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Old 12-14-2012, 07:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Jerry West's all time greatest games



I just wanted to share with you a sampling of West's greatest ever games (Post season only, of course) so that you all can bask in his greatness. In my opinion these are his 10 best, taking into account the importance and magnitude of the game, and the opposition....


1) 1969 Finals, Game 1, Celtics
53/3/10 (21/41, 11/13)
Lakers win 120-118


53 points, 10 assists, and a 4th quarter comeback engineered by West, was the catalyst for Bill Russell to exclaim "I have never seen a better clutch player than Jerry West" immediately following the Celtics loss. After a back and forth first 3 quarters that saw 21 lead changes, Boston, on the back of Havlicek's relentless scoring, managed to eek ahead by 7 points with just 10 minutes remaining. It was West's seventeen 4th quarter points that brought the Lakers back into it, and they were just 1 point behind with around 2 minutes to go. West then put the finishing touches on his vituoso performance by making back to back elbow jumpers and burying 2 crucial free throws that put L.A up by 3 points with 4 seconds left. An exhausted West exclaimed "Give me two sleeping pills" to his trainer following the win.

West was being guarded 1v1 by Emmette Bryant for most of the game, and Russell's preoccupation with Wilt allowed him to get a little closer to the basket than he normally would, but 50 point double-doubles combined with an obscene level of clutchness, in the NBA Finals no less, are exceedingly rare indeed (Only Bob Pettit and Elgin Baylor can claim such a feat).


2) 1965 WCF, Game 2, Bullets
52/5/9 (16/38, 20/21)
Lakers win 118-115


Even though West had poured in 50 points, and there were only 38 seconds to go in the 4th quarter, L.A were still trailing 114-115. With Baylor sidelined for the remainder of the playoffs after shredding his knee cap in game 1, the entire Lakers organisation now rested on Jerry West's shoulders. After working himself to within 15 feet of the Baltimore basket, West threw up a turnaround jumper which bounced off the rim, yet, Somehow, the 6"3 guard still managed to grab the offensive rebound and lay it in for the go ahead/game winner! I guess things like that can happen when the opposing team has Walt "Defense?" Bellamy as their anchor. In truth, Baltimore were the worst defensive team in the league, a talented offensive unit who liked to run n gun. They were a Nash-less version of the '05-'08 Pheonix Suns.


3) 1965 WCF, Game 1, Bullets
49/6/8 (15/35, 19/21)
Lakers win 121-115


West kicked off one of the great individual post season series in some style (46/6/7 on 45% for the series). Unstoppably relentless, he did exactly what it says on the tin. The first concrete sign that West had indeed overtaken Oscar as the leagues premier guard.


4) 1970 Finals, Game 4, Knicks
37/5/18 (13/26, 11/12)
Lakers win 121-115 in OT


This was the game after his famous 55 foot buzzer beater (
), in which L.A ended up losing in a heart breaking overtime. West was banged up and worn down. It had been a long, hard season for the aging superstar. With Wilt and Baylor missing huge chunks of the regular season, it was left to West to drag L.A into the playoffs. He was their point guard and their shooting guard, he was their scorer, their playmaker, their best defensive player, their crunch time assassin and their leader (And was robbed of the MVP).

Essentially this was a 'must-win' game 4. Falling behind 1-3 without home court advantage would have been a death sentence. Matched up against one of the best defensive guards the league has seen, Walt Frazier, who a lot of people grotesquely claim should have won FMVP instead of Reed (I'm not sure either of them deserved it. I may have given it to West, considering Reed was next to worthless for 3 whole games) and playing 52 out of a possible 53 minutes with a jammed, bandaged left thumb, West chucked up 37 points & 18 assists, made every single one of his last 8 shots and scored 6 crucial points in the overtime to lead L.A to a series tying win. Baylor (2 free throws to tie the game with 23 seconds left in regulation and 9 points in OT) and the little known John Tresvant (3 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists & 2 steals in the last 6 minutes) provided valuable support.


