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Hawks Top Pistons, Move On to NBA West Finals Against Lakers

Mar. 26, 1963 - The St. Louis Hawks won the opening round of the NBA’s Western Division playoffs by edging the Pistons in Detroit tonight, 104-100, behind Bob Pettit’s 35-point splurge. The triumph gave the Hawks their third victory in four games in the best-of-five series and advanced them to the Western Division finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. The opening game will be at Los Angeles Sunday. Pettit scored 23 points in the first half as the visiting Hawks jumped to a 25-24 first-period margin and increased it to 54-47 at halftime. The Hawks scored the first 7 points of the second half and had a 65-50 lead before Detroit started a rally and narrowed it to 83-74 going into the final period. Behind the shooting of Don Ohl, who led the Pistons with 32 points, the Pistons twice narrowed the deficit to 2 points. But St. Louis then scored five straight points to make a seven-point lead with three minutes left, and the Hawks coasted in for the victory. Coach Harry Gallatin, who has emphasized defense from the first day of training this season, talked about this aspect of the game in the dressing room after the game. “All in all, this was a fine example of team defense,” said the St. Louis coach. “When you hold a team such as Detroit to 100 points in a playoff game, it is no accident.” The Hawks were greatly determined to keep the Pistons from again dominating the backboards tonight. They succeeded, taking 70 rebounds to Detroit’s 64. Zelmo Beaty, who took some ribbing after Detroit’s Bob Ferry outplayed him Sunday, outscored Ferry, 17-13, and outrebounded him, 13-9. “Coach told me to concentrate on blocking Ferry instead of going straight for the ball as I did the other night,” said Zelmo. “What was happening then was Ferry was giving me a push from behind, then getting the ball himself. This time, I blocked him and then battled him on the floor for the loose ball.”

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