Greatest Game in NBA History
This is another of my articles that I wrote a couple years ago. I thought everyone here would enjoy it and it would generate some good comments.
I will start off by telling you right now that this match-up could never take place, as it is a game between two All-Star teams where the players played 25 years apart.
This matchup involves, what is widely considered the greatest team every assembled, the 1992 Olympic Dream team against, what I would consider the equivalent, an All-Star team made up from the available players from the 1967 season.
Why do I consider this equa? Well consider the fact that all 24 players (12 from each team) are all members of the 50 greatest players in the NBA History from the first 50 years. So here are the two teams and my predicted results of the game.
Members of the 1967 Team
Red Auerbach coaches this squad and I will start off in the back court with a five man rotation of Dave Bing, a 20-point per game scorer, Sam Jones who averaged 22 points per game for the Celtics, Hal Greer of the 76ers who also averaged 22 points per game. The two starters are “Mr. Clutch/NBA logo Jerry West and his 29-point per game average, good for 4th in the league and 6.8 assists per game along side West is Oscar Robertson, who only averaged 30.5 points, 10.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game.
In the frontcourt is Jerry Lucas averaging 18 points and 19 rebounds, Willis Reed at 21 points and 15 rebounds per game. Also on the bench in the frontcourt is Nate Thurmond with his 19 points and 21 rebounds per game, rounding out my front line bench is Bill Russell and his 13 points and 21 rebounds per game.
Now for my starting front court you have at the one forward spot the player who lead the league in scoring Rick Barry and his 35.6 points per game along with Elgin Baylor averaging 27 points and 13 rebounds per game. My center, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 24 points, 24 rebounds, and 7.8 assists while shooting 68 percent from the field.
Members of the 1992 Team
Coached by Chuck Daly the backcourt for this team will carry a five-man rotation of John Stockton who averaged 13.7 assists and was second in the league in steals; Clyde Drexler averaging 25 points per game and 6.7 assists and Tim Hardaway. The starters are Magic Johnson at the point guard, and at shooting guard averaging a league leading 30 points per game Michael Jordan.
The frontcourt consists of Larry Bird, Charles Barkley with 23 points per game, and Chris Mullin who averaged 26 points per game; at the reserve forward spots and reserve center Patrick Ewing.
Starting at the small forward spot is Scottie Pippen along side of Power Forward Karl "The Mailman” Malone who averaged 28 points and 11 rebounds per game and at Center David Robinson scoring 23 pointer per game to go with his 12 rebounds.
On to the Game
For history’s sake, this game will take place in the NBA’s Holy Land, the Boston Garden, of course the 1992 team has a size advantage as well as speed, however the 1967 team was composed of better shooters and rebounders, and the biggest rule difference was the three-point line that was in effect in the ABA in 1967, but not the NBA, but for this game we are using the line.
The 1992 team surprises the '67 squad with a full court press and jumps out to a 10-2 lead with eight points by Jordan and two by Malone before Auerbach could call a timeout. Once he got his team settled down and passing over the top instead of dribbling, the 67ers started popping long-range bombs; led by West and Barry, and by the eight minute mark of the first quarter led the '90s squad by a 28-20 advantage.
The '90s squad got into foul trouble trying to contain Chamberlain on the inside with both Malone and Robinson picking up two fouls. Rick Barry was red-hot scoring 13 points on 3-5 shooting from the three-point line to go along with West with six points.
Daly decided it was time to go to “small ball, so he inserted Stockton at the point in place of Magic, put Tim Hardaway at the shooting guard spot, and Scottie Pippen in at Center along with Jordan and Barkley. This forced Red to pull Chamberlain out of the game and replace him with Russell.
The '90s new lineup closed the quarter out with a 14-4 run to take a 34-32 led at the end of the first quarter.
With Russell patrolling the lane at the start of the second quarter, Auerbach also put in Sam Jones and Jerry Lucas in hope of stretching the defense. This was a genius move as Russell blocked the next four shots all leading to easy buckets and the 67ers pulled out to a 44-36 lead.
From here until the end of the half the teams played on even terms and the half ended with the 67ers leading by a score of 60-52. Due to foul situations, Coach Daly had been handicapped as Robinson picked up his third foul right before the half.
