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Warriors Top Celtics in San Francisco, Trail NBA Finals, 2-1

Apr. 22, 1964 - Home, sweet home. It was all that and more at the Cow Palace tonight as the San Francisco Warriors turned on their tormentors of the two Boston games to clobber the Celtics, 115-91, before 10,981 spectators.

The tremendous triumph by coach Alex Hannum’s men reduced Boston’s edge to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series for the NBA championship.

Wilt Chamberlain wound up with 35 points for high scoring honors and was the big offensive gun of the final period. Bill Russell was not disgraced — not by any stretch of the imagination. The rebounds — 32 for him and 25 for Wilt — prove that point.

But the fact remained that Russell was far less successful in handling Chamberlain’s offensive fireworks than he had been in Boston, and his teammates were unable to cope with the overall play of the fired-up Warriors. Guy Rodgers was magnificent, dislocated thumb and all. And Tom Meschery had a sensational first quarter, during which he scored 17 points in powering the home club to a commanding 40-21 advantage.

The hometowners hit 53.4% of their floor attempts to a very poor 13.8% for the invaders. San Francisco even outshot Boston from the free throw line, which has to be some kind of record.

“It was a big win,” said coach Hannum, “a must game. But as sweet as the victory was, we’re not really back in the run for the title until we win Friday.

“The big difference was we forced the Celtics to play our game. In Boston, we played theirs. The great defense of Al Attles and Guy Rodgers forced the Celtics into mistakes, and Chamberlain was terrific. The home crowd helped, and the club was up.”

Hannum said Boston newspapers hinted that the Warriors didn’t even belong on the same floor with the mighty Celtics. So, at halftime, with the Warriors up by 67-43, Alex told his troops: “This ought to prove to you that the Celtics pull on their green pants the same way you pull on your white ones.”

Chamberlain called the first period the “greatest first quarter the Warriors have every played since I’ve been with them.” He also said: “It was great to have that 20-30 point cushion. You never feel safe against the Celtics.”

After the game, Boston coach Red Auerbach locked the dressing room door of the Celtics. But reporters, gathered outside, could hear him storming inside. Later, Red said: “They hit 60% of their shots in the first half and broke the game wide open. A team will get hot like that once in a while, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. It was just one of those things.”

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