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Royals Evade Boston Sweep

Apr. 7, 1964 - The Royals shook Oscar Robertson (right) loose for 25 second-half points and escaped the humiliation of a Boston sweep in the NBA Eastern Division final playoffs with a 102-93 victory tonight before 7,399 fans in Cincinnati Gardens. It was the Royals’ first win after three Boston victories in this best-of-seven series and assures a fifth game in Boston Thursday night.

Oscar, shackled to eight points in the first half, went inside in the second and shattered Boston’s heretofore impregnable defense. At the same time, Jack Twyman shot well, ending up with 31 points, and these two, with Jerry Lucas, were the big men of the night. Lucas got 16 points, picked off 25 rebounds to outdo Boston’s Bill Russell by one in that department, and was the spoke around which the Royals worked in the second half.

They took the lead midway in the second quarter and survived a one-man assault from Boston’s John Havlicek (left), who got all 21 of his points in the second half. Sam Jones was a one-man Boston gang in the first half with 24 points, but he cooled in the second and wound up tied with Robertson for game honors.

“At the half, I noticed Oscar only had eight points,” said Cincinnati coach Jack McMahon afterward. “I felt it was perhaps a good sign because he’s too good a player to be held down like that.

“Luke’s rebounding and all-around play was better tonight than Sunday simply because he apparently is fully recovered from his injury. When he’s rebounding for us and limiting Boston to only one shot and starting our fast break, there is a difference between night and day with this club. Tonight was a good example.”

Lucas said he felt “much better” than he had in a week or so.

“I was getting up, but oh man, is my shooting off,” he added.

When asked why Tom Heinsohn pointed a finger at him following a foul in the third period, Lucas said: “I think it was just a little misunderstanding about something.”

Heinsohn’s explanation was similar: “It’s just something that happens during the heat of the game.”

The two had been waging a pushing battle most of the night.

Boston coach Red Auerbach had a simple explanation for the Celts’ defeat: “They just put the ball in the hoop more than we did — that’s all. We just got beat.”

Auerbach had hoped to wrap up the series in four but confided that he knew it would be very difficult. “They’re not a punk ball club you can beat four times in a row. They have a lot of pride. They played better than we did. We didn’t play well tonight. I’m not satisfied with the split. We came here to win them both.”

What about Thursday’s game in Boston?

“We’ll see about that Thursday in Boston,” smiled Auerbach.

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