but a leg injury forced him to leave the game. Late in the game, the Lakers led by as many as 16 points, but a scrambling defense and sheer determination to "win one for the captain" helped New York stage a remarkable comeback. Bill Bradley's clutch shot tied the game at 87 with 7:40 left to play, then 19 Laker turnovers in the second half aided the Knicks for the rest of the game en route to a 107-100 victory. But without Reed on the floor, the Knicks fell 135-113 to the Lakers in Game 6 in Los Angeles, as Wilt Chamberlain scored 45 points.

The two teams headed back to New York for Game 7. For the Knicks, a miracle was desperately needed if they would win their first-ever championship. When Game 7 came, so did the miracle: during warm-ups, Willis Reed walked onto the Garden floor, and with him some much-needed momentum. Though still suffering from injury, Reed scored the first two (and his only) baskets of the game to give the Knicks an early lead. This emotional entrance fired up the crowd and the Knicks team. Frazier also played an inspiring game, as he scored 22 points in the first half en route to a 36-point, 19-assist, 7-rebound game. The Knicks didn't look back as they won 113-99 and captured their first NBA championship, and a place in NBA history.

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Series summary

Game Date Result Site Series
Game 1 April 24 (Fri.) New York Knicks 124, Los Angeles Lakers 112 @ New York Knicks lead, 1 game to 0
Game 2 April 27 (Mon.) Los Angeles Lakers 105, New York Knicks 103 @ New York Series tied, 1 game each
Game 3 April 29 (Wed.) New York Knicks 111, Los Angeles Lakers 108 @ Los Angeles Knicks lead, 2 games to 1
Game 4 May 1 (Fri.) Los Angeles Lakers 121, New York Knicks 105 @ Los Angeles Series tied, 2 games each
Game 5 May 4 (Mon.) New York Knicks 107, Los Angeles Lakers 100 @ New York Knicks lead, 3 games to 2
Game 6 May 6 (Wed.) Los Angeles Lakers 135, New York Knicks 113 @ Los Angeles Series tied, 3 games each
Game 7 May 8 (Fri.) New York Knicks 113, Los Angeles Lakers 99 @ New York Knicks win, 4 games to 3

Knicks win series 4-3

Quotes

Now here comes Willis... and the crowd is going wild!
New York Knick radio announcer Marv Albert describing Willis Reed's dramatic entrance prior to Game 7 of the NBA Finals

Team rosters

See also

External links


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