As the series opened, fans seemed to think that the Eastern Conference Final between the 76’ ers & the Celtics had determined the real winner. Attendance was down by about 4,000 from the conference finals. Philadelphia came out sizzling as they shot 62% from the floor in the opening quarter & set a record for most points in a single quarter with 43. The two teams’ 73 1st quarter points also set a record. Rick Barry took an astounding 16 shots from the floor, but he connected on only 3 of those attempts. Wally Jones scored 12 points in the opening stanza. The Sixers seemed to have the game in hand as they led by 14 entering the final period. However, S.F. staged a big 4th quarter rally fueled by their 30-14 rebounding edge in the period. A 3-point play by Jim King & 3 long jumpers by Tom Meschery keyed the drive. Chet Walker answered with a pair of hoops to make it 128-121 Philadelphia. Jones couldn’t convert a couple of shots and the Warriors closed back within 128-126. The Warriors then fouled Wilt Chamberlain who missed both attempts. Jeff Mullins then tied the game with a pair of free throws. After the 76’ers couldn’t score, the Warriors had the final possession. Barry found Nate Thurmond cutting to the hoop but Chamberlain rejected the shot. The 76’ers took control in the extra session and won going away 141-135. The 141 points was (by 1 point) the 2nd most ever in a Finals game (and is still the 3rd most). The 276 points by both times still stands as the most prolific scoring game in the Finals. The 112 field goals made is also still a finals record for both teams as are SF’s 140 field goal attempts.
In the 1st quarter, the Warriors went 6-26 from the floor. Philadelphia started cold too as they missed 9 of their first 11 shots, but they heated up later in the period. With the score 17-16, Philadelphia went on a 9-1 run to close out the period and lead 26-17. Chamberlain suffered a horrid game from the line; at one junction, he missed 12 straight free throws. Billy Cunningham provided some instant offense with 9 2nd quarter points as Philadelphia maintained their working margin. Thurmond injured his hip in a collision with Cunningham, but stayed in the game. Coming out of the locker room in the 2nd half, the Warriors could fire nothing but blanks. They did not make a basket for the first 7:22 of the 3rd. By that time, the 76’ers had built an 85-69 lead. Fred Hetzel left the game with an injured ankle that would keep him out of the next 2 games. This time, the Sixers would not let “The City” back in the game. Chamberlain set a record in this game for most rebounds in a single half with 26. The 2 teams set the dubious, still-standing of a combuned 53.8% from the free throw line. Philly set a record with 93 rebounds in the game and the 169 combined rebounds is also still a record (it broke the record set in Game 1).
Back home at the Cow Palace, Rick Barry came out gunning… and hitting in this game. He scored the game’s first 7 points and ended the 1st period with 17. Both teams had 10-0 runs in the 2nd period, but S.F. maintained a lead backed by their 47-30 advantage on the boards in the 1st half. The Warriors opened up a 77-63 lead with an 8-0 run in the 3rd period. The 76’ers would rally late, but it would be too little, too late. The game also featured an uncharacteristic 11-19 free throw shooting performance from Barry. A more typical performance and he may have broken Elgin Baylor’s finals record 61 points. His 22 field goals is tied with Baylor for the most ever and his 48 attempts are still the most taken in a Finals game. His 17 attempts in the 1st quarter is also still the record for most attempts in a period.
After the Warriors’ win, the Cow Palace was sold out & there was even a closed-circuit audience in downtown San Francisco. Wally Jones & Rick Barry staged a 1st quarter shootout that ended with Jones & Philadelphia on top. Jones scored 14 points to Barry’s 13 while the Sixers held a 34-27 lead. Jones would then twist an ankle and would play little the rest of the way. The 76’ers used an 18-2 run in the 2nd period to break open the game. Chet Walker would pour in 29 points in the 2nd & 3rd periods. Unofficial stats had Chamberlain with 15 blocked shots in the game. Another unofficial stat, had Barry with 59 possessions in the game and only 11 passes.
