When Bill Russell retired in 1969, Red Auerbach was caught off guard. He hoped to get a few more years out of his legendary center. But Russell being Russell, he was done and walked away and that was the end of that.
It only took a short time for Auerbach to rebuild a championship team: in 1969-70, the Celtics won just 34 games. The next year, they were 44-38 and by 1971-72, they were back in the playoffs at 56-26 and by 1973-74, back in the finals vs. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson and the Milwaukee Bucks.
Game Six was in the Boston Garden and went to double overtime with the Bucks prevailing. In this clip, Kareem isn’t particularly aggressive but near the end, on a broken play, he hits a tremendous sky hook.
It’s interesting to watch how different the game is and in particular ball handling. Robertson was a superb point guard but even his handle looks antiquated.
Game Seven was in Milwaukee and the Celtics focused heavily on Jabbar and ended up winning yet another title. In six years Larry Bird would join the team and start another era of greatness.