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Warriors Even NBA Western Finals at 2-2

Apr. 8, 1964 - When you think of the San Francisco Warriors, their big men come to mind — Wilt Chamberlain (pictured), Nate Thurmond, Tom Meschery, Wayne Hightower. Tonight at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, however, while Frisco’s frontliners were as deadly as ever, a pair of guards made the Hawks’ burden just a little too heavy.

Al Attles scored 17 points, most of them on long-distance shots while the Hawks were gathered around Chamberlain, and Gary Phillips three times stole the ball when St. Louis was trying to come from behind in the closing minutes. The result was that the Warriors defeated the Hawks, 111-109, and evened the NBA Western Division playoff at two victories apiece.

The last 4½ minutes of tonight’s contest were divided into two sharply contrasting episodes.

First, the Warriors scored eight straight points to take a 109-100 lead, and the visitors still had that margin when less than two minutes remained.

Then the Hawks caught fire and they were tossing the ball toward the hoop, hoping for the tying goal, when the final horn sounded.

On the final St. Louis play, Cliff Hagan tried a hook shot. It missed, but Richie Guerin and then Zelmo Beaty made futile attempts to put the ball in before time ran out.

Chamberlain was the top man in the game with 36 points and 23 rebounds. Bob Pettit led a crew of hot Hawks with 29 points.

Warrior coach Alex Hannum was generous in victory.

“I thought the Hawks played their best game of the series,” he said. “We forced Pettit outside, yet he kept on hitting. Hagan had a good night, and I thought Len Wilkens was outstanding.

“It was the kind of game that could have gone either way. A couple of extras, such as the work of Al Attles and Gary Phillips, helped do it for us.”

In the quiet dressing room upstairs, Hawk coach Harry Gallatin felt that several times his players had hurried their shots in the late going. This helped the Warriors get the eight consecutive points that beat the Hawks, for St. Louis rarely got an offensive rebound against the towering San Francisco players.

“Nate Thurmond hurt us,” Gallatin said. “The man guarding him had to drop off a little to help guard Chamberlain. With that edge, Thurmond is so big and strong that he overpowered us going for rebounds.”

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