1953–54 NBA season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the eighth season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Minneapolis Lakers winning their 5th NBA Championship in 6 years, beating the Syracuse Nationals 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. It was also the final time the Lakers would win an NBA Championship before the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

1953–54 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 30, 1953 – March 14, 1954
March 16–28, 1954 (Playoffs)
March 31–April 12, 1954 (Finals)
Number of games72
Number of teams9
TV partner(s)DuMont
Top draft pickRay Felix
Picked byBaltimore Bullets
Regular season
Top scorerNeil Johnston (Philadelphia)
Eastern championsSyracuse Nationals
  Eastern runners-upBoston Celtics
Western championsMinneapolis Lakers
  Western runners-upRochester Royals
ChampionsMinneapolis Lakers
  Runners-upSyracuse Nationals

Notable occurrences

Coaching changes
Team 1952–53 coach 1953–54 coach
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Milwaukee Hawks Andrew Levane Red Holzman

Final standings

Eastern Division

Eastern Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-New York Knicks 44 28 .611 18–8 15–13 11–7 24–16
x-Boston Celtics 42 30 .583 2 17–6 10–19 15–5 25–15
x-Syracuse Nationals 42 30 .583 2 26–6 11–17 5–7 21–19
Philadelphia Warriors 29 43 .403 15 10–9 6–16 13–18 19–21
Baltimore Bullets 16 56 .222 28 12–18 0–22 4–16 11–29

Western Division

Western Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Minneapolis Lakers 46 26 .639 20–4 13–15 13–7 19–13
x-Rochester Royals 44 28 .611 2 18–10 12–15 14–3 22–10
x-Fort Wayne Pistons 40 32 .556 6 19–8 11–17 10–7 17–15
Milwaukee Hawks 21 51 .292 25 11–14 5–17 6–20 6–26

x – clinched playoff spot

Statistics leaders

Category Player Team Stat
Points Neil Johnston Philadelphia Warriors 1,759
Rebounds Harry Gallatin New York Knicks 1,098
Assists Bob Cousy Boston Celtics 518
FG% Ed Macauley Boston Celtics .486
FT% Bill Sharman Boston Celtics .844

Note: Prior to the 1969–70 season, league leaders in points, rebounds, and assists were determined by totals rather than averages.

NBA awards


1953 NBA draft

The 1953 NBA draft was the seventh annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held on April 24, 1953, before the 1953–54 season. In this draft, nine remaining NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. In each round, the teams select in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season. The draft consisted of 19 rounds comprising 122 players selected.

1953–54 Baltimore Bullets season

The 1953-54 NBA season was the Bullets' 7th season in the NBA.

1953–54 Boston Celtics season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the Celtics' 8th season in the NBA.

1953–54 Fort Wayne Pistons season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the Pistons' sixth season in the NBA and 13th season as a franchise.

1953–54 Milwaukee Hawks season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the Hawks' fifth season in the NBA and third season in Milwaukee.

1953–54 Minneapolis Lakers season

The 1953–54 Minneapolis Lakers season was the sixth season for the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The Lakers won the Western Division with a 46–26 record. George Mikan was hampered by knee troubles as he averaged only 18.1 points per game. The Lakers signed a promising rookie named Clyde Lovellette, who was able to alleviate the pressure on Mikan.

In the first round, the Lakers won 3 straight to face the Rochester Royals in the Western Finals. The Lakers would beat the Royals to qualify for the NBA Finals. In the finals, the Lakers and Syracuse Nationals alternated wins. In the end, the Lakers emerged with their 3rd straight title, and 5th overall in the franchise's first six seasons in the NBA. They became the first NBA team to win three consecutive NBA championships. In the seventh and final game, the Lakers won by a score of 87–80, for the franchise's final NBA title before their relocation to Los Angeles in 1960. Following the season, Mikan would announce his retirement.The Lakers would not win another NBA championship until 1972.

1953–54 New York Knicks season

The 1953–54 New York Knicks season was the eighth season for the team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). New York won its second straight regular season Eastern Division title with a 44–28 record, which placed them two games ahead of the Boston Celtics and Syracuse Nationals. The first round of the 1954 NBA Playoffs consisted of round-robin tournaments, where the top three teams in each division played each other in home and away matchups. The Knicks went 0–4 against the Celtics and Nationals, and did not qualify for the Eastern Division Finals.

1953–54 Philadelphia Warriors season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the Warriors' 8th season in the NBA.

1953–54 Rochester Royals season

The 1953–54 NBA season was the Royals sixth season in the NBA.

