1955 NBA Finals

The 1955 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1954–55 NBA season. The best-of-seven series was won by the Syracuse Nationals, who defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the final game when Syracuse's George King made a free throw with 12 seconds left to put the Nationals up 92–91. King then stole the ball from Fort Wayne's Andy Phillip with three seconds remaining to clinch the victory for Syracuse.[1] Because of the arena not believing Fort Wayne would make the NBA Finals, the arena was booked and not available, and the Fort Wayne home games were played in Indianapolis.[2]

It has been alleged that some Fort Wayne players conspired with gamblers to throw the series to Syracuse.[3] The suspicious nature of the seventh game in particular has raised concerns about the legitimacy of the series. Fort Wayne led Syracuse 41-24 early in the second quarter, then allowed the Nationals to rally to win the game.[4] Andy Phillip, who turned the ball over with three seconds left in the game, was believed by at least one of his teammates, George Yardley, to have thrown the game. "There were always unwholesome implications about that ball game", Yardley told the author Charley Rosen.[5] However, Phillip may not have acted alone. Other Pistons players were strongly believed to have thrown games during the 1954 and 1955 NBA seasons.[6] In fact, Yardley himself turned the ball over to Syracuse with a palming violation with 18 seconds remaining in Game 7.[7] The foul that gave Syracuse its winning free throw, meanwhile, was committed by Frankie Brian.[7] The NBA would not return to this seven game 2–3–2 format until 1985.

1955 NBA Finals
TeamCoachWins
Syracuse Nationals Al Cervi 4
Fort Wayne Pistons Charles Eckman 3
DatesMarch 31–April 10
Eastern FinalsNationals defeated Celtics, 3–1
Western FinalsPistons defeated Lakers, 3–1

Series summary

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 March 31 Syracuse 87–82 (1–0) Fort Wayne
Game 2 April 2 Syracuse 87–84 (2–0) Fort Wayne
Game 3 April 3 Fort Wayne* 96–89 (1–2) Syracuse
Game 4 April 5 Fort Wayne* 109–102 (2–2) Syracuse
Game 5 April 7 Fort Wayne* 74–71 (3–2) Syracuse
Game 6 April 9 Syracuse 109–104 (3–3) Fort Wayne
Game 7 April 10 Syracuse 92–91 (4–3) Fort Wayne

Nationals win series 4–3

  • – Games played in Indianapolis

Team rosters

Fort Wayne Pistons

Notes and sources

  1. ^ "City Hails Nats' World Title Triumph", Syracuse Herald Journal, April 11, 1955, pp. 1, 45.
  2. ^ "Nats Win First Title of Shot-Clock Era", NBA.com
  3. ^ The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball. By Charley Rosen. p. 154. 2001 Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-58322-268-5
  4. ^ "Syracuse Five Defeats Pistons in N.B.A. Play-Off Final, 92-91", The New York Times, April 11, 1955, p. 31.
  5. ^ Rosen, p. 154.
  6. ^ Rosen, pp. 108-154.
  7. ^ a b Syracuse Herald Journal, April 11, 1955, p. 45.

See also

External links

1956 NBA Finals

The 1956 NBA World Championship Series was the championship series played at the conclusion of the 1955–56 National Basketball Association (NBA) season. The Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons four games to one. The series is notable for being one of only two Finals in which the two teams alternated home games, the other being in 1971.

1981 NBA Finals

The 1981 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1980–81 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. It pitted the 62–20 Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics against the 40–42 Western Conference champion Houston Rockets. This series has the distinction of featuring for the second time in NBA history, and last to date, a team with a losing record in the Finals. The previous team was the Minneapolis Lakers in 1959.

2002–03 Detroit Pistons season

The 2002–03 NBA season was the Pistons' 62nd season as a franchise, the 55th in the National Basketball Association, and the 46th in the Detroit area. During the offseason, the Pistons acquired Richard Hamilton from the Washington Wizards and signed free agent Chauncey Billups. With the acquisitions of Hamilton and Billups, the Pistons got off to a solid start winning 12 of their first 16 games. However, the team suffered a 7-game losing streak between February and March, but managed to finish with a 50–32 record, earning them first place in the Eastern Conference. After defeating the Orlando Magic 4–3 in the first round after trailing 3–1, and then beating the Philadelphia 76ers 4–2 in the semifinals, the Pistons were a serious title contender. Instead, they had their season ended with a sweep to the New Jersey Nets in four straight Eastern Conference Final games.

