Now that Game Seven of the 2010 Finals is necessary—thanks to Boston playing like crap—let us delve into NBA history and look at all the other Finals series that went to Game Seven.
The first Game Seven in NBA Finals history came in 1951 when the Rochester Royals edged the N.Y. Knicks for the 4-3 series win. Leading the way for the Royals was Arnie Risen, Bob Davies, and Red Holzman (one of Coach Jackson's heroes). On the losing end was Max Zaslofsky, Harry Gallatin, Ernie Vandeweghe, and Dick McGuire.
The next year, 1952, the Finals also went to Game Seven and the Knicks lost again, but this time to George Mikan, Jim Pollard, and Vern Mikkelson of the Minneapolis Lakers.
In 1954 Minneapolis was taken to Game Seven by Syracuse and its star Dolph Schayes. Clyde Lovellette, a new addition to the Lakers, helped take George Mikan and company over the top.
In 1955 the Syracuse Nationals came back from defeat in Game Seven of the year before and took the series to Game Seven this time for a win. Schayes was joined by Red Kerr and Red Rocha to beat Ft. Wayne's stars—George Yardley, Larry Foust, Mel Hutchins, Dick Rosenthal and Max Zaslofsky (former Knick).
In 1957 Boston began its amazing title run by beating St. Louis 4-3. Boston's legendary team included Tom Heinsohn, Bill Sharman, Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, Frank Ramsey, and former Royal Arnie Risen. They beat St. Louis who had Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan, Slater Martin, Ed MaCauley and Alex Hannum.
In 1960 Boston and St. Louis were back at it again and Boston won in seven again. New additions to the Boston title team were Sam and K.C. Jones with Risen gone. St. Louis picked up Clyde Lovellette, a Finals veteran, but still lost without MaCauley and Hannum.
In 1962 Boston beat L.A. 4-3. Elgin Baylor and Jerry West began getting used to losing to the Celtics in the Finals
In 1966 Boston beat L.A. 4-3. Don Nelson added a little pep to the Boston squad that year. He put in 8.4 points and five rebounds in the playoffs. West and Baylor lost again.
In 1969 Boston beat L.A. 4-3. Wilt Chamberlain joined West and Baylor in the losing cause.
In 1970 L.A. lost AGAIN in Game Seven. This time the N.Y. Knicks did the job with Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, Dick Barnett, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, and Cazzie Russell. L.A. had a great squad though, with Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Dick Garrett, Happy Hairston, and Mel Counts.
New York won Game One, L.A. won Game Two, N.Y. won Game Three, L.A. won Game Four, N.Y. won Game Five, L.A. won Game Six, and N.Y. won Game Seven by a score of 113-99!
In 1974 the Celtics beat Milwaukee 4-3. On the losing end was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dick Garrett (formerly of the Knicks), Bob Dandridge, and Oscar Robertson. Robertson only averaged 12.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.3 assists in the Finals. On the winning end were Havlicek, Cowens, Jo Jo White, Don Chaney, Paul Silas, Don Nelson, and a young Paul Westphal.
In 1978 the Bullets beat Seattle in seven games. Washington won the last two in a row to claim the title with Elvin Hayes, Bob Dandridge (former Buck), and Wes Unseld leading the way. Seattle had Fred Brown, Dennis Johnson, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, and former Celtic champ Silas.
In 1984 Boston beat L.A. in Game Seven to win yet another title decided in the ultimate game. Bird, DJ, Parish, McHale, Cedric Maxwell, Gerald Henderson, Danny Ainge, Quinn Buckner, M.L. Carr, and Greg Kite beat Kareem, James Worthy, Magic, Michael Cooper, Bob McAdoo, Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott, Jamaal Wilkes, and Mike McGee of the Lakers.
Wow, what a Finals that was!
In 1988 Detroit took L.A. to Game Seven but lost. L.A. used new players A.C. Green and Tony Campbell to help the regular cast beat an amazing Detroit team led by Adrian Dantley, Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Vinnie Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, Dennis Rodman, John Salley, James Edwards, and Rick Mahorn.
In 1994 the Rockets and Knicks took it to Game Seven. John Starks had a bad shooting fourth quarter and Houston pulled it out.
The last Game Seven was when San Antonio beat Detroit in 2005. The winners from a 2004 romp over the Lakers in the Finals couldn't take out Duncan, Ginobili, and Parker.
Game Seven of 2010 should be interesting. Boston has won all seven of its Game Sevens for seven titles. Will the 2010 Celtics make it eight, or will L.A. make history and see the Celtics lose in Game Seven for the first time in history?