World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

1970 NBA Finals

1970 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
New York Knicks Red Holzman 4
Los Angeles Lakers Joe Mullaney 3
Dates April 24 – May 8
MVP Willis Reed
(New York Knicks)
Television ABC (U.S.)
Announcers Chris Schenkel, Jack Twyman, and Howard Cosell
Radio network Mutual (National)
Announcers Marv Albert and Bob Wolff (NYK)
Chick Hearn and Lynn Shackelford (LAL)
Game 3: Jack Madden and Mendy Rudolph
Game 5: Richie Powers and Mendy Rudolph
Game 6: Richie Powers and Mendy Rudolph
Game 7: Richie Powers and Mendy Rudolph
Hall of Famers Knicks:
Willis Reed (1982)
Phil Jackson (2007, coach)
Bill Bradley (1983)
Dave DeBusschere (1983)
Walt Frazier (1987)
Elgin Baylor (1977)
Wilt Chamberlain (1979)
Jerry West (1980)
Red Holzman (1986)
Mendy Rudolph (2007)
Eastern Finals Knicks defeat Bucks, 4–1
Western Finals Lakers defeat Hawks, 4–0

The 1970 NBA World Championship Series the championship round of the 1970 NBA Playoffs, which concluded the National Basketball Association 1969–70 season. The Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks faced the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers in a best-of-seven series that the Knicks won 4 games to 3 for their first NBA title.

The 1970 Finals was the ninth consecutive NBA championship series to feature a team from California - all of which were lost by the team from that state. For the seventh time, the team was the Lakers. The San Francisco Warriors were the other, losing in 1964 and 1967. With the win, New York became the first city in the United States to win titles in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB, done over a span of just over 30 years. Five other cities - Philadelphia in 1974, Detroit in 1989, Chicago in 1991, Boston in 2002 and Los Angeles in 2012 - have since done so.

The Knicks also became the third Big Apple team in less than 18 months to claim a Big Four championship, following the Jets in Super Bowl III and Mets in the World Series.


  • Background 1
    • Road to the Finals 1.1
    • Regular season series 1.2
  • Game-by-game recap 2
    • Game 1 2.1
    • Game 2 2.2
    • Game 3 2.3
    • Game 4 2.4
    • Game 5 2.5
    • Game 6 2.6
    • Game 7 2.7
    • Series summary 2.8
  • Quotes 3
  • Team rosters 4
  • External links 5


The New York Knicks had a very successful season; they won 60 games and were led by future hall of famers Willis Reed and Walt Frazier. They had a strong supporting cast that featured Dick Barnett, Bill Bradley and Dave DeBusschere. In the playoffs, the Knicks barely won a tough seven-game series against the Baltimore Bullets. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they beat the Milwaukee Bucks, led by captain Lew Alcindor, in five games.

The veteran Lakers were led by superstars Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. However, Chamberlain suffered a severe knee injury in the 9th game of the season and didn't return until there were three games left. Baylor missed 28 games and West was out for three weeks. The Lakers sputtered early without Chamberlain and Baylor and were 13-17 after 30 games. But first year players like center Rick Roberson and guard Dick Garrett made valuable contributions; an early season trade brought Happy Hairston from Detroit to help in the front court, and the Lakers won 46 games to finish two games behind the Atlanta Hawks in the Western Division. In the playoffs, the Lakers rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns, and then in the Western Conference Finals they swept the Atlanta Hawks to advance to the NBA Finals for the 3rd straight year.

Television: ABC - Commentators: Chris Schenkel, Jack Twyman, and Howard Cosell.

Road to the Finals

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Division Champion) New York Knicks (Eastern Division Champion)
2nd seed in the West, 5th best league record Regular season

1st seed in the East, best league record

Defeated the (4) Phoenix Suns, 4–3 Division Semifinals Defeated the (3) Baltimore Bullets, 4–3
Defeated the (1) Atlanta Hawks, 4–0 Division Finals Defeated the (2) Milwaukee Bucks, 4–1

Regular season series

The New York Knicks won the regular season series, 4–2

Game-by-game recap

Game 1

The series started with the Knicks jumping out to an early double digit lead and they were never seriously threatened in their 124-112 game 1 victory.

