On April 15 in 1965, John Havlicek recorded one of the most famous steals in NBA history.
It was Game 7 of the Eastern Division Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers, the former held a one-point lead (110-109) lead with five seconds remaining.
For the visiting 76ers and Wilt Chamberlain, it was Hal Greer who was set to inbound the ball. However, Havlicek stole it and tipped it to his teammate Sam Jones, who ran out the clock to clinch the victory.
The play is fondly remembered for the call by Celtics broadcaster Johnny Most: "Havlicek stole the ball! It's all over! It's all over!"
In this series between the 76ers and the Celtics, barring one 18-point win for the latter, five of the seven games were decided by six points or less.
In the deciding Game 7 win, the Celtics overcame Wilt Chamberlain's monster 30-point, 32-rebound game, behind big games from their trio of Sam Jones (37 points), Bill Russell (15 points, 29 rebounds, 8 assists), and Havlicek (26 points, 11 assists).
In the 1965 Finals, the Celtics comfortably beat the Los Angeles Lakers in five games to clinch their seventh straight title and their eight in the previous nine years.
Other notable events on April 15th
- In 1980, a playoff record 40,172 fans showed up at the Kingdome in Seattle as the Supersonics lost Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals 108-97 to the Milwaukee Bucks. That total was surpassed eight years later when 41,732 fans turned out at the Pontiac Silverdome to watch the Detroit Pistons defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 104-94 in Game 5 of the Finals.
- In 1984, John Lucas set an NBA playoff record for most assists in a quarter with 14. He finished with 24 for the game as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Denver Nuggets 157-154.
- In 1989, the Phoenix Suns retired the #44 jersey of Paul Westphal. He averaged 20.6 points per game in his six seasons with the Phoenix Suns and was later named the head coach of the 1992-93 team that was responsible for the franchise's second Finals appearance ever and the first since 1976.
- In 1991, en route to handing out 19 assists in a 112-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks, Magic Johnson moved past Oscar Robertson (9,898) for the top spot on the NBA all-time assist list.
- In 1992, Maurice Cheeks moved past Julius Erving (2,274) for the all-time leader for steals for NBA/ABA combined.
- In 1995, Glen Rice exploded for a career-high and Miami Heat franchise record 56 points (20-of-27 FG; 7-of-8 3PT; 9-of-10 FT) in a 123-117 home win over the Orlando Magic.
- In 2001, Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz played his 1,271st career game, passing John Havlicek for second-most games played with a single franchise. His teammate John Stockton, ranked first on this list, passed Havlicek earlier that season.
- In 2010, with an average of 30.1 points through all 82 games of the season, Kevin Durant, at the age of 21, became the youngest scoring champion in NBA History.
Game-winning buzzer-beaters on April 15th
Joe Johnson vs. LA Clippers in 2017
Hershey Hawkins vs. Sacramento Kings in 1999
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