Basketball Wiki
1974 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Boston Celtics Tom Heinsohn 4
Milwaukee Bucks Larry Costello 3
Dates: April 28–May 12
MVP: John Havlicek
(Boston Celtics)
Eastern Finals: Celtics defeated Knicks,
Western Finals: Bucks defeated Bulls,
NBA Finals

The 1974 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1973–74 National Basketball Association (NBA) season.

The Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeated the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks 4 games to 3 to win the NBA championship.

The Bucks would not return to the NBA Finals until 2021, now as a Eastern Conference team, having moved from the Western Conference since the 1980-81 season.

1974 NBA Playoffs[]

Milwaukee Bucks (Western Conference Champion) Boston Celtics (Eastern Conference Champion)
59–23 (.720)

1st Midwest, 1st West, 1st Overall

Regular season 56–26 (.683)

1st Atlantic, 1st East, 2nd Overall

Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (4) Buffalo Braves, 4–1
Defeated the (2) Chicago Bulls, 4–0 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) New York Knicks, 4–1

Series Summary[]

Game Date Result Site
Game 1 Sun. April 28 Boston Celtics 95 - Milwaukee Bucks 83 at Milwaukee
Game 2 Tue. April 30 Milwaukee Bucks 105 - Boston Celtics 96 OT at Milwaukee
Game 3 Fri. May 3 Boston Celtics 95 - Milwaukee Bucks 83 at Boston
Game 4 Sun. May 5 Milwaukee Bucks 97 - Boston Celtics 89 at Boston
Game 5 Tue. May 7 Boston Celtics 96 - Milwaukee Bucks 87 at Milwaukee
Game 6 Fri. May 10 Milwaukee Bucks 102 - Boston Celtics - 101 2OT at Boston
Game 7 Sun. May 12 Boston Celtics 102 - Milwaukee Bucks 87 at Milwaukee

Celtics win series 4-3

Game 1[]

Before the series started, Bucks point guard Lucius Allen would be lost for the series with a knee injury. In Game 1, the Celtics took advantage, harassing a 35-year old Oscar Robertson and Allen's replacement, Ron Williams, into frequent turnovers. The Celtics took a 35-19 lead in the first quarter and never looked back on the way to a 98-83 win in Milwaukee. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 35 points for the Bucks.

Game 2[]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 36 points, but more importantly, he took more of a role in running the Bucks' offense from the post, given their backcourt issues. His passing enabled Bob Dandridge to score 24 points.

On the defensive end, Abdul-Jabbar forced Dave Cowens into shooting 3-of-13 from the floor, including a block of a Cowens shot at the end of regulation to force overtime. The Bucks won in overtime, 105-96, to even the series at a game apiece as it headed to Boston.

This game, played on Tuesday, April 30th, was the last NBA Championship Series game played in the month of April to date.

Game 3[]

Sensing he was no match for Abdul-Jabbar in the paint, Dave Cowens decided to shoot more from the outside and scored 30 points, despite foul trouble that reduced him to 32 minutes of playing time. The Celtics' press also turned up the heat, forcing 11 first-quarter turnovers and helping Boston to a 21-point lead. With Cowens in foul trouble, seldom-used 7-footer Henry Finkel did an admirable job of spot defense on Abdul-Jabbar, who finished with 26 points. At game's end, the Bucks had turned the ball over 27 times, enough for a 95-83 Boston win.

Game 4[]

With Ron Williams unable to handle the Celtic press and shooting guard Jon McGlocklin nursing a sprained ankle, Bucks coach Larry Costello turned to little-used forward Mickey Davis for help in the backcourt. Davis at 6'7" presented matchup problems on offense for Jo Jo White, forcing Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn to assign press-master Don Chaney to guard him. This enabled Oscar Robertson to more effectively set up the Bucks' offense.

Davis contributed 15 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shredded the Celtics for 34 points and six assists from the low post. Milwaukee got the lead and kept it down the stretch for a 97-89 win at Boston Garden, thereby getting back their homecourt advantage. Game 5

The Celtics stole the homecourt advantage back with a 96-87 win in Milwaukee. They would have a chance to close it out at home in Game 6.

Game 5[]

The Celtics stole the homecourt advantage back with a 96-87 win in Milwaukee. They would have a chance to close it out at home in Game 6.

Game 6[]

Dave Cowens got into foul trouble early and watched from the bench as Milwaukee took a 12-point lead in the first half. The Celtics were down by six late in the game, but they came back to force overtime. John Havlicek hit a long jumper to tie it at 86-86 with a little over a minute left, then Oscar Robertson was caught in a 24-second violation as time expired. In the first overtime, Milwaukee led 90-88 when Don Chaney got a steal and passed to Havlicek. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was back on defense and forced Havlicek to take a pull-up jumper. Havlicek missed but got the long rebound and scored to send the game into a second overtime.

In the second extra period Havlicek scored nine of Boston's 11 points. With seven seconds left he had the ball on the right baseline, and the Boston bench screamed for a timeout. Instead, Havlicek lofted a rainbow over Abdul-Jabbar for a 101-100 lead.

The Bucks called for a timeout, and instead of setting up a play for Abdul-Jabbar, strangely decided to set up a play for a hobbled Jon McGlocklin where Abdul-Jabbar would set a pick. McGlocklin couldn't get free, however, and Abdul-Jabbar, with the ball, moved to the right of the lane, dribbled to the baseline, and let fly a "sky-hook" from 17 feet with two seconds left. The Celtics put up a failed desperation heave, but that was it. The series was tied at three games apiece and going back to Milwaukee.

Game 7[]

Home court advantage apparently meant very little in this series. The Celtics decided to abandon man-to-man defense and double and triple team Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. This freed Dave Cowens more on the offensive end, as he hit 8 of 13 shots in the first half on his way to 28 points and 14 rebounds. John Havlicek added 16 as the Celtics cruised to an easy 102-87 win and their first title in the "post-Bill Russell era."

Preceded by
NBA Finals
Succeeded by