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Encyclopedia > 1976 NBA Finals

The 1976 NBA Finals was the championship round for the 1975-1976 NBA season. The 1975-76 NBA Season was the 30th season of the National Basketball Association. ...

The Phoenix Suns finished the season with 42 wins and 40 losses, but beat the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors in the playoffs and went on to play the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, giving the Celtics a tough battle before falling in six games. The Phoenix Suns are a professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. ... The Golden State Warriors are a professional basketball team based in Oakland, California, United States. ... The Boston Celtics are a professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. ...

The 1976 NBA Finals also marked the first time that NBA games of any kind were being played during the month of June.

Series Summary

Game Date Winner Score Site
Game 1 May 23 (Sun.) Boston Celtics 98-87 @ Boston
Game 2 May 27 (Thu.) Boston Celtics 105-90 @ Boston
Game 3 May 30 (Sun.) Phoenix Suns 105-98 @ Phoenix
Game 4 June 2 (Wed.) Phoenix Suns 109-107 (OT) @ Phoenix
Game 5 June 4 (Fri.) Boston Celtics 128-126 (3 OT) @ Boston
Game 6 June 6 (Sun.) Boston Celtics 87-80 @ Phoenix

Boston Celtics defeated Phoenix Suns, 4 games to 2

NOTE: Series had three straight off days between Sunday afternoon opener and Thursday night second game due to CBS-TV's concern with low ratings for professional basketball. At that time, ratings ended after Wednesday, May 26th (with weekend afternoon games not factored into the ratings). Accordingly, CBS-TV allowed Game 1 to be played on Sunday afternoon, since the ratings would not count, but would not permit Game 2 to be played live in prime time unless the NBA waited until Thursday evening.

Game 5

Game 5 was a triple-overtime classic that is considered by many to be the greatest game in NBA history. With the series tied 2-2, Boston took a huge lead at Boston Garden but could not hold it. The game was enhanced by several controversies, including Boston's Paul Silas trying to call a timeout at the end of regulation that Boston did not have (with the officials simply ignoring him lest the game be decided upon a technical foul shot), but eventually went to Boston in three overtimes, 128-126. Phoenix, in tying the game, overcame a 22-point deficit. Boston Garden ISBN:0738511528 The Boston Garden was an arena built in 1928 and demolished in 1997 after the completion of its new sister arena, the FleetCenter, now called TD Banknorth Garden. ...

The most notable portion of the game was the final 20 seconds of the second overtime. Boston led at that point 109-106 (with the three-point basket not yet in existence). Phoenix had possession of the ball. In an amazing and frantic sequence, the Suns (a) made a quick basket cutting the gap to 109-108, (b) stole the inbounds pass, (c) missed a go-ahead shot, (d) grabbed the offensive rebound, (e) passed the ball back out to the corner, and (f) made another shot to go ahead. Phoenix suddenly led, 110-109, with just six seconds left, and the team looked poised to win their third straight game and grab a 3-to-2 edge in the series. Not to outdone, Boston's John Havlicek (already of "Havlicek Stole the Ball" fame) responded with a leaning one-hander in traffic that put Boston in front 111-110 as the horn sounded. The fans then poured onto the court to celebrate Boston's victory. The Celtics returned to their locker room. John J. Havlicek (born April 8, 1940 in Martins Ferry, Ohio) is an American former professional basketball player, thought to be one of the best NBA players in history, especially in defense. ...

The game, however, was not over. One second remained. After clearing the court and getting the Celtics back onto the court, the officials put one second back on the clock. Still, Phoenix's chances seemed slim, as they had the ball under the own basket with a second left. Then Paul Westphal of the Suns made a critical play, signaling for a time out that the Suns did not have. Although this resulted in a technical foul being called on Westphal, the play was critical for Phoenix, because the rules at the time gave Phoenix the same advantage (save for the technical foul shot) that they would have had had they had any timeouts left: namely, possession of the ball at half court. Boston's Jo Jo White made the technical free throw, increasing Boston's lead to 112-110. Then, Phoenix's Garfield Heard took the inbounds pass and made a buzzer-beating shot (a turn-around jumper at the top of the key) for the Suns that tied the score yet again, 112-112. Paul Westphal (born November 30, 1950 in Torrance, California) is a former basketball player and coach in the NBA. A native of California, Westphal has had a storied career in the NBA, both as a player and as a head coach. ... Garfield (Gar) Heard, (born May 3, 1948 in Hogansville, Georgia) is a former American professional basketball player and coach. ...

Boston eventually took a six-point lead, 128-122, late in the third overtime. Phoenix then scored the next four points, cutting the gap to 128-126, but could not get the ball again (with Paul Westphal nearly stealing a pass near half court as the third overtime wound down).

Boston then won Game 6 and took their 13th championship. JoJo White was named the Finals Most Valuable Player. Joseph Henry Jo Jo White (born November 16, 1946) was an American professional basketball player. ... The NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is presented to the National Basketball Association (NBA) player in the NBA Finals that is seen as contributing the most to the series. ...

Preceded by:
1975 NBA Finals
NBA Finals
Succeeded by:
1977 NBA Finals

  Results from FactBites:
NBA Finals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2804 words)
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association, played under a best-of-seven playoff format.
During the 1940s and early 1950s decades, the NBA Finals were nothing but a minor highlight on the calendar.
They were particularly dominating in the 2002 Finals, as they kept the lead virtually all the time in every game; only for a short while near the beginning of Game 4 did the New Jersey Nets gain any significant lead in a game.
  More results at FactBites »



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