Season by Season
1966 to 1967
Wilt Finally Bests Russell
The season would prove to be a watershed year for the NBA. Boston's
string of eight championships would come to an end, and another club
would set a new standard for victories in one season. Philadelphia,
which had hired veteran Alex Hannum as coach, got off to a 45-4 start
and never looked back, posting an NBA-best 68-13 record. Chet Walker
and Billy Cunningham scored more as Wilt Chamberlain concentrated on
rebounding and defense. Chamberlain still finished third in scoring
(24.1), but he also led the league in rebounding (24.2) and was third
in assists (7.8).
The Chicago Bulls were added as an expansion franchise, and the Baltimore
Bullets were switched to the Eastern Division. With two five-team divisions,
the Playoffs were changed so that the division winners no longer received
byes and instead played a first round series against the fourth place
team. Philadelphia polished off Cincinnati in the first round, then
crushed the Bill Russell-coached Celtics in five games in the Eastern
Division Finals. After the Game 5 win in Philadelphia, the 76ers fans
rushed the court in jubilation, but Chamberlain and the 76ers knew the
big prize was still ahead. The 76ers captured the title in six games
over San Francisco, which featured the NBA's new scoring leader, Rick
Barry (35.6). Chamberlain had his first championship in the year he
relinquished the scoring title.
SIXERS END CELTICS STREAK, CLAIM CHAMPIONSHIP
IN NEAR-PERFECT FASHION
After so many years of failing to beat the Celtics, the 76ers needed
a nearly flawless season to finally topple the Champions.
"The whole season was just magical, something where a team played
almost perfect basketball," said guard Wali Jones. "We played
as a team/family concept."
Even the Celtics had to admit the 76ers were better.
"They're playing the same game we've played for the last nine years,"
said K.C. Jones, who had known nothing but NBA titles in his first eight
seasons as a player. "In other words, team ball."
NBA History Season by Season
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