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Chamberlain VS Russell In the Playoffs


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#1 JTF

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Posted October 09, 2013 - 07:29 PM

In 49 post-season games, Wilt averaged 25.7 points and 28.0 rebounds against Bill Russell whereas Russell averaged 14.9 points and 24.7 rebounds. Chamberlain outscored and outrebounded Russell in all 8 post-season match-ups. Five of the eight match-ups occurred during Wilt's prime (e.g., 1962-1967).

 

1962 Eastern Conference Finals

 

Game 1  33 points  31 rebounds

Game 2  42 points  37 rebounds  5 assists

Game 3  35 points  29 rebounds  6 assists

Game 4  41 points  34 rebounds

Game 5  30 points  14 rebounds

Game 6  32 points  21 rebounds

Game 7  22 points  21 rebounds

 

Series Average  33.6 points  26.8 rebounds

 

1964  NBA Finals

 

Game 1   22 points  23 rebounds

Game 2   32 points  25 rebounds

Game 3   35 points  25 rebounds  5 assists

Game 4   27 points  38 rebounds

Game 5   30 points  27 rebounds

 

Series Average   29.2 points  27.6 rebounds

 

1965  Eastern Conference Finals

 

Game 1  33 points  31 rebounds  11 blocks

Game 2  30 points  39 rebounds    8 assists  8 blocks

Game 3  24 points  37 rebounds

Game 4  34 points  34 rebounds

Game 5  30 points  21 rebounds  9 blocks

Game 6  30 points  26 rebounds  9 blocks

Game 7  30 points  32 rebounds

 

Series Average  30.1 points  31.4 rebounds

 

1966 Eastern Conference Finals

 

Game 1   25 points  32 rebounds

Game 2   23 points  25 rebounds

Game 3   31 points  27 rebounds

Game 4   15 points  33 rebounds

Game 5   46 points  34 rebounds

 

Series Average   28.0 points  30.2 rebounds

 

1967 Eastern Conference Finals

 

Game 1  24 points  32 rebounds  13 assists  12 blocks

Game 2  15 points  29 rebounds    5 assists    5 blocks

Game 3  20 points  41 rebounds    9 assists    5 blocks

Game 4  20 points  22 rebounds  10 assists    8 blocks

Game 5  29 points  36 rebounds  13 assists    7 blocks

 

Finals Average  21.6 points  32.0 rebounds  10.0 assists  7.4 blocks

 

The only Warrior/76er team that was clearly superior to the Celtics was the 1966-1967 76ers who began the season 46-4, and went on to become the first team to win 68 games in the regular season. Wilt dominated Russell in the 1967 Eastern Conference Finals and led his team to their first NBA title. Some have argued that the 1965-1966 76ers were better than the Celtics. Their argument is based on the 76ers winning their last 11 games and capturing the division title from the Celtics by one game.

 

IMO, there are two huge problems with this argument. The Celtics had won 7 consecutive NBA titles and the 76ers hot streak was cooled by the fact that they had to wait 2 weeks to play the Celtics in the playoffs. The playoff hardened Celtics faced a flat 76ers squad and defeated them in 5 games. Wilt's teammates played poorly, Wilt was so-so in the 1st two games before turning it on in Game 3, and the Celtics adjusted accordingly by deflating their opponent with an overtime victory in Boston in Game 4.

 

In Game 5, Wilt scored 46 points, was 19-34 from the floor, and he grabbed 34 rebounds. Despite this monster effort, he was blamed for the defeat by many in the media due to his abysmal performance from the line. In Game 5, Wilt shot 8-25 from the line. He had become the NBA's easiest target, but he would make his critics eat their words the next season with one of the greatest regular AND post-season performances in NBA history.


Edited by JTF, October 09, 2013 - 07:34 PM.


#2 JTF

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Posted October 10, 2013 - 04:31 PM

The only time that Wilt faced Russell in the playoffs as a Los Angeles Laker was in the 1968-1969 season. He was coming off 3 consecutive MVP seasons and led the 76ers to the NBA title in 1967. The Lakers were heavy favorites to win the title, but several factors produced an extremely rocky journey.
 
