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Lakers Lose to Celtics, May 4, 1969

May 4, 2009 |  8:00 am

May 4, 1969, Sports

May 4, 1969, Lakers The NBA Finals had become an endurance test.

The Celtics won Game 6, 99-90, at the Boston Garden to force a final deciding game back in Calfornia. Jerry West played despite a pulled hamstring and scored 26 points, which was 13 under his average for the series.

"You want to come up with the greatest performance in your life in the championship test but you're now in the 100th game and the body is weakening," Boston's John Havlicek said. "It's just a case that the body can take only so much."

West said the Lakers would have won if "I could have played a normal game."

Boston's player-coach Bill Russell didn't think West was limited because of the injury, a remark that might have been in jest but was pounced on the following day by Times columnist John Hall:

"The Celtics may very well win it all once again in the grand finale tonight in the Forum, and it is to their credit that they have hung in there again against the odds, but they should be thanking whatever lucky stars or planets one thanks that a freak muscle pull in the final meaningless minutes of a fifth game that was already iced did more to maintain their tradition than all the cigars in Red Auerbach's many mouths."

--Keith Thursby

[Hey Keith--look at the ad on the runover! Learn how to raise chinchillas in the privacy of your own home!--lrh]