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Celtics, Without Russell, Barely Hold Off Knicks

Dec. 19, 1963 - The Boston Celtics, playing without the services of Bill Russell, built up a big lead, then barely withstood a record 49 points by the New York Knicks in the final quarter to edge New York, 143-140, tonight. Russell was on the sidelines with a leg muscle injury suffered last night and was unable to play. Boston was in front, 87-64, in the third period when the Knicks started their big push. New York outscored Boston in the final quarter, 49-36. Their total was a team mark for one period of play in the NBA. In the last 12 minutes, New York 3 times closed to within 3 points. Art Heyman contributed 14 points and Billy McGill 11 to the late spurt. Sam Jones scored 36 points, John Havlicek 32, Tommy Heinsohn 22, and Clyde Lovellette 20 for Boston. Bob Boozer paced New York with 25 points, and McGill — who hit on all 6 field-goal attempts in the game — had 24. The crowd of 2,840 at the Rhode Island Auditorium saw Clyde Lovellette, who normally only makes late-game appearances, do well in lieu of Russell. But some outstanding rebounding was done by Heinsohn, who had 17 against the taller Knickerbockers. Lovellette had 20 in the game, which is a new high for him this year with the Celtics. He got into a little foul trouble trying to guard McGill, but Coach Red Auerbach managed to get a good performance from Russell’s understudy. The victory was the 23rd in 26 games for the defending league champions. The same teams meet Saturday in New York.


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