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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
"Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!"
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com


April 15, 1965

Though the Boston Celtics finish 22 games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Division, their playoff series goes down to the final seconds of Game 7. With five seconds left in Boston Garden, the Celtics let Wilt Chamberlain score an uncontested basket, cutting their lead to 110-109.

Bill Russell throws the ball in-bounds over the outstretched hands of Chamberlain. But the ball hits the guide wire supporting the backboard and the 76ers get the ball. With a chance at victory, Hal Greer tosses the ball in play.

John Havlicek leaps and slaps the ball to teammate Sam Jones, who dribbles out the clock. Havlicek's game-saving play is immortalized on radio by Boston announcer Johnny Most, who yells, "Havlicek stole the ball! Havlicek stole the ball!"

Jones scores 37 points and Havlicek comes off the bench to get 26 as the Celtics win their ninth straight East title. Chamberlain (32 rebounds, 30 points) wins his personal battle with Russell (29 rebounds, 15 points). But, as usual, it is Russell who wins the war.





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