Day 2 of “The Ring’s The Thing: 50 Years-50 Champs.”

Lew Alcindor’s second season in the NBA. Led the league in scoring at 31.7 per game. 16 rebounds per game. Regular season and finals MVP. 2nd Team All-Defense and 1st Team All-League.

Oscar Robertson’s first year in Milwaukee. He was 32. 19 points per game. 8 assists per game. 2nd Team All-League.

This was the Bucks third season in the league. At the time they were in the Western Conference.

66-16 regular season record.

20 game win streak.

Led the league in scoring at 118.4 points per game. The Bucks were the only team to shoot over .500 from the field (.509)

12-2 playoff record. Defeating the Baltimore Bullets in the finals 4-0.

Jon McGlocklin, Bobby Dandridge and Greg Smith were key members of the club. Bobby D scored 18 points per game and pulled down 8 rebounds per game. McGlocklin scored 15 points per game, Smith 11.7.

Alcindor, McGlocklin and Smith all played 82 games. Oscar missed just 1 game.

Big Lew’s high game was 53, he did it twice against Boston and Cleveland. He also pulled down 30 rebounds against the Celtics.

The Big O had 3 triple doubles.

Larry Costello was the head coach.

Interesting find going through their schedule; they played the New York Knicks that season four times with New York winning three of the games.

It’s the Bucks only title in franchise history.

E-MAIL: hoops135@hoopscoach

TWITTER: @CoachFinamore

Milwaukee Bucks coach Larry Costello is surrounded by players Bob Dandridge (10), Lew Alcindor (33), Greg Smith, top right, Jon McClocklin (14) and Oscar Robertson (1). Costello, who won NBA titles as a player and coach and was one of the last to use the two-handed set shot, has died. He was 70. Costello died Tuesday, the NBA said. Costello played in five NBA All-Star games and twice led the league in foul shooting. (AP Photo)


“The Ring’s The Thing: 50 Years. 50 Champs.”

My new daily assignment.

Starting from 1970 until this year, each day I will list the NBA champion.

Today we start with the 1970 New York Knicks.

Feel free to add your thoughts, memories, etc, on each team as they appear.

Knicks beat the Lakers 4-3 in the finals. 60-22 record.

At one point they won 18 straight.

Started the season 23-1.

Willis Reed was named MVP of the regular season and finals.

Red Holzman Coach-of-The-Year.

All 5 starters have had their jersey retired by the Knicks.

6 players averaged double figures in points.

Walt Frazier, Reed and Dave DeBusschere made 1st Team All-Defense.

“See the Ball,” and “Hit the Open Man.”

The late Pete Newell once said, “The Knicks were a team that every college coach wanted to take their team to watch them practice.”

E-MAIL: hoops135@hoopscoach

TWITTER: @CoachFinamore


Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat last night 117-106. Miami now leads the series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday night.

Jaylen Brown 26 points, Jayson Tatum 25 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists. Kemba Walker 21 points and Marcus Smart had 20.

The Celtics are 16-1 when Brown scores 25 points or more.

Bam Adebayo 27 points and 16 rebounds. Tyler Herro scored 22.

Great to see Gordon Hayward back on the floor for the Celtics. Last night was his first appearance since August 17. Hayward played 30 minutes scored 6 points, had 5 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.

“He is a stabilizing force for our team,” Heat coach Brad Stevens said. “He just can make the right play and make a play for somebody else at the right time.”

Herro got busy in the first half scoring 18 points…That’s now 19 straight games in double figures for the rookie out of Kentucky.

At one point in the game we watched “Position-less basketball.” Not one “big” on the floor for either Celtics or Heat.

3-point shooting in the series: Heat 42-123 (.341) Celtics 34-96 (.354)


7:30/TNT – Game 2 Western Conference Finals. Lakers lead Nuggets 1-0

So what, Maria Taylor of ESPN forgot to add Anthony Davis to the 1st, 2nd or 3rd team All-NBA. Twitter went bananas. Here’s my idea for who votes on these awards. Each NBA team has a TV and radio crew, right? Let’s have those people vote. Only thing is you can’t vote for a player from the team you broadcast.


“Instead of lashing out, self-reflect on what you could have done better. Let’s not confuse on court chemistry with off court chemistry. On court chemistry is, ‘are you going to play hard and together and play to win’? If you do those 3 things, it does not matter if you get along and hang out off the court.”


“Trust your work. Trust your habits. Trust each other.”

Happy birthday Dave Twardzik.

Always play the right way…

EMAIL: Hoops135@hotmail.com

TWITTER: @CoachFinamore


The Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers last night in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals, 104-89.

The Miami Heat took a 1-0 lead over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals with a 117-114 overtime victory.

Many basketball fans and talk show hosts will rip the LA Clippers and mention what they didn’t do in the series. Not many will give Denver any credit. Every prediction I saw before the series had the Clippers winning. But my guy Ray LeBov picked Denver! Ray runs a great website, Basketball Intelligence. http://basketballintelligence.net/

We can sit here all day and criticize LA, but I am not going that route; all one has to do is look at Twitter. I’m going to praise the Nuggets. Mike Malone has done a tremendous job. And how about this, yesterday was his birthday!