5) 1969 Finals, Game 7, Celtics
42/13/12 (14/29, 14/18)
Celtics win 106-108


The season long fued between Wilt Chamberlain and Butch van Breda Kolff (Caused mostly by Wilt) finally came to a head. After jarring his knee with around 5 minutes left in the final period, Wilt wanted out of the game, which Breda Kolff duly granted. But when Wilt asked to come back in a couple of minutes later Breda Kolff ignored him before finally declaring "We're playing better without you" (To be fair, they were). Whilst all this was going on, West, still playing with a sore left hamstring, was single handily leading a furious Laker charge. Seemingly every trip down the court he was swishing mid range jumper after mid range jumper or getting to the line and making free throw after free throw (5/7 FGs & 7/9 FTs in the 4th), until, finally, running out of steam with around 3 minutes left. The Celtics, of course, ran away with it from there. West deserved some help.


Never has a superstar been ****ed over quite so vehemently by his own team in an NBA Finals as Jerry West was in 1969. A complete and utter travesty that the Lakers didn't win. Blame Baylor, Wilt and Breda Kolff in that order. John Havlicek echoed his teammates sentiments after the game - "Just once, I'd like to see an individual like Jerry West be on a championship team."


6) 1965 Finals, Game 3, Celtics
43/12/7 (13/25, 17/20)
Lakers win 126-105


'65 Celtics: Arguably the greatest dynasty in the history of sports at the height of it's powers. In my opinion Bill Russell's greatest all round season - still dominating defensively, but also passing/facilitating as well as any center ever has from the mid post. He could still score when needed, too (18ppg on an absurd 70% shooting in the Finals. A FG% record that still stands). The sumpremely clutch Sam Jones was in the midst of his best ever season, Satch Sanders and K.C Jones provided the lock down perimiter defense, John Havlicek was still raw but had an almost inhuman non-stop motor, could play multiple positions and was also really good defensively, and Tommy Heinsohn provided invaluable muscle, intimidation and experience. This was a dominant, well oiled machine.

That's what West was up against in the effectively 'must win' game 3. Down 0-2, he could be forgiven for sucummbing to the vastly superior Boston Celtics by taking his foot off the gas (Especially after his teammates basically blew game 2 with West putting up a 45/5/5). Yet, he didn't, he willed himself to the line over and over again. Like Jordan in game 3 against the Pistons in 1990 or Kobe in game 3 against the Suns in '07; The great ones rise when their backs are against the wall.


7) 1964 WCF, Game 4, Hawks
39/6/4 (13/20, 13/15)
Lakers win 97-88


The Lakers - Hawks Conference Finals battles in the late 50s/early 60s were some of the most heated and competitive the NBA has ever seen. The rowdiness of the St Louis Hawk fans contributed heavily to the mutual disdain. Undoubtedly the worst fans in the league at the time, routinely throwing eggs, beers etc onto the court, and verbally abusing seemingly anyone and everyone in sight, including Hawk players . Between '59 and '64, L.A and St Louis met in the post season every single year except one (In '62 the Hawks were hampered by injuries and a revolving door of coaches that included their superstar, Bob Pettit. Didn't make the playoffs). Of those 5 matchups, 4 of them went the distance to a do-or-die, winner-take-all elimination game. The consistent closeness of the games led to an inordinate opportunity for clutch heroics by both teams. Their 1961 series in particular surely has a strong case to be considered the "best" or "most exciting" series in NBA history. Bob Pettit would certainly agree.

Baylor's ailing knees had cost the Lakers the first 2 games (Baylor took a combined 54 shots but only made 18 of them. He did hit the game winner in game 3, though) so this was a do-or-die game 4 in a best of 5 series. Relatively speaking this was a grind out affair, a pace that I believe suited West much more than the break-neck speed most games were played at in that era. West could undoubtedly run, but he would very often get hurt or banged up doing so - he had a fearless, relentless will that he couldn't contain. Even in 1964, he had a phenomenal mid-range game. He could pick teams apart in the half court just as easily as he could on the break. He displayed that in this game.


