Dec. 11, 1963 - Sharp-shooting John Havlicek and defensive star Bill Russell combined tonight to guide the Boston Celtics to their 19th triumph in 21 games with a 104-95 victory over the St. Louis Hawks. The Boston Garden crowd of 3,520, the smallest of the season, saw Havlicek pour in 33 points and Russell grab 30 rebounds as the defending champions fought off a final-quarter Hawk surge for their 11th straight home court victory. With only three minutes to go in the game, the Celtics led by only three points. But Russell got the ball under the basket and dunked in a shot with Bob Pettit draped over him. The free-throw attempt was missed by Russell. But Havlicek got the rebound and tossed it in. Thus ended any hope the visitors — who were missing three talented players, Zelmo Beaty, Cliff Hagan, and John Barnhill — might have had of accomplishing the near-impossible. Pettit was the Hawks’ top scorer with 27 points. The Hawks had trouble not only with the Celtics but with an old nemesis, referee Mendy Rudolph. Mendy took away Christmas money amounting to $25 from coach Harry Gallatin and Len Wilkens in the first period on technicals. Actually, the Hawks deserved a lot of credit for being in the game at all. They were forced to play without Zelmo Beaty (sprained knee), John Barnhill (flu), and Cliff Hagan (injured foot.) “We didn’t come here figuring we were going to lose,” said Gallatin afterward. “Nobody beats us until they prove they can. We don’t lay down and die for any club, and that would hold true even if we were forced to show up with five men. We had a lot of shots that hung on the rim and fell out. We missed some layups. If we’d just clicked on half of those opportunities, it would have been a different game at the end.” There was one piece of good news for Gallatin. That was when he learned that the Celtics must play 18 games in 27 nights in January. “That will help,” mused Harry. “Maybe they’ll come back to the pack.” In the Eastern Division, Boston leads second-place Cincinnati by 5½ games. In the West, second-place St. Louis trails Los Angeles by just half a game.
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