Nikola Jokic is incredible. Jokic recorded a triple double last night against the Clippers, leading Denver to the 104-89 Game 7 victory. Jeff Van Gundy went as far as saying that Jokic is the greatest passing big man of all-time. Jokic had 16 points, 22 rebounds and 13 assists.

Per Basketball-reference.com, the last a player posted 16-22-13 or better in a playoff game was Wilt Chamberlain.

Since 1976-77, the NBA/ABA merger, there’s only been 3 players to grab 20 rebounds in a playoff triple-double. Jokic last night. Kevin Garnett in 2004, and Tim Duncan did it twice in 2003. (Source: ESPN)

Jamal Murray went back to his old scoring ways and dropped 40 points for Denver.

“He’s a tremendous cutter. He knows he’s going to get rewarded when he makes timely cuts when Jokic has the ball.” –Jeff Van Gundy on Gary Harris.

Clippers scored their first field goal of the 4th quarter with 4:50 remaining.

Kawhi Leonard did not attempt a single free-throw in the game. His teammate Paul George was 0-1 from the line.

The Clippers are now 0-8 when they have a chance to clinch a conference finals berth, it’s the longest streak in NBA postseason history.

The Nuggets will take on the Lakers in the Western conference finals beginning Friday night.

It took an overtime session but the Miami Heat jumped out to a 1-0 series lead on the Celtics. Miami shot 16-36 from deep, Boston 15-42.

Goran Dragic led the way for Miami with 29 points.

Next time you hear that guy say, “they don’t play any defense in the NBA,” have them go to Youtube and search for the clip of Bam Adebayo meeting Jayson Tatum at the rim.

Tatum finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. I had Celtics fans texting me complaining up his last second shot from deep in regulation.

Tyler Herro is 20 years old. In 2017-18 he was playing high school basketball. In 2020 he is playing and making an impact in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Herro recorded his 10th straight playoff game last night with 10 or more points. He was 1 assist away last night from a triple-double.

Game 2 is Thursday night.

Houston Rockets looking for a new head coach. We all know they won a lot of games for Mike D’Antoni’s 4 years, (65-17 & Western Conference finals in 2018) I’m no Red Auerbach or Red Holzman but Houston needs to play with a center. Outrebounded in the playoffs by OKC and Lakers.


“When you put an orange under pressure, what do you get? Orange juice. Because what’s inside of you comes out under pressure.”


“If you’re juiceless, you’re useless.”

Happy birthday Glenn Braica, head men’s basketball coach at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.

Always play the right way…

EMAIL: hoops135@hoopscoach

TWITTER: @CoachFinamore


Raptors beat the Celtics last night in double overtime, 125-122. The win by Toronto forces a Game 7 Friday night.

Clippers over the Nuggets, 96-85. LA leads series 3-1.


7:00PM/TNT – Lakers-Rockets, Game 4. LA leads series 2-1.

Toronto-Boston last night was the best playoff game of the playoffs. Kyle Lowry led the way for Toronto with 33 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists in 53 minutes of action. Jayson Tatum was outstanding for Boston, 29 points, 14 boards and 9 assists. Marcus Smart had a triple-double; 23 points, 11 boards and 10 assists.

Jaylon Brown added 31 points and 16 rebounds for the Celtics.

Kyle Lowry on Nick Nurse: “Coach believes in us in what we do, we believe in him on what he wants us to do.”

Announcers were making a big deal out of the minutes guys were playing in the double OT game. Stop it, these guys are fine. In 1962 Wilt Chamberlain (RIP) averaged 48.5 minutes per game. He played 80 games that season.

Fred VanVleet wears ‘And 1’ basketball shoes. Love it…

Brad Stevens on Game 7: “Throw some ice on your legs and get ready for Friday.”

Marc Gasol is 2-14 from distance in the series.

Clippers led the entire game last night with Kawhi Leonard dominating from start to finish; 30, 11 and 9. LA is one win away from their first conference finals in their history.

Doc Rivers on Nikola Jokic: ”I don’t know if there is a comparison. He has a little bit of everybody. He has all the footwork and the moves of an (Hakeem) Olajuwon, the lanky and goofy intelligence of Kevin McHale. He’s the best passing big that I’ve seen I think, ever.”


“I love to compete. I love to teach, to lead, and to be a part of a team.”


“I just love his energy. Running, rolling and rebounding. The 3 R’s.”

Happy birthday Mike Glenn.

Always play the right way…

E-MAIL: hoops135@hotmail.com

TWITTER: @CoachFinamore



6:30 on TNT Celtics vs Raptors Game 4. Boston leads 2-1.

9:00 on TNT Clippers vs Nuggets Game 2. LA leads 1-0

The Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Lakers last night in game 1 of the Western Conference semi-finals 112-97 to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Lakers are the #1 seed in the West.

The Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semi-finals 115-100. The #1 seed Bucks find themselves down 0-3 in the series.

James Harden led the way for Houston with 36 points on 12-20 shooting. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 24 points and Eric Gordon added 23.