8) 1965 WCF, Game 6, Bullets
42/8/8 (15/33, 12/14)
Lakers win 117-115


Wanting to make up for his poor showing in the last couple of minutes of game 4 (missed a bunch of shots late in a very close game), West slammed the rapidly widening door on the scrappy Bullets. After Dan Ohl and Walt Bellamy rallied Baltimore to within 6 points late in the 4th quarter, West made several key plays that iced the game and the series, including a huge momentum changing steal on Ohl as he was driving in for a layup on a fast break, 2 jumpers and 2 free throws in the final 3 minutes, and an assist to Gene Wiley.


9) 1963 Finals, Game 3, Celtics
42/8 (17/30, 8/10)
Lakers win 119-99


In what was effectively a 'must win' game 3 (L.A were down 0-2), West poured in 15 of his 42 points in the final quarter to help the Lakers overcome a 83-80 deficit at the start of the 4th. Baylor was right there with him, too (38 points, 13 in the 4th). West also had several blocks.


10) 1968 Finals, Game 4, Celtics
38/10/5 (13/21, 12/15)
Lakers win 118-105


Similar to the game above, another 'must win' game in the middle of a series. Breda Kolff got ejected in the 3rd after picking up his 28th(!) technical of the season and Russell missed 6 FTs in a row mid-way through the 4th quarter. Both probably contributed to the win

Btw, who sprains their ankle in garbage time of a game in the middle of an NBA Finals series? Who does that? Who?? Jerry West, that's who! His left ankle, in a collision with Havlicek. Almost 45 years after the fact I'm shaking my ****ing head.





Honourable mentions....


1962 Finals, Game 3, Celtics
36/4 (11/19, 14/16)
Lakers win 117-115


The famous steal (
). With the Lakers down 113-115 with only seconds remaining in the 4th quarter, West drove to the rim, drew a foul from Bill Russell and displayed his ice coolness by burying two free throws to tie the game with 3 seconds left. But that wasn't all. The Celtics called a timeout to move the ball up to half court. Sam Jones was the inbounder. Anticipating the pass to Bob Cousy, West - the greatest pickpocketer of his generation - "flashed in front of Cousy just as the ball was about to reach it's target". With momentum and speed, West dribbled the 45 feet between him and the Celtics net as fast as he could and layed in the game winner "just as the gun sounded".

The clutchest 3 seconds in playoff history?


1966 Finals, Game 5, Celtics
31/8/5 (11/24, 9/9)
Lakers win 121-117
&
1966 Finals, Game 6, Celtics
32/8/7 (11/23, 10/10)
lakers win 123-115


With just 35 seconds remaining in the absolute 'must win' game 5, and the score tied at 115, West nailed a go ahead/game winning corner jumper, and then made a pair of free throws to make sure of the win.
&
With the Lakers entire season once again on the line in game 6, West hit 3 vital shots near the end of a close, back and forth final quarter to give L.A the game winning lead.

Last edited by oolalaa; 10-29-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 12-15-2012, 08:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

That's pretty cool actually. Always interesting to hear about the specifics of the game's pioneers.

I don't know if Oscar being merely lumped into the same tier as West should stir a "rile" in anyone though. People obviously can have their preferences one way or another, but I don't think the gap is that large on either side.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Originally Posted by Luke View Post
That's pretty cool actually. Always interesting to hear about the specifics of the game's pioneers.

I don't know if Oscar being merely lumped into the same tier as West should stir a "rile" in anyone though. People obviously can have their preferences one way or another, but I don't think the gap is that large on either side.
In my opinion '65-'70 Jerry West had a clear edge over any version of Oscar Robertson. I think it's lazy to rank them next to one another (As seemingly everyone does).