- Wilt wasn't the most coach friendly player, but he absolutely hated Butch Van Breda Kolff
 
- Van Breda Kolff was an Elgin Baylor loyalist, so he asked Wilt to play the high post in order to allow Baylor ample room to cut and drive
 
- Van Breda Kolff didn't really care about Wilt's strengths as a player
 
- Baylor was way past his prime in 1968 whereas Wilt was only a year or two past his prime
 
- Wilt and Jerry West were the only good defenders on this squad
 
- This Laker squad was rather slow and their style of play was more 2013 than 1968
 
- Van Breda Kolff wasn't a competent professional head coach as evidenced by his follow-up gig with the Atlanta Hawks.
 
Despite all of these problems, the Lakers did manage to win 55 games, and they had home court advantage in the 1969 playoffs. The team played poorly in the 1st two games of the 1969 Divisional Playoffs and were quickly down 2-0 to the San Francisco Warriors. Wilt's teammates asked him to be more active and Wilt responded by taking over the series. According to Sports Illustrated, Wilt's play was the main reason why the Lakers went on to win the next 4 games of the series. In terms of defensive dominance, this may have been the greatest playoff series of Wilt's career. Wilt did the following against HOF center Nate Thurmond.
 
Game 3   22 points  28 rebounds   5 assists  11 blocks
Game 4   11 points  14 rebounds   9 blocks
Game 5     7 points  27 rebounds  10 blocks
Game 6   11 points  25 rebounds  15 blocks
 
Series Average  12.0 points  23.5 rebounds  10.3 blocks
 
Wilt then dominated All-Star Center Zelmo Beaty in the 1969 Western Conference Finals.
 
Game 1   15 points  29 rebounds
Game 2   23 points  29 rebounds
Game 3   17 points  22 rebounds
Game 4   25 points  19 rebounds
Game 5   16 points  29 rebounds  10 blocks
 
Series Average  19.2 points  25.6 rebounds
 
The Lakers were heavy favorites to defeat the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Wilt's level of play in this series was inconsistent. He dominated Russell in Games 1, 3, 5, and 7. He played poorly in Games 2 and 6, and was average in Game 4.
 
Game 1  15 points  22 rebounds 12 blocks
Game 2    4 points  19 rebounds
Game 3  16 points  26 rebounds
Game 4    8 points  31 rebounds
Game 5  13 points  31 rebounds
Game 6    8 points  18 rebounds
Game 7  18 points  27 rebounds
 
Series Average  11.7 points  25.0 rebounds
 
Game 7 is the game that is most talked about, but perception and myths continue to dominate the debate. The FACTS of the game should have squashed the myriad of interpretations of what occurred, but controversy sells.
 
Myth: Wilt injured his knee in the 4th quarter and refused to go back in the game.
 
Fact: Wilt injured his knee with a little under 6 minutes to play in the game. According to Wilt AND Butch Van Breda Kolff, Wilt asked to go back in the game, but Van Breda Kolff told Wilt, "We're doing better without you."
 
Myth: Wilt took himself out of the game after injuring his knee.

Fact: As Wilt grabbed his 26th rebound of the game, he twisted his knee, and fired an outlet pass. He stayed on that end of the court, the Celtics took a shot, Wilt grabbed his 27th rebound of the game, and then called a time-out. The Laker trainer went on the court, he attempted to treat the knee, and then Wilt remained on the court for the next series. As Wilt was hobbling down the court on offense, Van Breda Kolff decided to substitute Mel Counts for Wilt.
 
Myth: Wilt wouldn't come back in the game because Russell was outplaying him.
 
Fact: Wilt and Jerry West were the only Lakers to play well in this game. Wilt scored 18 points, he shot 7-8 from the floor, and he grabbed 27 rebounds. Russell scored 6 points, he shot 2-7 from the floor, and grabbed 21 rebounds.

Edited by JTF, October 10, 2013 - 06:34 PM.


#3 Majesty

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Posted October 10, 2013 - 09:30 PM

That's why that coach was fired after that game.


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#4 JTF

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Posted October 11, 2013 - 05:25 PM

MAJESTY: Very true. When Jerry West heard about Van Breda Kolff's decision, he was furious, and everyone in the Laker organization knew that Butch would no longer be the coach of the Lakers. Butch had the right to dislike Wilt, but his main goal should have been to win the NBA title. Even a hobbled Chamberlain would have been a better option than Mel Counts who was an absolute stiff.

It's important to remember that Van Breda Kolff's decision was made after the Lakers had cut the Celtics lead to 9 points. Wilt was having one of his better games of the series and Russell was playing with 5 fouls. Shortly after picking up his 5th foul, Wilt went right at Russell and scored on a finger roll. If given the chance, it is likely that Wilt would have continued to do that for the remainder of the game.