After the game Harden was interviewed and was asked about the mindset entering the series: “New game. New series. New opportunity to get better. My confidence doesn’t change whether I make shots or miss shots.”

The Rockets entered the game attempting 51 three-point shots per game, against the Lakers they managed to hoist up just 39. They made 14.

The Lakers shot 11-38 from distance. Credit Houston’s defense, they did a fine job all night. LeBron James leads the Lakers in 3-pt makes in the playoffs.

Anthony Davis had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers. James finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Davis entered the game averaging 11 free-throws attempted per game, last night he shot just 4. Davis needs to get in the post more in Game 2.

Please don’t buy into any of that talk about certain teams having a lot of time off as opposed to a team who played two nights ago. That is just nonsense and excuse-making.

Rajon Rondo made his first appearance last night in the bubble for the Lakers; he scored 8 points.

Before the game ESPN had a live mic in the Lakers locker room and head coach Frank Vogel talked about – Focus, Effort, Hustle, Enthusiasm on the bench, and communication with each other. All traits of playing the right way.

Did you know that LeBron has led his team in assists every season he has been in the league? That’s incredible.

The Heat are now 7-0 in the playoffs.

Jimmy Butler had 30 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Milwaukee Bucks are in trouble – they’re down 0-3 to the Heat. And Miami looks like they keep getting better and better. Entering the fourth quarter the Bucks led by 12. Miami outscored them 40-13 in the final quarter.

No team in NBA history has ever come back from being down 0-3 in the playoffs. But be careful, Milwaukee can break that streak. I would not sleep on them.

Bam Adebayo had 20 points and 16 rebounds for the Heat.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has to pick up his shooting; he struggles from the free-throw line and from downtown. He’s 12-31 in the playoffs from deep (0 for his last 8) and from the line he is 20 for his last 37. He still managed to score 21 points, grab 16 rebounds and dish out 9 assists.

Bucks entered the game as the #1 scoring team in the league at 118 points per game. Give a ton of credit to Miami’s defense. In the series, the Heat have made 47 3’s, Milwaukee has made 34.


“It doesn’t matter how tall you are. If you have the heart and you’re a competitor you can be out there on the court.”


‘We’re small out there so we’ve got to be scrappy. We’ve got to play hard.”

Happy birthday Lance Stephenson.

Always play the right way…

E-MAIL: hoops135@hotmail.com


The say TV ratings are down. Maybe so but all I know is I have not missed a playoff game, all 48 of them.

I don’t care what anyone says, the NBA playoffs have been great. Has it been sloppy at times? Of course. Have we seen a bunch of turnovers? Yes. Missed shots? Of course. Lots of 3’s, yeah, yeah, yeah.

I get protecting players and all…I understand the safety of the players…getting the call right…but all these video review/challenges are hurting the game.

Los Angeles Clippers took a 1-0 lead over the Denver Nuggets last night in the Western conference semi-finals beating the Denver Nuggets 120-97. Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points on 12 of 16 shooting in 31 minutes to lead the Clippers.

The Toronto Raptors needed a buzzer beater from OG Anunoby to avoid going down 0-3 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Erik Spoelstra has done a fabulous job with the Miami Heat; they lead the Bucks 2-0. Game 3 is tonight at 6:30.

The Lakers and Rockets begin their Western Conference semi-finals tonight at 9. Small Ball vs LeBron and Company. The Lakers feature two 7-footers in their starting line-up.

Nikola Jokic is one of the greatest passing centers in the history of the game.

Tim Legler of ESPN does an outstanding job of breaking down the game. He should work games as a color analyst.

Happy birthday Lloyd Daniels.


6:30 Bucks-Heat on TNT. Miami leads 2-0

9:00 Lakers-Rockets on ESPN. Game 1 Western Conference Semi-Finals


“We’re a ball-movement, player movement team. You can’t play one-on-one. You gotta trust the pass, move it side-to-side, and that’s when we generate open looks.”

Always play the right way…

E-MAIL: hoops135@hotmail.com


Happy birthday to the Bronx native…he’s 72 today.

In the 1972-73 season Nate led the NBA in scoring and assists.  34 and 11.

That season the DeWitt Clinton High School grad played 46 minutes per game.  Load management?  HA!

Keep in mind, as a sophomore Nate was cut from Clinton’s varsity team.

I will never forget when the Nets traded for Archibald in 1976;  Nets officials were excited about the thought of having him and Julius Erving playing together – but it never worked out.  Erving was sold to the 76ers.  Archibald got hurt and played just 34 games for the Nets.

E-MAIL:  hoops135@hotmail.com

SI Cover Nate Archibald

Nate Archbald Omaha Kings-Pro Basketball Preview October 15, 1973 X 17528 credit: Neil Leifer


“You need to be tough enough to make the hustle plays, run down loose balls, run down the long rebounds and have communication on defense.”

Former Georgetown head coach John Thompson has passed away.  He was 78.

Coach Thompson’s Georgetown teams played hard.   Played with energy and toughness; they played the right way.

When the Hoyas visited Madison Square Garden the joint was always jumpin’.  Nothing like a Georgetown-St. John’s game at M.S.G.

Rest in peace big man…

E-MAIL:  hoops135@hotmail.com