Season by Season
1952 to 1953
Mikan Takes New York
Excessive fouling was still a big problem, and several rules changes
relating to the last few minutes of a game had failed to bring adequate
relief. Coaches liked playing the percentages of hoping for a miss
of at least one of two free throws while their own team scored a two-point
basket. Fouls rose to 58 per game, and teams set records for free
Some things didn't change, however, like the dominance of big men. Neil
Johnston, a 6-8 hook-shooting center, won the first of his three straight
league scoring titles, while last year's champion, Paul Arizin, spent
the first of two years in the military. Boston was coming of age with
the exciting backcourt of Bob Cousy and sweet-shooting Bill Sharman,
but they couldn't get by the Knicks, who had a host of good players
that played together to overcome their height deficiencies. For the
first time, both regular-season division winners, New York and Minneapolis,
advance to the NBA Finals. The Knicks won the first game, but the Lakers
then won four straight to send the New Yorkers home empty-handed for
the third consecutive year.
LAKERS CAPTURE FOURTH CHAMPIONSHIP
IN FIVE YEARS
New York had learned from past experience that it would not be easy
to beat Minneapolis without the home court advantage. But with the 2-3-2
format in place, New York figured it could win if it could somehow take
one of the first two games in Minneapolis. The Knicks got their win
in Game 1, 96-88, and seemed poised to take control.
But George Mikan, who had played in New York many times while in college,
and the Lakers had other ideas. The Lakers took all three in New York,
two in convincing fashion, to put to rest the homecourt advantage--at
least for this series.
NBA History Season by Season
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