Season by Season
Chamberlain Deal, Havlicek Steal
1964 to 1965
In an effort to lessen the dominance of big men and
keep the game open and moving, the NBA widened the foul lane from 12
to 16 feet. A major trade that took place at the NBA All-Star break
would have far-reaching implications for years to come. Wilt Chamberlain,
in the midst of his greatness at 28 years old, was dealt by the San
Francisco Warriors to the Philadelphia 76ers for Paul Neumann, Connie
Dierking, Lee Shaffer and cash. The immediate results: San Francisco
went from 48-32 the season before to 17-63, while Philadelphia improved
from 34-46 to 40-40. More importantly, Chamberlain was back in the Celtics'
division, and would have to be dealt with even before the NBA Finals.
Meanwhile, Celtics founder Walter Brown died in August, 1964, putting more of
the team's administrative load on Auerbach. Boston seemed unaffected,
however, and broke its own league record with 62 victories despite the
retirements of Frank Ramsey and Jim Loscutoff. The Lakers won the West
with 49 wins as West (31.0) and Baylor (27.1) finished in the top five
in the league in scoring. While the Lakers defeated Baltimore in six games
in the West Finals, the East Finals between Boston and Philadelphia was
a classic, with the home team winning each of the first six games. Boston
won Game 7 by a point, with John Havlicek's deflection producing the famous
"Havlicek stole the ball!" radio call from Celtics broadcaster
Johnny Most. The Finals were less exciting, with Boston closing out the
Lakers, who were without the injured Elgin Baylor, in five games.
John Havlicek and Jerry West went head-to-head in the 1965 Finals.
HAVLICEK STEALS BALL, SAVES DAY
The seventh game of the Eastern Division Finals in 1965 provided some
hope for the rest of the league that the Celtics might be beaten one
day soon. If Philadelphia had been able to convert in the last five
seconds, the Celtics dynasty would have been halted at six straight
NBA Championships and Chamberlain and the 76ers might have begun their
But Havlicek deflected the inbounds pass of Hal Greer to Sam Jones,
who dribbled out the five seconds and preserved the dynasty for another
year. Of such momentous plays are titles won and lost, and for now,
the Celtics were still on top.
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