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East Wins NBA All-Star Game Amid Tensions

Jan. 14, 1964 - The cream of the NBA turned sour at the last minute and forced a 17-minute delay in the annual East-West All-Star game because of a pension dispute. But finally, the game went on and the Eastern team won, 111-107, before 13,464 at Boston Garden tonight. Once the game got started, Oscar Robertson performed the heavy-duty job for his team and was voted the most valuable player for the second time in three years. Bill Russell and Sam Jones of the Celtics also contributed mightily to the Eastern cause, and when the victors pulled away by 19 points in the third quarter, Hal Greer of the 76ers was exploding all over the court. For the West, big Wilt Chamberlain did very well along with Jerry West and Bob Pettit, but it was Robertson’s night. Oscar wound up with 26 points to lead all scorers; Wilt and Pettit were tied for second with 19.

The Big O should have been elated afterward, but he wasn’t. “You can’t play a game and enjoy it under a strain like that,” said Robertson, referring to the rhubarb between the league and players just before the game started. “Sure, it’s nice to win and all that stuff, but what do we get out of it — a wrist watch? This is supposed to make us happy? I’d rather have security.” “This whole trip has been a mess,” Robertson continued. “It took us [the Royals contingent] 32 hours to get from Cincinnati to here. We had just three hours sleep the whole time. All I want to do now is go home, get some sleep, and forget the whole thing.”

Jerry Lucas, Robertson’s rookie teammate, said he hadn’t been nervous in the least. “It was great playing with these guys. That [Bill] Russell is really something — I’m glad he was on my side for a change.” Russell was one of the few players who didn’t seem to be too upset about the pre-game proceedings. He sat next to Robertson in the dressing room after the game and tried to cheer Oscar up.



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