The West/Oscar debate reminds me a lot of the Kobe/Lebron debate between '06 and '10, although it's not a perfect comparison considering Lebron was/is undoubtedly better than Oscar, imo. Lebron was clearly the more gifted all round player, and his general impact on games was a little higher than Kobe's, but when it came to winning in the post season, who would you want on your team? I don't have to think twice. Lebron had some significant "intangible" issues that prevented him from reaching his potential, just like Oscar. Jerry West was the Kobe Bryant of his generation. '66-70 West and '06-'10 Kobe are remarkably similar players.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Originally Posted by oolalaa View Post
In my opinion '65-'70 Jerry West had a clear edge over any version of Oscar Robertson. I think it's lazy to rank them next to one another (As seemingly everyone does).

The West/Oscar debate reminds me a lot of the Kobe/Lebron debate between '06 and '10, although it's not a perfect comparison considering Lebron was/is undoubtedly better than Oscar, imo. Lebron was clearly the more gifted all round player, and his general impact on games was a little higher than Kobe's, but when it came to winning in the post season, who would you want on your team? I don't have to think twice. Lebron had some significant "intangible" issues that prevented him from reaching his potential, just like Oscar. Jerry West was the Kobe Bryant of his generation. '66-70 West and '06-'10 Kobe are remarkably similar players.
Okay, this whole part right here is really interesting to me. Please answer the following questions.

1. How can we make a fair guess as to who we would want to have in the postseason? Kobe undoubtedly had a much better supporting cast and head coach than Lebron did, and they both have had their moments in the postseason, with Lebron obviously having the best one out of both of them with his spanking of the Pistons in 07 (a team that flat out dominated Kobe in the finals in 04). I guess what I'm asking is, why should I not have to think twice before having Kobe be on my team when it's the postseason? Because I'm not seeing it.

2. What issues are we talking about here exactly? Was it Lebron's lack of ability to be clutch? Because that's obviously false, we've seen it on numerous occasions that he can be very clutch when he needs to be. I watched him nonstop when he was in Cleveland for all seven years he spent here so I know what I'm talking about.

3. General impact on the game was a LITTLE higher? While I do think that we shouldn't exaggerate it to much, it's a pretty well known fact that Lebron's impact, regardless of what ever team he plays on, is much higher than the impact Kobe has. Would you or would you not agree? (Not a knock at Kobe by the way, but Lebron just has an unbelievable impact on the game).

Apart from that, you are spot on about Jerry West being above Oscar, even if I do think people don't realize how great Oscar really was, Jerry West will always be the superior in my eyes.
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Originally Posted by XxIrvingxX View Post
Okay, this whole part right here is really interesting to me. Please answer the following questions.

1. How can we make a fair guess as to who we would want to have in the postseason? Kobe undoubtedly had a much better supporting cast and head coach than Lebron did, and they both have had their moments in the postseason, with Lebron obviously having the best one out of both of them with his spanking of the Pistons in 07 (a team that flat out dominated Kobe in the finals in 04). I guess what I'm asking is, why should I not have to think twice before having Kobe be on my team when it's the postseason? Because I'm not seeing it.

2. What issues are we talking about here exactly? Was it Lebron's lack of ability to be clutch? Because that's obviously false, we've seen it on numerous occasions that he can be very clutch when he needs to be. I watched him nonstop when he was in Cleveland for all seven years he spent here so I know what I'm talking about.

3. General impact on the game was a LITTLE higher? While I do think that we shouldn't exaggerate it to much, it's a pretty well known fact that Lebron's impact, regardless of what ever team he plays on, is much higher than the impact Kobe has. Would you or would you not agree? (Not a knock at Kobe by the way, but Lebron just has an unbelievable impact on the game).

