NBA Finals Notes: After Game 6
The Detroit Pistons beat the Spurs in San Antonio to take Game 6 of the 2005 NBA Finals. Game 7 will be on Thursday. These are NBA finals notes from after Game 6:
TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT: The Pistons’ Game 6 win forces the 16th Game Seven in NBA Finals history on Thursday at the SBC Center. . .It’ll be the first Finals Game 7 since 1994, when Houston defeated New York, 90-84 at The Summit.
AT JUST THE RIGHT TIME: The Pistons series-tying Game 6 win breaks an Alamo dry spell in which they lost 10 straight games at San Antonio (eight regular season + two more in this year’s Finals). . .During the regular season, the Pistons lost at San Antonio, 80-77 on Dec 3, 2004. . .Tonight’s win was the Pistons’ first ever at SBC Center (1-5). . .Prior to tonight, Pistons last win at San Antonio was on April 2, 1997, by 99-92 at the Alamodome (boxscore available in press work rooms).
THE LONGEST SEASON: Thursday’s Game 7 will be the Pistons’ 25th postseason game, tying the NBA record held by the 1994 New York Knicks (25).
GAME 7 REDUX: Thursday’s Game 7 will be the Pistons’ second road game seven in this year’s Playoffs (they won Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Miami, 88-82, June 6). . .No team in NBA Playoff history has ever won two road Game 7s in one postseason.
THE LONGEST ROAD: Of the prior 15 Game 7s in the NBA Finals, the road team has won just THREE. . .The breakdown:
1969: Celtics 108, Lakers 106 at the Los Angeles Forum (May 5, 1969): Playing in their final games, Celtics player-coach Bill Russell hauls in 21 rebounds and adds six points in going the full 48 minutes, while Sam Jones adds 24 points. . .John Havlicek pours in 26 points while Don Nelson adds 16, including his legendary bounce-off-the-back-of-the-rim jumper late in the fourth quarter.
Jerry West pours in a game-high 42 points for the Lakers, who are thwarted by the Celtics in the Finals for the sixth time during the decade of the ‘60s. . .The Lakers’ ill-fated celebratory balloon drop stays netted up in the Forum rafters, and owner Jack Kent Cooke later donates them to a children’s hospital.
1974: Celtics 102, Bucks 87 at the Milwaukee Arena (May 12, 1974): After Milwaukee’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar nails “The Hook” to give the Bucks a last-second Game Six win at Boston, Celtics rebound to win a take-it-all Game Seven on the road. . .Dave Cowens leads the Celtics with 28 points, while Kareem scores 26 for the Bucks.
1978: Bullets 105, Sonics 99 at the Seattle Center Coliseum (June 7, 1978): Bullets’ Big Two of Wes Unseld (15 pts, 9 reb, 6 ast) and Elvin Hayes (12 pts, 8 reb) lead the way to Game Seven win at Seattle, with Bobby Dandridge and Charles Johnson adding 19 points each. . .Marvin Webster scores a game-high 27 points with 19 rebounds for the Sonics. . .Bullets climax an emotion-ridden Playoff run tinged by tragic death of public relations director Marc Splaver and by head coach Dick Motta’s assertion that “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.”, originally an on-air proclamation made by San Antonio sportscaster Dan Cook during the Eastern Conference Semis vs. Spurs. . .Bullets had no champagne in their lockerroom following Game Seven title win, so a quick trip to a local supermarket produced post-game Heinekens used for on-camera dousings.
LARRY’S 100th: Tonight’s Game 6 victory marked Larry Brown’s 100th career NBA Playoff coaching win, moving him ahead of Red Auerbach (99) and into third place on the all-time NBA Playoff win list. . .Only Phil Jackson (175) and Pat Riley (155) have won more post-season games as NBA coaches. . .In addition, Brown recorded 20 Playoff coaching wins in the ABA with Carolina and Denver.
RIP’S GROOVE: Rip Hamilton scored a game-high 23 points (9-19 FGA) after averaging just .378 from the field (34-90 FGA), with 15.8 ppg (79) in the prior five games of The Finals. . .Pistons went 8-17 from Downtown after going 8-44 (.182) in the first five games of The Finals. During the regular season, Pistons ranked 23rd in the NBA in three-point pct (.345). . .Pistons had just five turnovers tonight and have just 21 TOs in the last three games, including an all-time Finals low four in Game Four.
TIM DUNCAN notched his 16th double-double in 17 career Finals games. . . MANU GINOBILI scored 21 points after averaging 11.3 ppg (34) in the prior three games. Manu had a career Playoff high 10 rebounds.