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Warriors Destroy Hawks at the Cow Palace

Apr. 3, 1964 - It was a blowout, but 9,063 fans loved every minute of it as San Francisco’s Warriors stormed back with a 120-85 thrashing of the St. Louis Hawks at the Cow Palace tonight. The triumph squared the NBA Western Division playoff finals at 1-1, and everything was hunky-dory with the third largest crowd ever to see a Warrior game in the two years the club has been in San Francisco.

Everybody knows the Warriors aren’t 35 points better than St. Louis, but they were tonight as they completely demoralized the team that had fought from behind for a 116-111 triumph in the playoff opener Wednesday night. The victory, which was accomplished with mighty Wilt Chamberlain contributing only 28 points, assures the Warriors at least one more home game in the series. The scene now moves to St. Louis for games at Kiel Auditorium Sunday and Wednesday nights.

While Chamberlain’s scoring was far below his norm, the big man played a magnificent all-around game. But the star tonight was little Guy Rodgers (pictured #5), who ignited the San Francisco blaze late in the first quarter with two steals and dribbling forays that netted him five straight points and zipped the home team to a 5-point lead. The flashy Rodgers continued his thievery opening the second period, and by the time that quarter was half over the Warriors were 10 up.

With Chamberlain’s fall-away jumper clicking at its devastating best for 12 points in the second period and Rodgers putting away 10 in the third, San Francisco went into the final quarter fancy free with a 28-point cushion. From then on, it was merely a question of the final margin as both San Francisco coach Alex Hannum and St. Louis’s Harry Gallatin put their reserves to work.

Afterward, Gallatin said: “That’s the kind of game that club can have, and they can whip anyone in the league, including Boston, when they are on. They are so much bigger that they can knock the ball back in your teeth and completely dominate the area under the basket. Thurmond had one of the best games I’ve ever seen him play, on defense and rebounding.”

But the Hawks wasn’t willing to concede that his club couldn’t have won.

“We seemed to be dragging from the beginning,” said Gallatin. “We let the Warriors set the pace, and rarely did we get a successful fast break going. And I can’t recall us beating them to a loose ball all evening. After some of our shots were blocked, we began to pass up some good-percentage shots and passed the ball out to a man who was forced to take a distant jump shot. That you can’t do — you have to keep battling your way in toward the board to shoot and to get your share of rebounds if you miss.”

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