Page 86 - 0520 Nostalgic Magazine
P. 86

Ken Siegel Sports Historian
50 YEAR ANNIVERSARY – THE WILLIS REED GAME
The The New York Knicks had had had never never won won the the the the NBA Championship The The Los Angeles Lakers had had had never never won won a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a title in in in in in in in in LA and and had had had lost in in in in in in in in the the the the the the Finals Finals in in in in in in in in 6 of of the the the the the the preceding 8 years Naturally both franchises and and their fan bases wanted desperately to to win the the the the the deciding Game 7 7 7 of of the the the the the 1970 1970 NBA Finals Finals The historic game was played on on May 8 1970 in in in in Madison Square Garden in in in in New York Though the the the the Knicks had the the the the better record and the the the the home court advantage their outlook was was bleak Their star center Willis Reed was was injured with a a a a a a a a a a torn thigh muscle He sustained the the injury in in in in Game Game 5 of of the the the series and he he he he missed Game Game Game 6 6 With Reed out of of the the lineup in in in Game Game 6 6 his counterpart Laker Center Wilt Chamberlain Chamberlain had a a a a a a a a a a field day With no one to seriously defend him Chamberlain Chamberlain scored 45 points and and had 27 rebounds as the the the Lakers crushed the the the the the Knicks 135-113 to force the the the the the 7th and and deciding game of of the the the the NBA Finals More of of the the the the same was expected in in in Game 7 Reed as as expected was not with the the the the Knicks when they came out onto the the the the the court for their pregame warmups He He was still in in in in the the the the the locker room trying
to to deal with the the pain of his his injured thigh He He desperately wanted to to play This game game was was for the the the championship It was was was the the type of game game you you dream about playing in in in your whole life Reed was was quoted later later on as as saying “I didn’t want to to have to to look at at at myself in in the mirror 20 years later later and say say I I I wished I had tried to play ”
So moments before tip-off Willis Reed the the the Knicks’ captain their leader and the the the the league’s MVP hobbled onto the the the the the court Madison Square Garden erupted at the the the sight of Reed Suddenly the the the Knicks had a a a a a a chance once again Reed hit his first first two shots of the the the game which were the the the the the Knicks’ first first 4 4 points points further sending the the the the the Garden into a a a a a frenzy It would would be the the the the only 4 4 points points he he he he would would score all game But it was enough His presence alone gave the the the the Knicks the the the the emotional lift they needed It would be the the the the most impactful 4 point performance in in NBA history Reed may not have scored many points in in in the game but his defense on Wilt Chamberlain Chamberlain was a a a a a a a a a a a a big factor as as he he he held Chamberlain Chamberlain to to to just 21 points a a a a a a a a low total for the legendary superstar The Knicks won the the game 113-99 to secure their first ever NBA Championship Willis Reed was named as the Finals MVP Overshadowed by the the the emotional appearance of Willis Reed was the the the the fact that the the the the Knicks’ Walt “Clyde” Frazier Frazier played perhaps the the the the best game game of of his his career in in in the the biggest game game of of his his life Frazier Frazier led all scorers with 36 points on 12 12 12 for for 17 shooting from from the the field and and 12 12 12 for for 12 12 12 from from the the foul line He also had 19 assists and and 7 rebounds But despite Frazier’s heroics this game has always been remembered for the past 50 years as as as “The Willis Reed Game ”
What were your memories of the Willis Reed Game? Please let me me me me know at at ksiegel@nostalgicamerica com Ken Siegel is also the the author of of the the novels “The Courts of of Garrowville” and “The Wrong Man from Willingham” To learn more about his books please visit www garrowville com 





























































































   84   85   86   87   88