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Celtics Top Hawks at Rhode Island Auditorium

Jan. 23, 1964 - Bob Pettit (pictured #9) and Cliff Hagan, constant tormentors of the Celtics over the years, made things uncomfortable again today until the last minute when the slumping Boston club finally defeated the St. Louis Hawks, 110-104, before 5,074 at Rhode Island Auditorium in Providence. This venue has been a winning paradise for the Celtics over the years. They have piled up 31 victories in 34 games — better than they can offer in their own back yard. But until Bill Russell’s long arms snatched a couple of last-ditch rebounds, it looked as though the Celtics were about to run into their third straight defeat. At 10:13 of the last period, the Hawks were only two points behind, but John Havlicek, immense in the first half with 22 points, was fouled, and the spark of the Celtics put the Boston club ahead by three. On the next play, Richie Guerin, taking a pass at the foul line, tried to drive for the basket. He lifted his right arm, and about six Celtics’ arms were there to knock down Richie’s attempt. One managed to deflect the ball, and St. Louis coach Harry Gallatin leaped as though he’d been given a hotfoot, screaming blue murder for a foul call. Instead, Harry saw himself on the end of a technical foul, and Sam Jones sank that to open the lead to four points. But Pettit, who had pumped in 13 points earlier in the quarter and ultimately wound up with 35 to lead all scorers, sank a jumper from the right and, with 30 seconds left in the game, Red Auerbach called a time out. When the teams resumed, the ball was whisked in to Russell, who was guarded in the pivot by Pettit. After one fake, big Bill finally let fly with a right-hand hook — not one of his better shots usually — but it went into the basket, and the game was beyond reach for the Hawks. The two teams meet again at Boston Garden tomorrow night.


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