Game 2

In a reversal of Game 1, the Lakers achieved an early double-digit lead in Game 2, but they struggled to keep it till the end. Finally, Jerry West scored the game-winning free throws as the Lakers grabbed home court advantage with a 105-103 win.

Game 3

The scene shifted to L.A. for game 3 and the fans witnessed one of the most memorable games in NBA Finals history. It was a see-saw game that saw Willis Reed score 38 for the Knicks, while Elgin Baylor fouled out for the Lakers. With 15 seconds left, Jerry West hit a 20 footer to tie the game, only to see Dave DeBusschere score from just above the free throw line with 3 seconds left to put the Knicks up by two. A frustrated Chamberlain grabbed the ball after it went through the basket, and without ever going completely out of bounds (a violation that was not called), threw the ball to West and turned to head to the locker room. West caught the pass, took two dribbles and fired up a desperation 63 footer. The ball glanced off the back of the rim and caromed through the net and the Forum crowd went wild as the game headed to overtime. However, the Lakers could not take advantage of the momentum and the Knicks went out to a 5-point lead midway through overtime. The Lakers cut the lead to 109-108, but Dick Barnett's 18 footer sealed a 3-point Knicks victory. West later lamented that he "still can't believe the Lakers lost that game."

Game 4

The Lakers knew they had to win Game 4; it was another overtime thriller and this time the Lakers won, 121-115, behind 37 points from West and 30 from Baylor.

Game 5

In Game 5 at the Garden, the Knicks took an early lead but then eight minutes into the game, Willis Reed fell down hard while trying to make a shot. Reed eventually got up on his own, but a leg injury forced him to leave the game. The Lakers took advantage and led by 16 points in the 3rd quarter, but a scrambling defense, full court press, and sheer determination to "win one for the captain" helped New York stage a comeback. The Knicks forced 19 second half Laker turnovers, and Bill Bradley's clutch shot tied the game at 87 with 7:40 left to play. New York then outscored L.A. 20-13 the rest of the way for a 107-100 victory and a 3-2 lead in the series.

Game 6

Back in L.A. for game 6, the Knicks were without Reed. Chamberlain, remembering the criticism after playing poorly in game 6 of the prior year's finals, responded by taking advantage of Reed's absence with 45 points as the Lakers cruised to a 135-113 win.

Game 7

The two teams headed back to New York for Game 7. All indications were that Reed would not be able to play. But during warm-ups, Willis Reed walked onto the floor, and the Madison Square Garden crowd erupted with cheers on the heels of his entrance. Reed proceeded to score the first two baskets of the game to give the Knicks an early lead and send the crowd into a fever pitch. Reed did not score again, but played good defense against Chamberlain for most of the first half, and the Lakers were rattled. Walt Frazier took over, scoring 22 points in the first half en route to a 36-point, 19-assist, 7-rebound game. The Knicks built a 69-42 halftime lead and a 94-69 lead after three quarters, and won 113-99 to capture their first NBA championship.

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Score Road Team
Game 1 April 24 (Fri.) New York Knicks 124–112 (1–0) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 2 April 27 (Mon.) New York Knicks 103–105 (1–1) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 3 April 29 (Wed.) Los Angeles Lakers 108–111 OT (1–2) New York Knicks
Game 4 May 1 (Fri.) Los Angeles Lakers 121–115 OT (2–2) New York Knicks
Game 5 May 4 (Mon.) New York Knicks 107–100 (3–2) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 6 May 6 (Wed.) Los Angeles Lakers 135–113 (3–3) New York Knicks
Game 7 May 8 (Fri.) New York Knicks 113–99 (4–3) Los Angeles Lakers

Knicks win series 4–3


Two seconds, one second, West throws it up.... he makes it! West threw it up and makes it over half-court! The ball-game is tied, Jerry West made it through the other side of the mid-court stripe.
— New York Knicks announcer Bob Wolff calling Jerry West's half-court shot to force overtime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals
Now here comes Willis... and the crowd is going wild!
— New York Knick radio announcer Marv Albert describing Willis Reed's entrance prior to Game 7 of the NBA Finals
I think we see Willis coming out!
— ABC analyst Jack Twyman describing the same moment

Team rosters

External links

  • 1970 Finals at
  • 1970 NBA Playoffs at
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.