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Warriors Advance to NBA Finals against Celtics

Apr. 16, 1964 - Look out, Boston, here come the Warriors.

The mighty men of coach Alex Hannum bought their ticket tonight with a sensational fourth-quarter rally that earned San Francisco a sizzling 105-95 triumph over the St. Louis Hawks in the seventh and deciding game of the NBA’s Western Division playoffs at the Cow Palace.

The clapping, foot-stomping, screaming crowd of 8,923 blew its stack as the Warriors earned the right to challenge the defending champion Boston Celtics for the NBA title, starting at Boston Saturday night.

In the throes of a horrible slump that them feel eight points behind the surging Hawks in the third quarter, the Warriors suddenly exploded to blow the visitors all the way back to St. Louis. In the fourth quarter, the Warriors outscored their worthy adversary by 29 points to 18.

Guy Rodgers and Al Attles, San Francisco’s swift guards, gave strong performances. But when all was said and done, it was the scoring, rebounding, and shot-blocking of Mr. Warrior himself, Wilt Chamberlain, that saw the team through to the Western title. Except for a third period letdown, Wilt was far more than St. Louis could handle. He wound up as the top scorer, as usual, with 39 points.

When the Warriors put away eight in a row early in the third period, it appeared they might be about to break the game open. Rodgers was at his quick-handed, fancy-dribbling best in the ensuing rally. But after the Warriors had forged an 85-79 advantage, Guy hit the floor with a sickening thud as his feet flew out from under him on a rebound attempt.

Knocked cold, he lay flat on his back for almost a minute, but popped up just as the stretcher was brought out for him. Following a short breather, he returned to action, and after the game enjoyed some bubbly nourishment. In fact, Guy carried a bottle of champagne into the shower with him.

“We had to have this one, and we came through,” Chamberlain said. “It seems like I’ve been waiting 17 years for this.”

Coach Hannum was asked how he thought the Warriors shaped up with the Celtics. “If we do what we’re capable of doing, we’ll beat ‘em,” he replied. “Bill Russell can’t guard all our guys. He’ll have to stick to Wilt.”

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