Season by Season
1972 to 1973
Knicks Return to the Top
Willis Reed returned to the Knicks after injuries had limited him
to 11 games the previous season. Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier, long-time
adversaries when Monroe was with Baltimore, learned to coexist in
the New York backcourt. Jerry Lucas, like Monroe, had been obtained
in a trade and shared the center spot with Reed. Bill Bradley and
Dave DeBusschere were at their familiar forward spots, with Phil Jackson
again in reserve. But the top team during the regular season was Boston,
which had rebuilt around John Havlicek with young stars Jo Jo White
and Dave Cowens, veteran Paul Silas, and 1969 title team holdovers
Don Chaney, Don Nelson and Satch Sanders. Boston won 68 games, just
one shy of the league record the Lakers established a season earlier.
Meanwhile, the 76ers, who lost Billy Cunningham to the ABA, suffered
through an NBA record worst 9-73 season.
New York breezed past Baltimore in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, then battled
tooth-and-nail with Boston before the younger Celtics succumbed in a surprisingly
easy Game 7. The Lakers defeated Chicago in seven games, then moved past
a well-balanced Golden State team in five to reach the Finals. With the
same Finals matchup for the third time in four years, there were few secrets
between the two teams. After the Lakers edged New York in Game 1, the
Knicks won four straight closely contested games to bring a second NBA
title to New York.
Walt Frazier found harmony with Earl Monroe in the New York backcourt.
"TINY" MAKES BIG IMPRESSION
While Boston grabbed the headlines during the regular season with 68
victories and New York won its second Championship, a remarkable story
was being played out in the unlikely settings of Kansas City, MO and
Omaha, NE. The Cincinnati Royals had moved after the 1972 season and
were splitting home games between the two cities. Although the team
went 36-46 and didn't qualify for the Playoffs, the fans witnessed greatness
in the form of 6-foot guard Nate "Tiny" Archibald, in his
third pro season.
Archibald, a New York guard with all the playground moves, led the NBA
in both scoring (34.0) and assists (11.4). He belied his slight frame
by playing a league-leading 46 minutes per game. More than two decades
later, no one has come close to matching Archibald's dual achievement.
NBA History Season by Season
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