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Warriors Seize 3-2 Lead in Western NBA Finals

Apr. 10, 1964 - “We’ll be against the gun Sunday at home,” coach Harry Gallatin of the St. Louis Hawks said tonight after his team’s 121-97 drubbing by the San Francisco Warriors at the Cow Palace.

Gallatin was admitting the obvious. The Warriors seized a 3-2 lead in the NBA Western Division playoff finals, and the Hawks’ tail-feathers dragged considerably.

“If we expect to win at Kiel Auditorium, we’ll have to shoot better than we did here at Frisco and not throw the ball away the way we did trying to break upcourt,” Gallatin said.

Gallatin closed the dressing room to reporters for 15 minutes then told them: “It was just one of those nights. Everything went wrong.”

A crowd of 10,628 saw the Warriors’ rugged defense limit the Hawks to 86 shots from the field, many in desperation. Only 31 spun through the hoop, a paltry 36%. In contrast, hot-handed Frisco burned through 52½% from the floor. And big Wilt Chamberlain poured in 50 points, 22 field goals and six for 10 from the free-throw line.

Gallatin was also dismayed by Nate Thurmond’s powerful defensive performance. “He’s a tiger,” Harry said. “Thurmond is the difference between the Warriors this year and last.”

Gallatin’s hackles rose at a suggestion that, even if the Hawks win Sunday at home, they won’t be able to cope with the Warriors in a seventh game Thursday at the Cow Palace.

“We’ve beaten them in Frisco plenty of times,” he said. “And we’re going to do it again.”

Off tonight’s pasting, however, it looks uphill for the Hawks.

Alex Hannum, the former St. Louis coach who now leads the Warriors, put it this way: “We don’t plan to let the Hawks come back to San Francisco for any seventh game. We know we can take them anywhere — if we play our game.”

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