Edited by JTF, October 11, 2013 - 05:27 PM.


#5 Majesty

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Posted October 11, 2013 - 10:27 PM

It's likely.  

That's the infamous "Balloons" game.

A coach put his ego before the team and cost them the championship.

My dad saw that game when it happened and he said he knew the moment the coach wouldn't put Wilt back in, he knew the guy was gonna be fired regardless of the result.  

Did that coach go on to do anything of significance after that?


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#6 kball

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Posted October 12, 2013 - 05:15 AM

Come clean JTF...did u cover hoops for a newspaper or see those games involving Wilt? Your level of detail is incredible. And i for one really love the history lesson and reminder of how dominant Wilt was.  I remember stifling a laugh when Shaq called himself the Most dominant ever. I mean, I was at some shaq playoff games v sac where he had 2 straight games of 40/20 and i couldn't believe how GIANT those stats were for 2 games! (Granted the scores in the old days of wilt were 20-40 pts higher it seems).

 

Anyway, we haven't and will never see stat stuffing like that ever again. Wilt was a beast. Do we know what he died from? He died relatively young and i seem to remember natural causes as being the reported reason.


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#7 JTF

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Posted October 12, 2013 - 12:14 PM

MAJESTY: The following year, Van Breda Kolff coached the Atlanta Hawks and he did a decent job. He guided the Hawks to the playoffs and they ended up facing the Lakers in the 1970 Western Conference Finals. As evidenced by the following events, Butch found out that Karma is a b%&ch.

 

- Wilt twisted his knee in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals and he injured that same knee in the 9th game of the 1969-1970 regular season

 

- The Laker medical staff told reporters that Wilt was done for the season. He tore the patella tendon in his knee and no basketball player had ever come back in the same season after suffering this type of injury

 

- Wilt came back to play in the final 3 regular season games and he did this to the Phoenix Suns in the 1970 Divisional playoffs

 

Game 1   29 points  19 rebounds  5 assists

Game 2   19 points  25 rebounds

Game 3   11 points  12 rebounds  7 assists

Game 4   29 points  19 rebounds

Game 5   36 points  14 rebounds  10 blocks

Game 6   12 points  26 rebounds  11 assists  12 blocks  

Game 7   30 points  27 rebounds    6 assists  11 blocks

 

Series Average   23.7 points  20.2 rebounds  5.1 assists

 

Van Breda Kolff's Hawks were then destroyed by his former team and his former center playing on an injured knee was a big part of that destruction. Wilt did his usual number on the Hawks HOF center Walt Bellamy.

 

Game 1   16 points  17 rebounds  8 assists

Game 2   24 points  24 rebounds

Game 3   18 points  26 rebounds

Game 4   11 points  21 rebounds  10 blocks

 

Series Average   17.2 points  22.0 rebounds


Edited by JTF, October 12, 2013 - 12:16 PM.


#8 JTF

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Posted October 12, 2013 - 12:45 PM

KBALL: I would have loved to have watched Wilt play in his prime, but I only got to see him play in his last 3 seasons with the Lakers. At that time, Wilt was a 300 pound shot blocking machine who pounded the boards, fired the outlet pass better than anyone in the league, and did enough on offense (e.g., averaged 20.7, 14.8, and 13.3 in his last 3 seasons) to keep teams on their toes.

In terms of a comparison to Shaq, Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe said it best when he called Wilt a "battleship," and Shaq a "tugboat." Shaq was a great player and possibly the 4th or 5th best center in NBA history. In terms of OVERALL dominance, however, he couldn't hold a candle to Chamberlain.

Shaq wasn't a great defender, shot blocker, leaper, passer, or rebounder. He was above average in all of those categories whereas Wilt was a top 3 center of all-time as a defender, top 2 as a shot blocker, greatest leaper of any 7-footer in history, top 3 passer, and top 2 rebounder.

Wilt died in his sleep at his home at the age of 63. The cause of Wilt's death was congestive heart failure. He was in poor health in the final few years of his life and he looked quite ill at the KU ceremony to retire his number.

#9 Majesty

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Posted October 12, 2013 - 11:19 PM

When it comes to Shaq, his true run of dominance only lasted 4 years. 

That was because Shaq after that first ring started to get complacent and figured just being bigger and stronger was all he needed and that he could neglect training.  This caused him to become a burning match rather than a slow burning candle.


Because of Shaq's slack in training and lack of dedication he was out of his prime in about 4 years.   A run that could have gone much longer much harder, but Kobe's emergence and Shaq's own ego prevented that from happening.