Ben Wallace was voted to play in the 2003 NBA All-Star Game for the first time in his career. He also won Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. Following the season, Pistons head coach Rick Carlisle was fired after spending only two seasons with the team and replaced by Larry Brown, who resigned by the 76ers on Memorial Day as their replacement as Carlisle will go on to coach the Indiana Pacers replaced Isiah Thomas, who was fired after failing to reach the second round for three consecutive seasons in the playoffs. Also following the season, Clifford Robinson was traded to the Golden State Warriors, Jon Barry signed as a free agent with the Denver Nuggets, and Michael Curry was dealt to the Toronto Raptors.

2002–03 Philadelphia 76ers season

The 2002–03 NBA season was the 76ers 54th season in the National Basketball Association, and 40th season in Philadelphia. During the offseason, the Sixers acquired Keith Van Horn from the New Jersey Nets. Van Horn was originally drafted by the Sixers as the second pick in the 1997 NBA draft. The Sixers got off to a fast start winning 15 of their first 19 games, but would then lose 14 of their next 18 games. The team improved on their last season posting a nine-game winning streak at midseason, finishing second in the Atlantic Division with a 48–34 record, with the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers defeated the New Orleans Hornets led by Baron Davis in six games in the first round of the playoffs, but they could not go further in the next round as they lost to the Detroit Pistons in six games. Following the season, Van Horn was traded to the New York Knicks.

This season was head coach Larry Brown's last in Philadelphia as he resigned on Memorial Day, 2003. Brown would later go on to coach the Detroit Pistons, where he helped the team win the 2004 NBA Championship. He led the team to another Finals appearance in 2005. As of 2019, the Sixers have advanced past the first round of the playoffs three times since this 2003 playoff victory over New Orleans (2012, Bulls; 2018, Celtics; 2019, Raptors)

For the first time in his career, Allen Iverson played a full 82-game season. He would have another in 2007–08 while with the Denver Nuggets. He was also selected for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game.

2003 NBA playoffs

The 2003 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2002–03 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs defeating the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets, 4 games to 2, in the NBA Finals. Tim Duncan was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time.

This postseason featured the most series decided by 6 games in NBA Playoff history.

This postseason is notable for being the first time since 1974 that all series were conducted in a best-of-seven format; From 1984 to 2002, the first-round series were best-of-five. It is also notable as the only time the conference quarterfinal round did not include any series sweeps.

This is the first time that the NBA Playoffs carried more games on cable television than regular broadcast television, and marks the debut for the NBA Playoffs to be aired on NBA TV, and the return broadcast on ESPN and ABC after the NBA departed from NBC and TBS.

The Detroit Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars-led team was swept by the Chicago Bulls in 1991, ending the Pistons' quest for a third consecutive title. The Pistons would go on to appear in six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals through 2008, the most consecutive appearances for any Eastern Conference team since the Bill Russell-led Boston Celtics (1956–69).

The Dallas Mavericks ended a long conference finals drought by making it there for the first time since 1988.

As of 2018, the 49-win Nets are the most recent NBA Finals participant to win fewer than 50 games in an 82-game season.

The Boston Celtics were swept in a postseason series for the first time since 1983.

2005 NBA Finals

The 2005 NBA Finals was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2004–05 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs played the defending NBA champion and Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage and the Pistons as defending champions. The series was played under a best-of-seven format. (Unlike the previous three rounds, the team with home court advantage hosted games one, two, six, and seven if all were necessary). It also marked the Pistons first NBA Finals loss to a team other than the Lakers since 1988.

The Spurs won the series four games to three in the first NBA Finals to go to a Game 7 since 1994. The games were broadcast on ABC, with Al Michaels and Hubie Brown commentating. National radio coverage was provided by ESPN Radio through announcers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay.

2005 NBA playoffs

The 2005 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2004–05 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs defeating the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. Tim Duncan was named Finals MVP.

The NBA Finals marked the first time since 1987 that the 2 previous champions met in the Finals (the Spurs won in 2003, the Pistons in 2004). For the Spurs, it was their 3rd title (they also won in the lockout-shortened season of 1999).

The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards ended long playoff droughts in 2005 (and met each other in the first round). For Washington it was their first playoff appearance since 1997 (and even more ironic their opponents for that postseason appearance were the Bulls who swept them on their way to their fifth NBA title), and only their third since 1988. Their 4-2 series victory over the Bulls was their first since 1982.

