1972 ABA Finals, Game 5

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1972 ABA Finals, Game 5

Postby rlee » Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:09 pm

1972 ABA Finals, Game 5
by Mark Monteith, NBA.Com
http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/hidden-g ... als-game-5

Date: May 18, 1972
Result: Pacers 100, New York 99

The Pacers won their second ABA title in 1972, defeating Rick Barry and the New York Nets 4-2. But you have to win a third game before you can win a fourth, and the third one was the most dramatic of the series. It also stands as one of the franchise's greatest homecourt playoff victories.

With the series tied 2-2, the Pacers, as had been their habit, came out tense before a sellout crowd on a Thursday night at the Coliseum. They hit just 5-of-22 field goal attempts in the first quarter, but that was a hot streak compared to their performance from the foul line in the second period when they hit just 1-of-11 free throws.

“Dearborn Gym would have put them in a D League,” the Star's game report said.

That particular brand of marksmanship helped dig a 40-20 deficit, which elicited boos from the home fans, a group that included race drivers Mario Andretti and Al Unser Sr. They got the deficit down to 15 by halftime, though, and rallied in the second half.

Billy Keller hit three straight three-pointers in the third period to tie the game at 60, and George McGinnis later hit another one to give the Pacers a 71-68 lead. The Nets, however, regained a four-point lead on Barry's two foul shots with 27 seconds left in the game. Keller kept the Pacers alive with a 30-foot three-pointer with 17 seconds left to make it a one-point game, and then Freddie Lewis came up with a series-saving defensive play.

Defending the Nets' backup point guard Ollie Taylor – starter John Roche had left the game with an injury – Lewis slid to Taylor's right side and then quickly jumped back to his left as Taylor made his move. Lewis then batted the ball between Taylor's legs, retrieved it for his fifth steal of the game, and drove for a dunk at the other end. Taylor fouled him to prevent the basket, and Lewis hit both free throws to give the Pacers a 100-99 lead with nine seconds left – plenty of time for the Nets to get off a shot.

After a timeout, Tom Washington inbounded from midcourt to Barry, who had shaken loose from Roger Brown and was open for a 15-footer on the left baseline. Barry, however, looked to the basket too quickly and the ball slipped through his hands and out of bounds.

Barry, who would jump back to the NBA after the season, finished with 33 points, each of which was wasted by his turnover. Lewis and Keller each finished with 22 to lead the Pacers. Two nights later, they clinched their second title in New York, 108-105.
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