If Shaq had the work ethic Kobe had, Shaq WOULD have surpassed Wilt and likely have been the greatest basketball player to ever touch the ball.

 

As it stands, he was dominant for half a decade, and then faded away after one more championship, finishing his career as a team bouncer and a ring chaser, getting bigger and bigger till his body could take no more.



Wilt's dominance lasted about twice as long as Shaq's and Wilt hadn't gotten a ring yet.  

That is a big reason why he'll never rank above Wilt imo.  Wilt pretty much was able to stay consistent for the better part of his career.   Shaq had it all, but slacked after one ring and thus what could have been one of the most legendary runs in NBA history, became a 4-5 year burning match, and when it went out, it went out violently.


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#10 JTF

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Posted October 13, 2013 - 02:05 AM

In terms of WHEN they faced their toughest competition, Shaq and Wilt were at different ends of the spectrum. As he entered his prime, Shaq's competition at the center position was slim and Slim left town whereas Wilt's competition got tougher as he got older. IMO, there is little chance that the Shaq who played in Miami could have duplicated the overall performance of Chamberlain (e.g., 22.0 points, 18.8 rebounds, holding Kareem to a FG % of .481) against MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1971 Western Conference Finals.

In his last two years in the league, Wilt led the league in rebounding, field goal percentage, and he was a First-Team selection on the NBA's All-Defensive Team. Despite his massive 310 pound frame, Wilt also led the league in minutes played. In the latter stages of Shaq's career, he maintained a high field goal percentage, but he was an average defender/rebounder and lugging around 350 pounds resulted in a drastic reduction in minutes played.

#11 kball

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Posted October 13, 2013 - 03:30 AM

I always remember Wilt's weight being listed as 275 in the forum programs his last 2-3 years as a laker but always suspected he weighed more. Just watched that KU jersey ceremony on YT and Wilt indeed looked unwell, and immensely sad (understandable)...and alone.

 

Wilt and Shaq's careers do seem a bit different. Though who wouldn't want either? Wilt clearly superior, but Shaq did have a longer run and 2 more championships.

 

Wilt and Kareem stand alone at center for me.

But Shaq, Hakeem and Moses Malone get slotted in on that next tier.

Maybe Russell and Ewing beneath that.

 

Wilt must have put up with constant racism like Oscar Robertson, and Russell. I look at that KU crowd in 97(or was it 98?) and it was still all white...40 years later.

But look at things now with the lakers being the best example. Go to a game and the crowd is made up of folks from all races, white, black, latino, asian. People on the street rocking laker gear too. Its clear sports has united people and brought them together in this country from different backgrounds better than anything else...but it wasn't always like that.  And given a choice of era's to be a big fan of the sport (for both scope and impact) I'm more than happy to witness what we have now...though i have my gripes about todays game, but who doesn't.


Edited by kball, October 13, 2013 - 03:34 AM.

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#12 JTF

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Posted October 13, 2013 - 10:53 PM

KBALL: According to newspaper accounts of the day, Wilt was 250 pounds as a rookie, 270 pounds during the 1964-1965 season, 280 pounds during the championship season of 1966-1967, 300 pounds during the 1970-1971 season, and 310 pounds during his final season in the NBA. Video of Wilt during the 1973 All-Star Game lends credence to that figure.

 

According to Billy Cunningham, Wilt's reaction to racism was different than Russell and/or Jabbar. Cunningham stated that Wilt simply ignored it and that this attitude endeared him to fellow students at KU. Wilt was not perfect. He didn't get along with several of his NBA coaches, he was a loner, he didn't rise to the occasion in a few playoff series, and he was a horrible free throw shooter. When Chamberlain was focused, however, he proved that he was the most dominant force that has ever played in the NBA.

 

He carried the 1961-1962 Warriors and 1964-1965 76ers to the 7th game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the heavily favored Boston Celtics. He played one of the greatest playoff series in history against the St. Louis Hawks in the 1964 Western Conference Finals. Wilt put up the following numbers against All-Star Center Zelmo Beaty.

 

Game 1   37 points  22 rebounds

Game 2   28 points  27 rebounds  13 blocks

Game 3   46 points  23 rebounds 

Game 4   36 points  23 rebounds

Game 5   50 points  15 rebounds  6 assists

Game 6   34 points  24 rebounds

Game 7   39 points  30 rebounds  12 blocks

 

Series Average   38.5 points  23.4 rebounds   

 

His performance in the 1967 playoffs is one of the best of all-time and he capped a marvelous playoff run by winning the 1972 NBA Finals MVP award. If you add his eye-popping regular season statistics to this post-season resume, you've got the recipe for being considered one of the all-time greats.



