Throwback Thursday: Mikan Leads Lakers To 1954 Championship
Los Angeles has been fortunate to have such a successful NBA franchise, but the Lakers also had their fair share of success in Minneapolis — winning five NBA championships. After winning back-to-back titles in 1949-50, the Lakers would lose 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals to the Rochester Royals the following season.
After not being able to complete the three-peat, George Mikan and company were looking to bring back the NBA title to Minneapolis. The Lakers would have the second best record in the league and would once again face the Royals in the Western Conference Finals. The Lakers would get their revenge and defeat the Royals 3-1 despite the Royals having home court advantage and the best record in the regular season.
The New York Knicks would represent the Eastern Conference and they were prepared to slow down Mikan and the Lakers. The first two games were played in Minnesota, but the Knicks were able to steal Game 2 after sending Game 1 to overtime and only allowed Mikan to score 15 points. The series would now shift to New York tied 1-1 and the Knicks had all the momentum as they had won 23 straight games at home.
The Lakers would beat the Knicks in Game 3 behind a great performance from Mikan, who recorded 26 points and 17 rebounds. No team could manage to win two consecutive games, so it would come down to a Game 7 in Minneapolis. For the first time all series, the home team would actually be playing in their own arena. Scheduling conflicts would prevent the Knicks and Lakers to play in their respective arenas until Game 7, when the Lakers would actually play in the Minneapolis Auditorium.
Once again, Mikan would lead the charge with 22 points and 19 rebounds and the Lakers would beat the Knicks 82-65 and capture their third championship in four years. Home court advantage would prove to be vital for the Lakers, giving them a definite advantage in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
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