The first half scoring leaders were; Rick Barry led the 67ers with 14, while Sam Jones and Jerry Lucas came off the bench to contribute 12 and 10 points each, followed by Jerry West and Wilt with eight a piece.
Michael Jordan led the '92 team and the game with 16 points, but he was the only double-figured scorer. Tim Hardaway had eight in a relief roll, while Barkley and Pippen each added seven a piece.
Things started off badly for the '92 team in the third quarter as Wilt dominated Robinson inside once again causing David to pick up his fourth and fifth fouls within the first two minutes of the quarter. Daly decided to stay big and inserted Patrick Ewing, who came in and played very inspired ball, actually blocking two of Wilt's shots.
With six minutes to go in the third quarter the 67ers led by a score of 75-60. Daly was getting frustrated with his team's lack of outside scoring so he inserted Larry Bird, who had been nursing a bad back for the entire year. Bird calmly showed his “big game moxy” by hitting three straight three-pointers and cutting the lead to nine with two minutes to go in the third quarter 78-69.
Auerbach got into a shouting match with the ref and was hit with a technical foul after a bang-bang play on a steal and slam by Drexler right at the end of the quarter that made the score 78-74 entering the fourth quarter.
Daly started the fourth quarter with his best defensive team of Jordan, Johnson, Ewing, Pippen, and Malone, which forced Auerbach to counter with Jones, West, Lucas, Russell, and Baylor. The '92 team outscored the 67ers by 10 to start the quarter and led 88-82 with eight minutes to go.
Karl Malone then picked up a flagrant foul on Baylor and was ejected from the game, which forced Daly to go with Barkley at the power forward spot. Barkley had problems guarding Jerry Lucas and the 67ers went on a 12-2 mini-run to take a 100-90 with four minutes to go.
Jordan and Johnson then went to a two-man game and closed the gap to four with a minute to go 112-108. West was called for a close over and back on the next possession and Stockton hit a long three-pointer to cut it to a one-point lead.
After another turnover by the 67ers, Michael, being Michael hit a three-pointer from the right wing with three seconds to go to give the '92 team a two-point lead 114-112 that appeared to seal the game. Expecting a time out the '92 team was not paying attention and the 67ers inbounded the ball to West and with a single dribble and shot, West lived up to his nickname “Mr. Clutch” and made a 55-foot shot as time expired, giving the '67 team a 115-114 victory.
Red Auerbach lit up his victory cigar and boasted that he knew all along that the '60s team would win without any problem.
A look at the box score shows that this game was decided on the boards, with the '67 team simply dominating the game, out rebounding the '92 team by a margin of 65-35, With Wilt pulling down 22 and Russell 16.
Even Elgin Baylor chipped in with 11 boards. Ewing’s seven rebounds and Karl Malone and Barkley adding six a piece led the '92 team. The box score looked like this.
Player FGA/FG FTA/FT R A PTS
M. Jordan 13-22 7-9 3 1 35
M. Johnson 4-6 2-2 4 10 12
D. Robinson 2-8 0-0 2 0 4
K. Malone 3-9 2-3 6 0 8
S. Pippen 6-9 0-0 4 4 12
J. Stockton 3-7 2-2 1 7 8
L. Bird 3-7 0-0 0 2 9
T. Hardaway 5-13 1-1 0 0 14
C. Barkley 3-11 2-4 6 0 8
P. Ewing 0-3 0-0 7 2 0
C. Drexler 2-4 2-3 2 1 6
Totals 44-99 18-24 35 29 114
Three-pointers – Jordan 2-5, Bird 3-5, Stockton 1-2, Hardaway 2-7
Player FGA/FG FTA/FT R A PTS
R. Barry 9-16 3-3 2 1 22
E. Baylor 2-6 0-0 11 3 4
W. Chamberlain 9-12 0-4 22 3 18
J. West 10-16 0-0 2 3 23
O. Robertson 2-7 4-5 5 9 10
B. Russell 1-3 2-4 16 2 4
S. Jones 7-13 3-5 0 3 18
J. Lucas 6-9 1-2 7 1 16
Totals 46-82 13-23 65 26 115
Three-pointers – West 2-3, Lucas 3-6, Robertson 1-3, Jones 1-3, Barry 3-5
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