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Lakers Eliminate Hawks, Will Face Celtics Again in Finals

Apr. 11, 1963 - The Los Angeles Lakers, playing the decisive seventh game of the NBA’s Western Division finals, cut loose with a vengeance tonight in Los Angeles and sent the St. Louis Hawks flying into oblivion. Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and their hustling teammates delighted 14,864 screaming fans by saving their best performance for last as they edged out this lengthy series with a well-deserved 115-100 victory. Sparkling defense, numerous steals, all-out hustle, and enough sharpshooting to turn back every Hawk threat sent Fred Schaus's crew into the finals against the Boston Celtics. This is the battle pro basketball fans have been looking for since the season opened, and it'll get underway in Boston Sunday night. The major difference tonight was that Los Angeles had its one-two punch — Baylor and West — but the Hawks didn’t have theirs. Although Bob Pettit played his usual brilliant game, scoring 31 points, Cliff Hagan, the 6-4 veteran who prolonged the series with his spectacular play in the sixth game, managed only 2 points. Baylor covered Hagan and still found time to score 31. When asked if he had changed his manner of guarding Hagan, Elgin said: “Yeah, I delayed my jump longer when I thought Hagan was going to try a hook shot. I tried to make him think I would block it. Maybe this bothered his accuracy enough.” With Rudy LaRusso doing a workmanlike job on Pettit, the Los Angeles defense made it possible for the Lakers to take charge and pull out the victory.

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