1953–54 Syracuse Nationals season

The 1953-54 Syracuse Nationals season was the fifth season for the franchise in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In the Eastern Division Finals the Nationals swept the Boston Celtics two straight to make it to the NBA Finals. The Nationals would go on to lose the Finals in seven games to the Minneapolis Lakers.

1954 NBA All-Star Game

The 1954 NBA All Star Game was the fourth NBA All-Star Game. It was held on January 21, 1954, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Bob Cousy of the Boston Celtics was the game MVP. Joe Lapchick of the New York Knicks coached the Eastern Conference and John Kundla of the Minneapolis Lakers coached the Western Conference. The attendance was 16,487.

The Eastern Conference held an 84–82 edge with only seconds remaining in the game. Then, George Mikan of the Lakers was fouled. Mikan proceeded to make both foul shots, which sent the game into overtime.

In the extra period, Cousy scored 10 points to secure a 98–93 victory. The Western Conference's Jim Pollard, the game's high scorer with 23 points, had been named MVP in a vote taken before regulation time had run out. But another ballot was taken and Cousy became the MVP.

The 1954 All-Star Game was the last All-Star Game in which neither side reached 100 points.

1954 NBA Finals

The 1954 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1954 NBA Playoffs, which concluded the National Basketball Association 1953–54 season. The Western Division champion Minneapolis Lakers faced the Eastern Division champion Syracuse Nationals in a best-of-seven series with Minneapolis having home-court advantage. The Lakers won their third consecutive NBA championship and their sixth title in seven years dating from 1948, the club's final season as a member of the National Basketball League.

Minneapolis won game one and the teams thereafter alternated victories, with the Lakers winning the decisive game by a seven-point margin at home. The seven games were played in thirteen days, beginning Wednesday, March 31 and concluding Monday, April 12. The entire postseason tournament spanned 28 days in which both Minneapolis and Syracuse played 13 games.

1954 NBA playoffs

The 1954 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1953–54 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Minneapolis Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Nationals 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.

For the Lakers, it was their third straight NBA title, and fifth in the last six years.

With the folding of the Indianapolis Olympians after the previous year's playoffs, leaving the NBA with nine teams, they resorted to a round-robin playoff format in 1954 for the only time in league history.

Although the Minneapolis Lakers, Fort Wayne Pistons, Rochester Royals and Syracuse Nationals all play in different cities now (Los Angeles, Detroit, Sacramento and Philadelphia respectively), this is the earliest NBA playoff in which every team that participated still exists today.

Ed Smith (basketball)

Edward "Ed" Smith (July 5, 1929 – November 25, 1998) was an NBA basketball player for the New York Knicks. He was drafted with the sixth pick in the first round of the 1951 NBA Draft by the Knicks. He made his NBA debut in the 1953–54 NBA season and played in eleven games where he averaged 2.5 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game.

Hal Uplinger

Harold F. "Hal" Uplinger (September 30, 1929 – February 1, 2011) was an American professional basketball player and television producer.

A 6'4" (1.93 m) guard from Long Island University, Uplinger spent the 1953-54 NBA season with the Baltimore Bullets, scoring 86 points in 23 games.He worked for CBS in Los Angeles and New York as the production manager at KCBS, then as sports producer for the CBS Television Network.

He produced the American side of Live Aid and was responsible for the international distribution of the 16-hour broadcast to 155 countries and raised $283.7 million for the Band Aid Trust.

Hal Uplinger produced many world wide TV broadcasts mainly using top musical talent promoting humanitarian themes.

He is generally considered to be the co-founder, along with Tony Verna, of the system used to present instant replays on television.

He was the Northern League basketball player of the year at John Marshall High School, and an All-Los Angeles City player as well, going on to play for the National Championship Junior College team at Los Angeles City College before playing at L.I.U. for legendary coach Clair Bee. He is the only Marshall High School (opened in 1931) basketball player to ever play in the NBA.

The Santa Monica YMCA Youth basketball league honors his memory, through his god-son Pete Arbogast (also the long time radio Voice of the USC Trojans), with a free throw award named for "Uppie" in each division at the end of each season.

Joe Smyth (basketball)

Joseph George "Joe" Smyth (May 22, 1929 – June 10, 1999) was an American National Basketball Association (NBA) player. He was drafted with the seventy-seventh overall pick in the ninth round of the 1953 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He made his NBA debut on December 30, 1953 for the Knicks and played eight games with them. Joe finished the 1953-54 NBA season with the Baltimore Bullets averaging career totals of 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

List of 1953–54 NBA season transactions

This is a list of all personnel changes for the 1953 NBA off-season and 1953–54 NBA season.

NBA on DuMont

For the 1953–54 NBA season, the National Basketball Association began a contract with the DuMont Television Network. This marked the first year the NBA had a national television contract.

1953–54 NBA season

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