The unruly crowd started to get to the nerves of the players. The loud cheers and shouts was deafening, The Phoenix Suns has just came from a 22 point deficit and tied the game with just seconds left.
Paul Westphal anchored the Suns to one of the best game ever in the history of the NBA. Having played as a Celtic and after being traded to the Suns it was the perfect time to extract revenge to the team who traded him and Paul did just that. After a dismal output in the first half he rallied his team to overcome a great deficit. He refused to let go and he wants everyone to know that they won’t quit without giving the mighty Celtics a fight.
The aging team of John Havlicek, Jojo White and Paul Silas is clearly spent the three players are above 30’s and they were clearly out gun and out run by the young and athletic Suns.
The game 5 battle was full of controversies after Paul Silas called a costly timeout in regulation when there was no timeout left. Referee Richie Powers just let the clock go and the no call could have been converted in free throws to Phoenix.
The first Overtime was a thriller when John Havlicek drove to the basket leans his body thinking someone would bump for a foul but surprisingly found himself open it was 5 seconds left in the ball game. The Celtics first option was Jojo White then Dave Cowens but when both players were covered John went to the ball and drove a leaning shot and when he was all open and swoosh. The ball went in and the crowd erupted.
The Celtics crowd celebrated and one fan attacked referee Richie Powers but in the moment of the celebration Rick Barry who serves as an analyst pointed out that there is still 2 seconds left on the clock the referee agreed with Rick and all players were recalled in the court. The Suns had only a second to win the game and realizing that they have to inbound the ball from the other side with no time out left and a precarious 1 point lead by Boston, Paul Westphal called a strategic timeout which resulted to a technical foul and Jojo White calmly sank the free-throw. The Suns can now inbound Half-court and can now have a bigger chance in tying the game. During the inbound Garfield Heard shot a miraculous turn-around jumper from the top of the key and the Suns once again tied the ball game.
Paul Westphal had to dig deep on his arsenal when the Suns are down by 6 points he anchored a late surged and almost steal the ball to tie the ball game. In the end the Celtics won the ball game 128-126. The championship was already won in that game as the Suns couldn’t find their grove back and the Celtics grab their 13th championship.
It was a game for the ages a game that everyone thought it ended in the first half and turned to a triple overtime thriller. Eight players from that game went on to become notable coaches in the NBA with Pat Riley, Don Nelson, Dave Cowens, Paul Silas, Paul Westphal, Garfield Heard, Dick Van Arsdale and John Wetzel.
Would we ever see a game like that? We never knew… maybe this year would be a 1976 repeat…