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Lakers Top Hawks in Western Finals Opener as Jerry West Returns to Action

Mar. 31, 1963 - Jerry West (pictured #44) came back tonight and so did the Los Angeles Lakers. Before an L.A. Sports Arena crowd of 10,086, the brilliant guard, out of action for 2 months, returned to pace the Lakers to a 112-104 victory over the St. Louis Hawks in the opener of a best-of-7 NBA Western Division playoff. West, showing no ill effects from the torn muscle that put him out of commission Feb. 3, scored 27 points to lead one of the club’s better team efforts in which the Lakers had to overcome a 38-point performance by magnificent Bob Pettit. In the Eastern Division series, Cincinnati’s bench took over when the Royal regulars failed today and fired a 121-116 playoff upset over the Boston Celtics. The Royals, grabbing a 2-1 game advantage, continued to ignore the supposed home-court advantage by grabbing their second win at Boston Garden. The four-man Cincinnati bench all joined first stringers in double figures. Oscar Robertson finished on top with 23 points.


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