SF jumped to a 9-6 lead but the 76’ers pulled ahead 24-19. They maintained their slim lead in the 2nd quarter behind Walker’s 13-16 performance at the line in the period. Their largest lead was 49-43 and they led by only 3 at the break. The 76’ers took control in the 3rd behind Luke Jackson’s 14 boards in the 3rd. Barry had 25 points in the 1st half, but only could get 2 in the 3rd. Philly would open up a 94-81 lead late in the 3rd. With the 76’ers poised to end the series, the wheels fell off in the 4th as they hit only 3-17 from the field and had 9 turnovers. Tom Meschery, playing with 5 fouls, scored 11 points in the 4th before fouling out. A 15-foot jumper by Barry tied the score at 102 with about 4 minutes remaining. A Hal Greer jumper ended a 5-minute Sixer drought at the 3:06 mark and put Philadelphia up 105-103. Jim King tied the game again before Greer was called for a controversial charge. Greer protested and was hit with a technical foul. Barry converted the free throw & Thurmond added 1 of his own to give the Warriors the lead for good. Greer cut the lead to 107-106 with a free throw. Thurmond pulled down a SF miss & Barry converted a drive into a 3-point play to make it 110-106 at the 2 minute mark. Greer was again called for a charge and the game had to be stopped as the Philadelphia fans threw eggs on the court. Wilt missed a pair of free throws and Greer then fouled out. Wally Jones missed all 6 shots in the 4th.
The 12-point deficit that SF overcame stood as the best 4th period comeback until 1992.
Another sellout with about 4,500 watching on closed circuit as they hoped the Warriors could even the series. They were entertained as the two teams set a still-standing record by combining for 84 1st quarter points. The 76’ers led 43-41 as Chamberlain led them with 17 points. Jeff Mullins helped push the Warriors ahead at halftime with 11 points in the 2nd quarter. S.F. led at the half 72-68; the 140 points is broke the record set in Game 1 as the most points in a 1st half with 140 (A record that still stands). The Warriors pushed further ahead at the start of the 3rd when Jim King scored & Thurmond hit a free throw to make it 75-68 S.F. Barry hit a couple of shots to make it 90-80 in favor of the team from The City. King then stole the ball & fed Mullins for a dunk to make it 94-82. Matt Guokas came off the bench to spark Philadelphia. The 76’ers went on an 11-2 run to close within 102-97. S.F. still led by 4 with 10 minutes left in game when Guokas hit a jumper then followed with a lay-up over Thurmond. Chet Walker went by Clyde Lee for hoop to give Philly a 108-106 lead. Cunningham then followed with 6 quick points to put the Sixers up 114-109 as the clock ticked down towards 6 minutes remaining. S.F. rallied with a 6-0 run to take the lead 115-114 on a Barry 17-footer. Chamberlain then hit 2 free throws to make it 116-115 Philadelphia and followed it up with a dunk of the offensive boards to make it 118-115. It was 122-116 with 2:16 to play when King hit a jumper to cut the lead to 4. Thurmond blocked a shot and Barry converted the ensuing fastbreak to cut it to a 2-point defecit. Cunningham hit a free throw but Barry answered with 2 of his own to make it 123-122 with 0:46 left. The 76’ers then could not get a shot off and were called for a shot clock violation at the 22 second mark. Barry & Thurmond tried to work a pick and roll against Chamberlain & Walker. Barry wanted to pass to Thurmond for the shot, but Chamberlain recovered & Barry had to force a shot. King & Jackson tied up on the rebound. S.F. then subbed Meschery for King on the jump ball despite Philly’s protests. Jackson still won the tip to Walker who was fouled with 4 seconds to play. Walker knocked down both tries to clinch the game & series. The 76’ers 64 free throw attempts still stands as the most ever in a Finals game.
The 747 points for Philadelphia is the most ever in a 6-game series while San Francisco’s 707 is 2nd most. The 2 teams’ 287 field goals made each is tied for the most in a 6-game series. S.F.’s 743 field goal attempts is the 6-game standard. On the dark side, Philadelphia’s 61.3% from the line for the series is 2nd lowest in a 6-game series and the Warriors’ 182 personal fouls in the 2nd highest total. The 2 teams are also 1-2 in total rebounds in a 6-game series with SF having 435 & Philly having 425. Barry’s 40.8 ppg set a finals record that stood until 1993. He also equaled the record by having back-to-back 40+ point games. He also became only the 2nd player to score more than 30 points in every game of a Finals series. Chamberlain’s 29.5 rpg is the 3rd highest average in a Finals (behind Russell in 1959 & 1961). Chamberlain & Thurmond became only the 5th & 6th finals’ participants to grab 20+ boards in every game of the series (and the last 2 to do so).