1971 NBA Finals
TeamCoachWins
Milwaukee Bucks Larry Costello 4
Baltimore Bullets Gene Shue 0
DatesApril 21–30
MVPLew Alcindor
(Milwaukee Bucks)
Hall of FamersBucks:
Lew Alcindor (as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 1995)
Bob Dandridge (2021)
Oscar Robertson (1980)
Bullets:
Earl Monroe (1990)
Wes Unseld (1988)
Gus Johnson (2010)
Eastern FinalsBullets defeated Knicks, 4–3
Western FinalsBucks defeated Lakers, 4–1
← 1970 NBA Finals 1972 →

The 1971 NBA Finals was the championship series played at the conclusion of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 25th anniversary season of 1970–71. The Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks, who were founded as an expansion team three years earlier, swept the Eastern Conference champion Baltimore Bullets in four games. Baltimore had dethroned the 1969–70 NBA champion New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference finals.

The Bucks were the first Western Conference champions to win the league's championship since the St. Louis Hawks did so in 1958, and were the first expansion team in the NBA to win a championship since the NBA held its first expansion draft. (The Bullets originally started out as the Chicago Packers, an expansion team that began play in 1961–62 before moving to Baltimore in 1963.) It was also the first NBA title by a Western Conference team that has not since folded or relocated.

The Bullets were forced to play Game 1 on a Wednesday night, just 48 hours after having defeated New York in Game 7 of the 1971 Eastern Conference Finals, then had to wait four days before playing Game 2. The series was the second (and last) time in NBA history that the teams alternated home games, the other being in 1956. Most other series were held in the 2-2-1-1-1 or 2-3-2 format (a 1-2-2-1-1 format was used in 1975 and 1978). It was also the last NBA Championship Series completed before May 1.

The series was broadcast by ABC with Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman providing the commentary.

Until 2021, it was the Bucks' only and the city's second championship (with the other being the 1957 Braves). The city's 49-year drought was the fourth longest title drought in the "Big 4" major professional sports leagues, behind Buffalo, San Diego and Vancouver.[a]

Series summary

Game Date Home team Result Road team
Game 1 April 21 Milwaukee Bucks 98–88 (1–0) Baltimore Bullets
Game 2 April 25 Baltimore Bullets 83–102 (0–2) Milwaukee Bucks
Game 3 April 28 Milwaukee Bucks 107–99 (3–0) Baltimore Bullets
Game 4 April 30 Baltimore Bullets 106–118 (0–4) Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks win series 4–0

Team rosters

Milwaukee Bucks

Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB From
C 33 Alcindor, Lew 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) 225 lb (102 kg) UCLA
PG 7 Allen, Lucius 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) UCLA
PF 20 Boozer, Bob 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Kansas State
C 19 Cunningham, Dick 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Murray State
SF 10 Dandridge, Bob 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Norfolk State
F 18 Greacen, Bob 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 206 lb (93 kg) Rutgers
SG 14 McGlocklin, Jon 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Indiana
SF 35 McLemore, McCoy 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Drake
PG 1 Robertson, Oscar 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Cincinnati
PF 4 Smith, Greg 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Western Kentucky
PG 8 Webb, Jeff 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Kansas State
G 5 Winkler, Marv 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Louisiana
G 6 Zopf, Bill 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Duquesne
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Baltimore Bullets

Players Coaches
Pos. No. Name Height Weight DOB From
G 3 Carter, Fred 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Mount St. Mary's
F 31 Johnson, George E. 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Stephen F. Austin
F 25 Johnson, Gus 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 230 lb (104 kg) Idaho
G 22 Loughery, Kevin 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 190 lb (86 kg) St. John's
F 24 Marin, Jack 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 210 lb (95 kg) Duke
G 15 Miles, Eddie 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 195 lb (88 kg) Seattle
G 10 Monroe, Earl 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Winston-Salem State
PF 40 Murrey, Dorie 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 229 lb (104 kg) Detroit Mercy
PF 12 Tresvant, John 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 215 lb (98 kg) Seattle
SF 35 Tucker, Al 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) 190 lb (86 kg) Oklahoma Baptist
F 41 Unseld, Wes 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m) 245 lb (111 kg) Louisville
G 11 Zeller, Gary 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Drake
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The British Columbia Lions, who play in Vancouver, have won six Grey Cup titles as champions of the Canadian Football League, but the CFL is not considered part of the "Big 4".

References