The Miami Heat became the first team to go 8-0 through the first 2 rounds (the first round having been made into a best-of-7 in the 2003 NBA playoffs). The 2009 Cavaliers, 2010 Magic, 2012 Spurs, 2016 Cavaliers, 2017 Cavaliers and the 2017 Warriors followed suit. No team (until 2016) has made the finals after going 8-0 in the first two rounds, let alone win 12 straight games going to the NBA Finals (until 2017 Warriors), though the Spurs came close in 2012 when they won their first 10 playoff games, then lost their next four to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team to go 8-0 through the first two rounds and make the NBA Finals. In 2017, the Golden State Warriors became the second team to go 8-0 through the first two rounds and make the NBA Finals as well as going 16-1 in the playoffs, the best winning percentage (.941) in NBA Playoff history.

It was the Bulls' first post-Michael Jordan playoff appearance, as their last playoff game was Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. They consistently placed at or near the bottom of the Central Division in between, but their 47-35 season in 2005 was a 24-game improvement from 2004.

For the 3rd straight year (5th overall) the Pacers met the Celtics in the first round. Boston won in 2003 4–2, while Indiana swept Boston in 2004. It would be Boston's last playoff appearance until 2008.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, it marked the first time in 11 seasons (dating back to 1994) and the fifth time in NBA history that they missed the playoffs. This is also the most recent time that the playoffs were played entirely outside of Los Angeles.

This was the last time that the Seattle SuperSonics would be in the playoffs before they relocated to Oklahoma to become the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Phoenix Suns won their first playoff series since 2000 and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 1993, where they lost to the San Antonio Spurs in five games.

2008 NBA playoffs

The 2008 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2007–08 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Paul Pierce was named NBA Finals MVP.

The playoffs were noted for the Atlanta Hawks' return after 9 years, taking the #1 seed Celtics to 7 games before bowing out. Also notable was the debut of the Chris Paul-led Hornets in the playoffs after Hurricane Katrina and their 7-game series against defending champions San Antonio Spurs, and the Lakers and Celtics' revitalization of their franchises, most especially after key trades during the preseason and regular season. The Celtics ended up playing 26 playoff games (2 games short of a full length postseason of 28), breaking the 25 game record of the 1994 Knicks and 2005 Pistons by 1 game for the most playoff games in a single season played by 1 NBA team. The Knicks, however, only played a Best-of-5 First Round, and so had 2 fewer games to accomplish that feat. Also, the top seeds from each Conference met in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000. The 2008 Finals was also the first since 1998 to feature neither Shaquille O'Neal nor Tim Duncan.

The Golden State Warriors won 48 games, more than 5 of the 8 playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. However, all eight qualifiers in the Western Conference finished with at least 50 wins, thus leaving the Warriors out of the postseason.

Andy Phillip

Andrew Michael "Handy Andy" Phillip (March 7, 1922 – April 29, 2001) was an American professional basketball player. Born in Granite City, Illinois, Phillip had an 11-year career and played for the Chicago Stags of the Basketball Association of America and the Philadelphia Warriors, Fort Wayne Pistons and Boston Celtics, all of the National Basketball Association.

Charley Eckman

Charles Markwood Eckman, Jr. (September 10, 1921 – July 3, 1995) was an American basketball head coach and professional basketball referee for the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was also a sports broadcaster.

Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are an American professional basketball team based in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division and plays its home games at Little Caesars Arena. The team was founded in Fort Wayne, Indiana as the Fort Wayne (Zollner) Pistons in 1941, a member of the National Basketball League (NBL) where it won two NBL championships: in 1944 and 1945. The Pistons later joined the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1948. The NBL and BAA merged to become the NBA in 1949, and the Pistons became part of the merged league. In 1957, the franchise moved to Detroit. The Pistons have won three NBA championships: in 1989, 1990 and 2004.