Apart from that, you are spot on about Jerry West being above Oscar, even if I do think people don't realize how great Oscar really was, Jerry West will always be the superior in my eyes.
I really don't want to rehash the Bron/Mamba debate too much because it's been beaten to death so many ****ing times. We won't be saying anything that hasn't already been said a Billion times before anyway, but I will just say a couple of things....

I judge players in a vacuum. I'm removing their respective supporting casts from the scenario. When I said Lebron's impact was a "little" higher than Kobe's I was referring to the totality of the 5 years between '06 and '10.

Imo, Kobe's general impact on games was actually a little higher than Lebron's between '06 and '08, simply because Lebron's jumpshot was a still a borderline joke at that point. He could undoubtedly get crazy hot from time to time but the consistency wasn't there. That's why he struggled massively against good defenses that walled off the paint in the playoffs, particuarly in '07 vs the Spurs and '08 vs the Celtics (Shooting around 35% in both series was a disgrace for someone as talented as Lebron).

Quote:
Lebron obviously having the best one out of both of them with his spanking of the Pistons in 07 (a team that flat out dominated Kobe in the finals in 04).
Yeh, the Pistons in '07 were the same as the Pistons in '04. Except that they no longer had the best defensive player in the league....or (Arguably) the best coach in basketball history....and there was no hand-checking in 2007. Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder if those things made a difference?

When he finally got his jumper sorted out in 2009, his impact sky-rocketed. He was now completely unguardable, as demonstrated against the Magic in the playoffs. In '09 & '10 his impact was significantly better than Kobe's.

Has Lebron always been clutch? Sure, If you only look at basic 4th quarter numbers. let me ask you; What did you make of his disappearing acts in the 2010 ECSFs against the Celtics and the 2011 Finals against the Mavericks? Do you think that these were isolated incidents? Or do you think they were sentimatic of his always fragile psyche? I personally think it was the latter. You don't suddenly go from a "clutch/mentally stong/unstoppable freight train" that you and others claim he was his whole career to a "meek/unclutch/frozen/shrinking/choker" that he became when the pressure got too great in '10 & '11. I'll say no more.
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Old 12-16-2012, 03:41 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Old 12-16-2012, 04:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Originally Posted by oolalaa View Post

I judge players in a vacuum. I'm removing their respective supporting casts from the scenario. When I said Lebron's impact was a "little" higher than Kobe's I was referring to the totality of the 5 years between '06 and '10.

Imo, Kobe's general impact on games was actually a little higher than Lebron's between '06 and '08, simply because Lebron's jumpshot was a still a borderline joke at that point. He could undoubtedly get crazy hot from time to time but the consistency wasn't there. That's why he struggled massively against good defenses that walled off the paint in the playoffs, particuarly in '07 vs the Spurs and '08 vs the Celtics (Shooting around 35% in both series was a disgrace for someone as talented as Lebron).
Okay, I can agree that when taking away the teams that Kobe has a higher effect, but doesn't that work AGAINST your argument?

And keep in mind that Kobe has had series has disgraceful as those as well. Think back to the finals against the Pistons. I'm sure there are others but that's the only one I know off the top of my head.



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Yeh, the Pistons in '07 were the same as the Pistons in '04. Except that they no longer had the best defensive player in the league....or (Arguably) the best coach in basketball history....and there was no hand-checking in 2007. Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder if those things made a difference?
Lebron made some incredible shots in that game, I highly doubt that hand checking would've made any difference when it came to those shots he made. I would be able to comment on whether or not Larry Brown was the greatest coach of all time or not if he didn't switch so many damn teams in his career. And sure, the Pistons weren't the same team as before, but keep in mind that the Lakers had a MUCH better team than the Cavs did. So that balances it out. Prince was able to dominate Kobe defensively and yet Lebron just went against the entire Pistons squad and just beat their asses on his own.


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Originally Posted by oolalaa View Post
Has Lebron always been clutch? Sure, If you only look at basic 4th quarter numbers. let me ask you; What did you make of his disappearing acts in the 2010 ECSFs against the Celtics and the 2011 Finals against the Mavericks? Do you think that these were isolated incidents? Or do you think they were sentimatic of his always fragile psyche? I personally think it was the latter. You don't suddenly go from a "clutch/mentally stong/unstoppable freight train" that you and others claim he was his whole career to a "meek/unclutch/frozen/shrinking/choker" that he became when the pressure got too great in '10 & '11. I'll say no more.
I can't honestly say anything at all about his game 5 performance against the Celtics. He started out cold and suddenly decided to just not try anymore. But he didn't have any sort of disappearing act against the Mavs. There just wasn't a lot he could do. With Tyson Chandler down there in the middle and his jump shot being off after the first two games, what exactly could Lebron do? Keep shooting random jumpers? That's not smart basketball. Any basketball player will tell you this. And you could ask any NBA coach their opinion on this matter, and I guarantee you that all of them will say that Lebron's struggles were a result of Dallas's defense, and many analysts agree that the defense Dallas had is never given enough credit when it comes to this subject matter.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Originally Posted by XxIrvingxX View Post
Okay, I can agree that when taking away the teams that Kobe has a higher effect, but doesn't that work AGAINST your argument?

And keep in mind that Kobe has had series has disgraceful as those as well. Think back to the finals against the Pistons. I'm sure there are others but that's the only one I know off the top of my head.





Lebron made some incredible shots in that game, I highly doubt that hand checking would've made any difference when it came to those shots he made. I would be able to comment on whether or not Larry Brown was the greatest coach of all time or not if he didn't switch so many damn teams in his career. And sure, the Pistons weren't the same team as before, but keep in mind that the Lakers had a MUCH better team than the Cavs did. So that balances it out. Prince was able to dominate Kobe defensively and yet Lebron just went against the entire Pistons squad and just beat their asses on his own.




I can't honestly say anything at all about his game 5 performance against the Celtics. He started out cold and suddenly decided to just not try anymore. But he didn't have any sort of disappearing act against the Mavs. There just wasn't a lot he could do. With Tyson Chandler down there in the middle and his jump shot being off after the first two games, what exactly could Lebron do? Keep shooting random jumpers? That's not smart basketball. Any basketball player will tell you this. And you could ask any NBA coach their opinion on this matter, and I guarantee you that all of them will say that Lebron's struggles were a result of Dallas's defense, and many analysts agree that the defense Dallas had is never given enough credit when it comes to this subject matter.
Fine. Let's agree to disagree before I start calling you a moron and a dumbass again
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

Jerry West is a lot more respectful of Oscar than you are and in his book states pretty clearly that he considers Oscar the better player but maybe he's just being Magnanimous
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

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Jerry West is a lot more respectful of Oscar than you are and in his book states pretty clearly that he considers Oscar the better player but maybe he's just being Magnanimous
He was indeed being magnanimous. West was perhaps the most humble superstar in NBA history.
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

Switch West and Oscar, and do you think Lakers make any less Finals appearances, and Titles?

And I'm a very big Jerry West fan.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:39 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

Jack Twyman and Jerry Lucas or Elgin Baylor and Rudy Larusso? kind of a push Elgin is the best of the bunch obviously but Twyman and Lucas were Hall of Famers as well

probably to be fair you have to move the Royals to the west since they were often knocked off by the same celtics teams that thwarted Wests lakers in the finals
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:07 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

This whole thread was an incredibly interesting read. Thank you oolalaa for compiling that list.
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Old 12-18-2012, 11:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Jerry West's all time greatest games

I am on this site every day multiple times per day. I rarely feel the need to respond when someone has already said what I want to say - but I need to reiterate what has been said: Excellent post. Please if you have more in you elaborating on basketball lore like this, continue to contribute it. Please.


Just an edit: How the hell do rep calculations work? His went up by like 20,000 when I repped him.
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