1964–65 NBA season

The 1964–65 NBA Season was the 19th season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Boston Celtics winning their 7th straight NBA Championship, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals.

1964–65 NBA season
LeagueNational Basketball Association
DurationOctober 16, 1964 – March 21, 1965
March 24–April 15, 1965 (Playoffs)
April 18–25, 1965 (Finals)
Number of teams9
TV partner(s)ABC
Top draft pickJim Barnes
Picked byNew York Knicks
Regular season
Top seedBoston Celtics
Season MVPBill Russell (Boston)
Top scorerWilt Chamberlain
(San Francisco/Philadelphia)
Eastern championsBoston Celtics
  Eastern runners-upPhiladelphia 76ers
Western championsLos Angeles Lakers
  Western runners-upBaltimore Bullets
ChampionsBoston Celtics
  Runners-upLos Angeles Lakers
NBA seasons

Season recapEdit


The season marked real change for the league. NBA Commissioner Maurice Podoloff, who had held the office since the formation of the league (as the Basketball Association of America) in 1946, retired. Walter Kennedy took over his position. Bob Cousy, the Boston Celtic star, had retired also.

Regular seasonEdit

Red Auerbach's loaded Boston Celtics won 62 of 80 games in the nine team league. The balanced Celts had seven ten-point scorers plus the defense and rebounding of Bill Russell. Boston led the league in both of those team stats.

Four other teams won half their games or better. The Los Angeles Lakers won the West Division with 49 wins in 80 games behind superstars Elgin Baylor and Jerry West. The Cincinnati Royals won 48 of 80 games with their own two superstars, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. The St. Louis Hawks had seven ten-point scorers also and won 45 of 80 games, but lost star Bob Pettit to knee injury. The Philadelphia 76ers won half of their 80 games while working Wilt Chamberlain into their scheme. Chamberlain joined the team in mid-season right after the all-star game, a move which instantly made the new 76ers contenders.



The NBA had six playoff teams that year, with the second and third place teams from each division, East and West, meeting in the first round. The winners of this play-in round would then meet the division winners to decide the finalists.

Cincinnati, which had no real center, could not deal with Chamberlain, so Philadelphia advanced three games to one. But the 76ers had not gelled enough yet with the giant star to unseat the champion Celtics, who held off Philly by a single point in Game 7 when John Havlicek stole the ball in the final seconds.


In the West, which produced no NBA champions from 1959–1970, Baltimore upset the injured St. Louis Hawks to meet Los Angeles. The Lakers overcame the Bullets' three 20-point scorers to meet Boston in the Finals.


It was the fourth time the two teams had met in the Finals since 1958. Laker star Elgin Baylor was lost to a knee injury just five minutes into the playoffs. The Lakers had no answer for Bill Russell inside as well. But Laker star Jerry West courageously tried to keep his team alive by averaging over 40 points through the Lakers 11 playoff games. The balance and depth of Boston was too much for that.

Notable occurrencesEdit

Coaching changes
Team 1963–64 coach 1964–65 coach
Baltimore Bullets Bobby Leonard Buddy Jeannette
Team Outgoing coach Incoming coach
Detroit Pistons Charles Wolf Dave DeBusschere
New York Knicks Eddie Donovan Harry Gallatin
St. Louis Hawks Harry Gallatin Richie Guerin

Final standingsEdit

Eastern DivisionEdit

Eastern Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Boston Celtics 62 18 .775 27–3 27–11 8–4 20–10
x-Cincinnati Royals 48 32 .600 14 25–7 17–21 6–4 16–14
x-Philadelphia 76ers 40 40 .500 22 13–12 9–21 18–7 14–16
New York Knicks 31 49 .388 31 15–20 9–21 7–8 10–20

Western DivisionEdit

Western Division W L PCT GB Home Road Neutral Div
x-Los Angeles Lakers 49 31 .613 25–13 21–16 3–2 25–15
x-St. Louis Hawks 45 35 .563 4 26–4 15–17 4–4 28–12
x-Baltimore Bullets 37 43 .463 12 23–14 12–19 2–10 22–18
Detroit Pistons 31 49 .388 18 13–17 11–20 7–12 18–22
San Francisco Warriors 17 63 .213 32 10–26 5–31 2–6 7–33

x – clinched playoff spot

Statistics leadersEdit

Category Player Team Stat
Points Wilt Chamberlain San Francisco Warriors/Philadelphia 76ers 2,534
Rebounds Bill Russell Boston Celtics 1,878
Assists Oscar Robertson Cincinnati Royals 861
FG% Wilt Chamberlain San Francisco Warriors/Philadelphia 76ers .510
FT% Larry Costello Philadelphia 76ers .877

Note: Prior to the 1969–70 season, league leaders in points, rebounds, and assists were determined by totals rather than averages.

NBA awardsEdit