George Mikan

George Lawrence Mikan Jr. (June 18, 1924 – June 1, 2005), nicknamed Mr. Basketball, was an American professional basketball player for the Chicago American Gears of the National Basketball League (NBL) and the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBL, the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Invariably playing with thick, round spectacles, the 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), 245 pounds (111 kg) Mikan is seen as one of the pioneers of professional basketball, redefining it as a game of so-called big men with his prolific rebounding, shot blocking, and his talent to shoot over smaller defenders with his ambidextrous hook shot, the result of his namesake Mikan Drill. He also utilized the underhanded free-throw shooting technique long before Rick Barry made it his signature shot.Mikan had a successful playing career, winning seven NBL, BAA, and NBA championships, an NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy, and three scoring titles. He was a member of the first four NBA All-Star games, and the first six All-BAA and All-NBA Teams. Mikan was so dominant that he caused several rule changes in the NBA: among them, the introduction of the goaltending rule, the widening of the foul lane—known as the "Mikan Rule"—and the creation of the shot clock.After his playing career, Mikan became one of the founders of the American Basketball Association (ABA), serving as commissioner of the league. He was also vital for the forming of the Minnesota Timberwolves. In his later years, Mikan was involved in a long-standing legal battle against the NBA, fighting to increase the meager pensions for players who had retired before the league became lucrative. In 2005, Mikan died after a long battle with diabetes.For his accomplishments, Mikan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1959, made the 25th and 35th NBA Anniversary Teams of 1970 and 1980, and was elected one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players ever in 1996. Since April 2001, a statue of Mikan shooting his trademark hook shot graces the entrance of the Timberwolves' Target Center.

List of Philadelphia 76ers head coaches

The Philadelphia 76ers are an American professional basketball team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Formerly known as the Syracuse Nationals, the 76ers joined the NBA when it was founded in 1949. The Nationals had a record of 51–13 in their first NBA season under coach Al Cervi and won the Eastern Division crown. The franchise were purchased by Philadelphian Irv Kosloff and Ike Richma in the spring of 1963; the NBA approved their franchise shift on May 22 and name change to the Philadelphia 76ers on August 6. This brought professional basketball back to the city, which had been without a team since the Golden State Warriors left Philadelphia in 1962. After coaching the 76ers since 2010, Doug Collins resigned as head coach on April 18, 2013 following the 2012–13 season. Brett Brown was hired to be the head coach of the 76ers on August 15, 2013 prior to the start of the 2013-14 season.There have been 24 head coaches for the Philadelphia 76ers franchise. The franchise won their first NBA championship as the Syracuse Nationals in the 1955 NBA Finals under coach Cervi. Their second title was won as the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967, coached by Alex Hannum, who has the highest career winning percentage for the 76ers. Billy Cunningham, who played and coached with the 76ers for 17 years, is the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins. He coached the team to their most recent title in 1983.Hannum, Jack Ramsay, and Larry Brown are the only members of the franchise to have been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as coaches. Cervi, Paul Seymour, and Kevin Loughery served as a player-coaches, and Cervi, after retiring as a player, continued to coach the team for the rest of the season that he retired during and five additional seasons. Six other former players, Hannum, Dolph Schayes, Cunningham, Matt Guokas, Fred Carter, and Maurice Cheeks went on to coach for the franchise.

Mendy Rudolph

Marvin "Mendy" Rudolph (March 8, 1926 – July 4, 1979) was an American professional basketball referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 22 years, from 1953 to 1975. Regarded as one of the greatest officials in NBA history, Rudolph officiated 2,112 NBA games (a record held at retirement) and was the first league referee to work 2,000 games. He was also selected to referee eight NBA All-Star Games and made 22 consecutive NBA Finals appearances.Following his career as a referee, he was a color commentator for CBS Sports's coverage of the NBA on CBS for two seasons from 1975 to 1977 and he appeared in a television advertisement for Miller Lite. He was a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2007.

NBA 60 Greatest Playoff Moments

The NBA 60 Greatest Playoff Moments were chosen in 2006 to honor the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the National Basketball Association (NBA). These 60 moments (in total, there were sixty-two moments; the last three were deemed tied) were selected through a vote by a 25-member panel of experts made up by media members and former players. The last 50 moments (from the eleventh to the sixtieth) were ranked by the panel. The top 10 moments were instead ranked by fans who voted online. The voting ended on June 5, 2006 and the results were announced in a television special aired on NBA TV the following day.

As the name suggested, all of these moments happened during the NBA playoffs. Forty moments selected happened in the Finals round, with 19 of them happening during the 1980s and 18 of them happening during the 1990s.

Syracuse Nationals 1954–55 NBA champions
Fort Wayne Pistons 1954–55 Western Division Champions
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