#13 kball

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Posted October 14, 2013 - 05:38 AM

KBALL: According to newspaper accounts of the day, Wilt was 250 pounds as a rookie, 270 pounds during the 1964-1965 season, 280 pounds during the championship season of 1966-1967, 300 pounds during the 1970-1971 season, and 310 pounds during his final season in the NBA. Video of Wilt during the 1973 All-Star Game lends credence to that figure.

 

According to Billy Cunningham, Wilt's reaction to racism was different than Russell and/or Jabbar. Cunningham stated that Wilt simply ignored it and that this attitude endeared him to fellow students at KU. Wilt was not perfect. He didn't get along with several of his NBA coaches, he was a loner, he didn't rise to the occasion in a few playoff series, and he was a horrible free throw shooter. When Chamberlain was focused, however, he proved that he was the most dominant force that has ever played in the NBA.

 

He carried the 1961-1962 Warriors and 1964-1965 76ers to the 7th game of the Eastern Conference Finals against the heavily favored Boston Celtics. He played one of the greatest playoff series in history against the St. Louis Hawks in the 1964 Western Conference Finals. Wilt put up the following numbers against All-Star Center Zelmo Beaty.

 

Game 1   37 points  22 rebounds

Game 2   28 points  27 rebounds  13 blocks

Game 3   46 points  23 rebounds 

Game 4   36 points  23 rebounds

Game 5   50 points  15 rebounds  6 assists

Game 6   34 points  24 rebounds

Game 7   39 points  30 rebounds  12 blocks

 

Series Average   38.5 points  23.4 rebounds   

 

His performance in the 1967 playoffs is one of the best of all-time and he capped a marvelous playoff run by winning the 1972 NBA Finals MVP award. If you add his eye-popping regular season statistics to this post-season resume, you've got the recipe for being considered one of the all-time greats.

Newspaper accounts would have his weight? The programs they sold at the fabulous forum i swear i can only remember seeing 275 ever printed as his weight.  Not saying he wasn't heavier as some players requested certain weight and others certain height be listed rather than actual.  Shaq had to be close or over 400 near the end.

 

Anyway....crazy stats and wilt clearly stepped up in playoffs. His finger rolls were a favorite move of mine to watch as he dunked much more rarely than you would think (reportedly to avoid injuring opposing players hands as i recall).


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#14 Red September

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Posted October 14, 2013 - 08:44 AM

Call me crazy but wilt and Kareem can challenge Jordan as GOAT.

In my opinion. Jordan, wilt, and Kareem are number 1.

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#15 JTF

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Posted October 14, 2013 - 11:15 AM

KBALL: In Wilt's years with the Lakers, several articles mentioned that Wilt was listed at 275 pounds, but that he was "closer to 300 pounds." The following is from the man himself on page 18 of the book WHO'S RUNNING THE ASYLUM?

 

Basketball would be better served by the truth, but the NBA is undoubtedly too embarrassed to admit the truth about some of its players weight relative to their height. I do know that, for about ten years in a row, I was listed at 275 pounds, although I never weighed 275 on any day during that entire period. I weighed 310 to 315 pounds, more or less, but never 275.

 

I agree with you that Wilt dunked a lot less than people realize and a big part of that was due to Wilt not wanting to be seen as a freak. Wilt lamented that his critics would often attribute his offensive success to his size and claimed that all he did was dunk the ball. This resulted in Wilt formulating an all-around offensive game which included the fallaway jumper, the baseline spin move, and the finger roll.

 

What is amazing about the finger roll is that Wilt was really the only center in NBA history to use it as a go-to move. When he received the ball in the low block and proceeded with the power dribble into the lane, that finger roll was impossible to stop. Bill Russell has stated that the only way to stop that move was to force Wilt away from the low block which was easier said than done.



#16 kball

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Posted October 14, 2013 - 01:39 PM

^ Maybe Shaq was close to 450 then?


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#17 JTF

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Posted October 14, 2013 - 03:09 PM

KBALL: Phil Jackson was certainly critical of Shaq's weight during the latter portion of his coaching tenure with the Lakers. He never provided specifics in terms of Shaq's weight, but he did hint that Shaq had packed on about 50 pounds during that time period.  






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