1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks

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1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#1 » by sansterre » Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:34 pm

Don't forget, the home team for the series only benefits from that designation for Game 7. The rankings for these teams are out of 37 (because their are 37 teams in the 1970s tourney). The player stats are SS (ShotShare, percentage of team's shots taken when on the court), and the slash stats are rebounds per game, assists per game and stocks per game (if applicable), all adjusted to a Pace of 100.

The 1971 Los Angeles Lakers (#34) @ The 1971 New York Knicks (#31)

Overall:

Record: '71 Knicks, 52 wins (25th) > ‘71 Lakers, 48 wins (32nd)
RSRS: ‘71 Knicks, +5.05 (17th) > ‘71 Lakers, +3.27 (26th)
PSRS: '71 Lakers, +4.15 (27th) > ‘71 Knicks, -0.26 (36th)

When the '71 Lakers have Possession:

Overall Comparison, '71 Lakers' offense vs '71 Knicks’' defense:

Regular Season: +1.6 Offensive Rating (21st) vs -3.9 Defensive Rating (13th): -2.6 expected
Playoffs: +0.3 Offensive Rating (31st) vs -2.2 Defensive Rating (25th): -1.9 expected

Lineup:

PG: Gail Goodrich, 20.6% SS on +2.1% rTS, 2.9 / 4.1
SG: Keith Erickson, 16.0% SS on -0.6% rTS, 4.8 / 2.7 (missing games 4 & 6)
SF: Jim McMillian, 17.1% SS on -0.6% rTS, 3.5 / 1.4
PF: Happy Hairston, 21.3% SS on +2.2% rTS, 8.6 / 1.8
C: Wilt Chamberlain, 18.3% SS on +5.8% rTS, 15.7 / 3.7
6th: Willie McCarter, 20.0% SS on -6.9% rTS, 1.4 / 1.5

When the '71 Knicks have Possession:

Overall Comparison, '71 Knicks' offense vs '71 Lakers' defense:

Regular Season: +0.6 Offensive Rating (28th) vs -1.1 Defensive Rating (32nd): -0.5 expected
Playoffs: -3.6 Offensive Rating (37th) vs -2.8 Defensive Rating (19th): -6.4 expected

Lineup:

PG: Walt Frazier, 19.6% SS on +5.6% rTS, 6.1 / 6.0
SG: Dick Barnett, 19.9% SS on -1.3% rTS, 2.6 / 2.4
SF: Bill Bradley, 18.6% SS on -1.0% rTS, 2.9 / 3.2
PF: Dave DeBusschere, 20.7% SS on -4.2% rTS, 9.9 / 2.4
C: Willis Reed, 22.7% SS on +1.0% rTS, 12.2 / 1.8
6th: Dave Stallworth, 21.8% SS on -1.7% rTS, 3.8 / 1.2

Discussion Questions:

1. Injuries: Keith Erickson misses 2 games for the Lakers.
2. The Lakers were absolutely wrecked by injuries. Jerry West wasn’t available for the playoffs. Keith Erickson missed some games. Their offense was built, to some extent, on West’s volume scoring and without him it struggled some in the playoffs. To pick up the slack Gail Goodrich exploded his volume, taking 27% of his team’s shots in the postseason, while not letting his efficiency suffer. On some level, it can be argued that the reason the Lakers’ offense held up at all is thanks to Goodrich’s efforts. But in this matchup the Knicks can put Frazier on him. With one of the best man-defenders of his time on Goodrich, can the Lakers’ offense keep it together?
3. The offense of the ‘71 Knicks was not particularly strong; Walt Frazier was the only strong scorer in that group. And in the playoffs their offense really, really struggled against the Bullets. They scored 15 ppg lower than their regular season average, Reed shot around -5% rTS in the playoffs and only Frazier scored well. Is there any reason to think that a Chamberlain-led defense (one that improved in the playoffs) couldn’t shut the Knicks down in a similar way?


I’m going to put this up for 48 hours, unless I need to keep it open for a tie-breaker.

Post with who you would pick to win this series, ideally with the number of games. And if you have any insight into these players or matchups beyond what is above please don't hesitate to post; the goal (as always) is for us all to walk away with more knowledge than we started with. Lord knows I don't know a ton about these teams :)

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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#2 » by penbeast0 » Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:50 pm

Without West, the Knicks should take this pretty easily. Frazier will hurt Goodrich's efficiency and they have no real playmakers. Lakers best chance is if Wilt decides to score again but usually when he makes a decision, he doesn't vary it. Knicks in 5.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#3 » by DQuinn1575 » Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:34 pm

The 2 teams played the year before and from that you want to take away West & Baylor?
No contest for me.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#4 » by sansterre » Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:13 pm

I think this is closer than others are making it sound like. The '71 Lakers (even without Baylor and West) beat the '71 Bulls pretty solidly (and the Bulls were quite good, even if their playoff struggles are well-documented). And in contrast, the healthy Knicks really struggled against the defense of the '71 Bullets. By playoff performance from what we saw, the Lakers might actually be the better team.

All of that said, it seems more probable that both performances were somewhat flukey and that the Knicks were probably the better team under the circumstances. And they've got home court advantage.

Knicks in 6.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#5 » by homecourtloss » Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:31 pm

Without West, it seems hopeless because you have an older Chamberlain who would have to take on increased O-Load which he is the opposite of his career trajectory. I’m going to have to say Knicks in 5 here.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#6 » by sansterre » Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:43 pm

homecourtloss wrote:Without West, it seems hopeless because you have an older Chamberlain who would have to take on increased O-Load which he is the opposite of his career trajectory. I’m going to have to say Knicks in 5 here.

In the actual '71 Playoffs it was Goodrich that increased his load, which he actually did quite well in our limited sample size.

One thing that popped up (anecdotally) in my resilience project was when young players bump their volume in the playoffs one year, they often improve in scoring volume the subsequent year. Which certainly seems to have happened here, as Goodrich's '72 was a massive improvement, and a big part of what fueled the dominance of the '72 Lakers.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#7 » by 70sFan » Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:49 pm

Lakers without West seems to be outmatched, but we have to remember that Willis played through injury - that's the main reason why Knicks lost against Bullets. Wilt wouldn't have to worry about Reed's offense, so he'd make Knicks offense look very miserable.

That said, Knicks are still deeper and better coached. They had solid players to slow down Goodrich, while Lakers guards would be hopeless against Frazier (he dominated them even with West on the floor). I think that this series would go to 5-6 games at most. Wilt managed to get one win against 1971 Bucks, so 2 against Knicks with injured Reed seems fair.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#8 » by Odinn21 » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:41 pm

With the injuries involved, I don't really see how the Lakers can win without West.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#9 » by prolific passer » Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:50 am

71 knicks wipe the floor with them as this was Reed's last healthy and star season. I have a game where they beat the bucks that year in the regular season. Some have said of they faced the bucks in the finals in 71 that they probably could have defeated them due to how well Reed played against Kareem that year.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#10 » by 70sFan » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:41 am

prolific passer wrote:71 knicks wipe the floor with them as this was Reed's last healthy and star season. I have a game where they beat the bucks that year in the regular season. Some have said of they faced the bucks in the finals in 71 that they probably could have defeated them due to how well Reed played against Kareem that year.

Willis Reed was injured in the playoffs. That version of Willis certainly wouldn't be able to compete against healthy Kareem.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney: 1971 Lakers @ 1971 Knicks 

Post#11 » by sansterre » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:40 pm

This was an overwhelming victory for the '71 Knicks. They advance to face the '72 Lakers. Best of luck to them.
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