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1972 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Bill Sharman 4
New York Knicks Red Holtzman 1
Dates: April 26 - May 7
MVP: Wilt Chamberlain

(Los Angeles Lakers)

Television: ABC (U.S.)
Announcers: Keith Jackson and Bill Russell
Referees:
Game 1:
Game 2:
Game 3:
Game 4:
Hall of Famers: Bill Bradley (1983)

Wilt Chamberlain (1979) Dave DeBusschere (1983) Walt Frazier (1987) Gail Goodrich (1996) Phil Jackson (2007, coach) Willis Reed (1982) Pat Riley (2008, coach) Jerry West (1980) Coaches: Red Holtzman (1986) Bill Sharman (1976, player/2004, coach)

Eastern Finals: Knicks defeat Celtics, 4-1
Western Finals: Lakers defeat Bucks, 4-2

The 1972 NBA Finals was played at the conclusion of the 1971–72 NBA season. The Western Conference Champion Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Eastern Conference Champion New York Knicks in five games. The Los Angeles Lakers got their first NBA championship since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis. New York had dethroned the 1968-69 NBA Champion Boston Celtics to get to their second NBA Finals appearance (the first being in the 1969-70 season when the Knicks edged out the Lakers in Game 7).

Television: ABC - Keith Jackson and Bill Russell announcing.

Game-by-game summary

Game 1

Although without Willis Reed because of his knee injury, Jerry Lucas scored 26 points but was only one of several Knicks who was red hot. Bill Bradley hit 11 of 12 shots from the field as New York shot 53 percent for the game. The team took advantage of a nearly perfect first half to jump to a good lead and won easily, 114-92.

Game 2

Knicks forward Dave DeBusschere hurt his side and didn't play after the first half. Hairston scored 12 points in the second half, and Los Angeles evened the series with a 106-92 win.

Game 3

DeBusschere attempted to play in the first half and missed all six of his field-goal attempts. He was hurting and elected not to play in the second half. DeBusschere explained :"I didn't feel I was helping the team,". The Lakers danced out to a 22-point lead and took a 2-1 lead in the series with a 107-96 win.

Game 4

The game went into overtime, but at the end of regulation, Wilt Chamberlain picked up his fifth foul. In 13 NBA seasons, he had never fouled out of a game, a statistic of which he was immensely proud. Immediately speculation started along press row that he would play soft in the overtime. Instead, he came out in a shotblocking fury that propelled the Lakers to a 116-111 win. At three games to one, their lead now seemed insurmountable.

Game 5

After being tied at halftime, the Lakers won their first NBA Championship in L.A. with a 114-100 victory. Jerry West won his first NBA Championship after of 12 years of waiting, and Wilt Chamberlain scored 24 points and 29 rebounds and he earned his first and only Finals MVP Award.

Series summary

Game Date Winner Score Site
Game 1 April 26 (Wed.) New York Knicks 114-92 at Los Angeles
Game 2 April 30 (Sun.) Los Angeles Lakers 106-92 at Los Angeles
Game 3 May 3 (Wed.) Los Angeles Lakers 107-96 at New York
Game 4 May 5 (Fri.) Los Angeles Lakers 116-111 at New York
Game 5 May 7 (Sun.) Los Angeles Lakers 114-100 at Los Angeles

Lakers win series 4-1

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