THE PLAY THAT WON THE TITLE

April 25, 1965

The game was not basketball at its best. It was ragged, and most of the players were braced, taped and bandaged, the weary survivors of a pro season that had started back in dim memory. But it had an air of epic desperation: it was Boston against Philadelphia for the Eastern Division title, and each had won three games in this best-of-seven series. This one was win or die. In the flurries of the final encounter the Celtics first led, then lagged and finally pulled ahead—with 35 seconds left to play—at 110-103. But the 76ers, led by Wilt Chamberlain, who had joined the team at midseason and had propelled them this far, closed the gap to 110-109. One basket would win it for Philadelphia. There were five seconds to shoot it—more than enough time in pro play. The 76ers called time out and decided on their strategy. When play resumed, Guard Hal Greer prepared to throw the ball in, the Celtics tried to anticipate Philadelphia's plan, and 13,909 spectators held their breath. Then came the critical play shown in these unique pictures.

As apprehensive Celtic fans leave their seats and ring the court (A), K. C. Jones (No. 25) tries to cut off Greer's throw-in and John Havlicek (No. 17) correctly anticipates the play. Philadelphia's plan is for Greer to throw to Chet Walker, take a return pass and shoot. Havlicek moves to intercept (B), and then, with a magnificent leap, beats Walker (C) to the ball. He deflects it toward Sam Jones (No. 24), who is cutting toward him. Jones has the ball (D) and the Celtics have the title as Jones dribbles away the last seconds.

PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.(A) PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.(B)
PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.(C) PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR.(D)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)