1955 NBA Finals

The 1955 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1954–55 NBA season. The best-of-seven series was won by the Syracuse Nationals, who defeated the Fort Wayne Pistons in the final game when Syracuse's George King made a free throw with 12 seconds left to put the Nationals up 92–91. King then stole the ball from Fort Wayne's Andy Phillip with three seconds remaining to clinch the victory for Syracuse.[1] Because of the arena not believing Fort Wayne would make the NBA Finals, the arena was booked and not available, and the Fort Wayne home games were played in Indianapolis.[2]

1955 NBA Finals
Syracuse Nationals Al Cervi 4
Fort Wayne Pistons Charles Eckman 3
DatesMarch 31–April 10
Hall of FamersNationals:
Dolph Schayes (1973)
Earl Lloyd (2003)
George Yardley (1996)
Andy Phillip (1961)
Bob Houbregs (1987)
Al Cervi (1985, player)
Mendy Rudolph (2007)
Eastern FinalsNationals defeated Celtics, 3–1
Western FinalsPistons defeated Lakers, 3–1
NBA Finals

It has been alleged that some Fort Wayne players conspired with gamblers to throw the series to Syracuse.[3] The suspicious nature of the seventh game in particular has raised concerns about the legitimacy of the series. Fort Wayne led Syracuse 41–24 early in the second quarter, then allowed the Nationals to rally to win the game.[4] Andy Phillip, who turned the ball over with three seconds left in the game, was believed by at least one of his teammates, George Yardley, to have thrown the game. "There were always unwholesome implications about that ball game", Yardley told the author Charley Rosen.[5] However, Phillip may not have acted alone. Other Pistons players were strongly believed to have thrown games during the 1954 and 1955 NBA seasons.[6] In fact, Yardley himself turned the ball over to Syracuse with a palming violation with 18 seconds remaining in Game 7.[7] The foul that gave Syracuse its winning free throw, meanwhile, was committed by Frankie Brian.[7] The NBA did not return to the 2–3–2 format until 1985.

Series summaryEdit

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 March 31 Syracuse 87–82 (1–0) Fort Wayne
Game 2 April 2 Syracuse 87–84 (2–0) Fort Wayne
Game 3 April 3 Fort Wayne* 96–89 (1–2) Syracuse
Game 4 April 5 Fort Wayne* 109–102 (2–2) Syracuse
Game 5 April 7 Fort Wayne* 74–71 (3–2) Syracuse
Game 6 April 9 Syracuse 109–104 (3–3) Fort Wayne
Game 7 April 10 Syracuse 92–91 (4–3) Fort Wayne

Nationals win series 4–3

  • – Games played in Indianapolis

Team rostersEdit

Syracuse NationalsEdit

Fort Wayne PistonsEdit

Notes and sourcesEdit

  1. ^ "City Hails Nats' World Title Triumph", Syracuse Herald Journal, April 11, 1955, pp. 1, 45.
  2. ^ "Nats Win First Title of Shot-Clock Era", NBA.com
  3. ^ The Wizard of Odds: How Jack Molinas Almost Destroyed the Game of Basketball. By Charley Rosen. p. 154. 2001 Seven Stories Press. ISBN 1-58322-268-5
  4. ^ "Syracuse Five Defeats Pistons in N.B.A. Play-Off Final, 92-91", The New York Times, April 11, 1955, p. 31.
  5. ^ Rosen, p. 154.
  6. ^ Rosen, pp. 108-154.
  7. ^ a b Syracuse Herald Journal, April 11, 1955, p. 45.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit