The 2014 NBA Playoffs have been ruled stingy defense and tightly contested matchups. In all, eight games have gone into overtime and six of those have been decided by three points or less. In a time of year where defense rules the basketball world, it’s odd to see a high scoring affair, but during the 1970 NBA Finals, normality was tossed aside.
When you think of the 1970 NBA Finals, lots of memorable moments come to mind. The battle between the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks featured Jerry West’s game-winning 63-foot heave that sent Game 3 to overtime, and, of course, who can forget Willis Reed limping on to the court to fuel the Knicks to victory in the deciding Game 7? However, lost in the epic moments was an overtime period in Game 4 that set the NBA record for most points scored in an extra period.
Game 4 was a must-win for the Lakers, who pulled off a miraculous comeback before losing in overtime just a few nights prior. The trio of Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor could ill afford to head back to New York with a 3-1 series deficit on their hands, and although they came away with the victory, they didn’t do it the easy way.
In an overtime period for the ages, the Lakers outscored the Knicks 22-16. To put that in perspective, the Thunder and Grizzlies combined for 19 total points in Tuesday night’s extra period.
Dave Debusschere and Bill Bradley both fouled out in the final five minutes back in Game 4, lightening the load on the Lakers defense. On the night, West led the way with 37 points, followed by Baylor’s 30. The Knicks were led by Dick Barnett’s 29 points and Willis Reed scored 23 in what would be his final game at full strength in the series. The rest is history.