Saturday, April 12, 2014

April 12, 1958: Bob Pettit Leads The Hawks To The Top Of The Mountain

     On April 12, 1958, with a 110-109 victory over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals the St. Louis Hawks were crowned Champions of the NBA. The Celtics fought an admirable battle, but they could not stop Bob Pettit who knocked down record setting 50 points in the contest. When the final buzzer sounded the fans in St. Louis rushed the floor as Pettit was carried off by his teammates.

     After splitting the first two games in St. Louis, the Hawks traveled to Boston where they took the third game. The biggest loss of that contest for Boston was not on the scoreboard as Bill Russell had severely sprained his ankle during the battle. Russell tried his damnedest to contribute from there, but the injury was too much for him to overcome. Still yet, Boston won the fourth game to even the series at two all before St. Louis bounced back with a 102-100 victory in game five. The series was headed back to the Arena in St. Louis where the Hawks would take the crown.

     The sixth and final game of the series had Russell playing with a heavily taped ankle, some newspapers referred to it as a cast, just to give you an idea as to how heavily taped it was. Despite having their leader hampered by injury the Celtics battled back from as much as 10-point deficit and even grabbed a lead early in the final quarter. They simply couldn't stop Bob Pettit who scored 19 of his 50 points in that fourth quarter. Pettit put the Hawks ahead for good with 6 minutes and 16 seconds to go in the game. Then three times after  Pettit put the Hawks in front, the Celtics came within one point of tying the ballgame. Every time that happened Pettit would knock down another basket. Pettit's last basket came with just 16 seconds to go to give St. Louis a 110-107 lead. Bill Sharman knocked down the last two points for Boston before St. Louis' Slater Martin dribbled the ball  as the clock ran to zeroes. The Hawks were Champions.

Check out the box score here: http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/195804120STL.html

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