It was on this date 57 years ago (April 24, 1963) when the Boston Celtics captured yet another NBA Championship by beating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. Boston outlasted Los Angles, 112-109, in the sixth and final contest of the best of seven game series after capturing the first two meetings in Massachusetts.
Boston was led by the league’s Most Valuable Player Bill Russell, who guided the Green and White to a 58-22 record, as well as the team’s sixth NBA title in seven seasons. The 58 wins was the most victories recorded by any team during the 1962-63 season.
The Celtics postseason run began with an exciting seven-game series against the Cincinnati Royals, who secured a spot in the Eastern Finals after beating the Syracuse Nationals in the Eastern Semifinals (3-2). Sam Jones highlighted his team’s game seven victory over the Royals by scoring a team-high 47 points on 18 of 27 shooting while Tom Heinsohn added 31 points.
Boston led Cincinnati, 68-64, at the break before outscoing the visitors, 74-67, in the final two sessions to clinch the series and secure a date with Los Angeles.
The Celtics, which beat the Lakers one year earlier in seven contests, won the first two games before Los Angeles won games three and five. Boston won the fourth game, which was held in California, before winning the sixth contest in the same state five days later.
Tom Heinsohn led the Green and White with 22 points on 8 of 18 shooting to go with nine rebounds and two assists while Tom Sanders, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek each scored 18 points. Los Angeles’ Jerry West led all scorers with 32 points and Elgin Baylor recorded 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.
Boston’s winning ways would continue throughout the decade as they would win five more championships, including the 1969 NBA Finals against the Lakers. Boston needed to win the final two games to clinch the series after Los Angeles won three of five contests.
NoontimeSports.com’s Mia Len contributed to today’s ‘On This Date in History’ sports history post.