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1964–65 NBA season

1964–65 NBA season
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Number of teams 9
TV partner(s) ABC
Regular season
Season MVP Bill Russell (Boston)
Top scorer Wilt Chamberlain
(San Francisco/Philadelphia)
Eastern champions Boston Celtics
  Eastern runners-up Philadelphia 76ers
Western champions Los Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-up Baltimore Bullets
Champions Boston Celtics
  Runners-up Los Angeles Lakers

The 1964–65 NBA Season was the 19th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning their 7th straight NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals.

Season recap


The season marked real change for the league. NBA Commissioner Maurice Podoloff, who had been there since the BAA in 1946, retired. Walter Kennedy took over his position. Bob Cousy, the Boston Celtic passing/dribbling great, had retired also. The Syracuse Nationals were now gone also. Their star, Dolph Schayes, now coached the Philadelphia 76ers. The old Philadelphia Warriors had moved to San Francisco the year before, creating a vacancy that had to be refilled. The Syracuse franchise ended their own rich history by moving to replace the Warriors.

The new arrangement had thrown the Cincinnati Royals into the East Division to cover for the departed Warriors. Meanwhile, Chicago Zephyrs's team had left town and become the new Baltimore Bullets. The Bullets remained in the West, curiously, while Cincinnati was still in the East.

Regular season

Red Auerbach's loaded Boston Celtics won 62 of 80 games in the nine team league. The balanced Celts had seven ten-point scorers plus the defense and rebounding of Bill Russell. Boston led the league in both of those team stats.

Four other teams won half their games or better. The Los Angeles Lakers won the West Division with 49 wins in 80 games behind superstars Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. The Cincinnati Royals won 48 of 80 games with their own two superstars, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. The St. Louis Hawks had seven ten-point scorers also and won 45 of 80 games, but lost star Bob Pettit to knee injury. The Philadelphia 76ers won half of their 80 games while working Wilt Chamberlain into their scheme. Chamberlain joined the team in mid-season right after the all-star game, a move which instantly made the new 76ers contenders.



The NBA had six playoff teams that year, with the second and third place teams meeting in each division, East and West. The winners would meet the division winners to decide the finalists. Cincinnati, which had no real center, could not deal with Chamberlain. So Philadelphia advanced three games to one. But The 76ers had not gelled enough yet with the giant star to unseat the champion Celtics, who held off Philly by a single point in Game Seven when John Havlicek stole the ball in the final seconds.


In the West, which produced no NBA champions 1959–1970, Baltimore upset the injured St. Louis Hawks to meet Los Angeles. The Lakers overcame the Bullets three 20-point scorers to meet Boston in the Finals.


It was the fourth time the two teams had met in the Finals since 1958. Laker star Elgin Baylor was lost to a knee injury just five minutes into the playoffs. The Lakers had no answer for Bill Russell inside as well. But Laker star Jerry West courageously tried to keep his team alive by averaging over 40 points through the Lakers 11 playoff games. The balance and depth of Boston was too much for that.

Notable occurrences

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