The last time the Celtics and Warriors faced off in the NBA Finals, Wilt Chamberlain won the battle but Bill Russell won the war.

Throughout the 1960s, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell had a fierce rivalry. When they faced off in the NBA Finals in 1964, their paint skirmishes became increasingly prominent.

 

Chamberlain was a member of the Warriors organization for his fifth season. He had played two in San Francisco following the team’s relocation from Philadelphia. It was Russell’s ninth season with the Boston Celtics. It was their first encounter where a championship was at stake. Both the series and the personal matchup were not statistically close.

Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain have always been associated.

 

Similar to the relationship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the Chamberlain/Russell rivalry was closely watched. Although there haven’t been many NBA individual rivalries, Chamberlain vs. Russell was the first significant one prior to the emergence of Bird vs. Magic in the early 1980s.

 

Inside the paint, the 6-10, 215-pound Russell and the 7-foot-1, 275-pound Chamberlain engaged in combat. They both wiped down the boards. Russell made his life on the defensive end of the ball, while Chamberlain was a prolific scorer.

 

 

For his first four NBA seasons, Chamberlain led the league in minutes played, scoring, and rebounds. His performance was extraordinary. His averages in his third season with the Philadelphia Warriors were 27.5 rebounds and 50.4 points. In 1967–68, Chamberlain averaged 24.3 points, 23.8 rebounds, and a career-high 8.6 assists per game.

 

Russell had good scoring ability, but he was also a rebounder and shot-blocker. However, blocked shots were not officially recognized by the NBA until the 1973–74 season. That was five years after Russell’s last NBA game and the year following Chamberlain’s retirement. Both Russell and Chamberlain averaged six to eight blocks per game, according to the officials who called their games, according to Bleacher Report.

 

During his first three years, Russell led the league in rebounding. In his 13-year career, he averaged 22.5 boards per game. Over his career, he scored 15.1 points, including a career high of 18.9 in the 1961–62 campaign.

 

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