SI Vault
Pat Putnam
May 20, 1974
For some months a lot of people in the ABA had been waiting, hopefully, for inexperience to cut down the young and cocky (and rich) New York Nets, and suddenly last week in Salt Lake City, in the third game of their championship series with the Utah Stars, it appeared that was exactly what was about to happen. There were the Nets, up by 2-0 in games but trailing now by three points in the third game with only 10 seconds to play. Coach Kevin Loughery's swaggering kids had just squandered a 15-point lead in less than eight minutes, always an unnerving development. The Nets called a timeout and, young and sure of their destiny, discussed, among other things, what they were going to do after they sent the game into overtime.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
May 20, 1974

Nets Kids Whiz Beyond The Stars

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Ladner laughed. "I damn near did. For two points. Then I saw Brian back-pedaling." He threw to Taylor, who had managed to get just beyond the 25-foot line. With Erving and Gale shouting for a time-out, Taylor shot.

"I didn't realize how big the play really was," Taylor said. "If I had, I might have froze. The only thing I could think of was that I wished Julius would stop yelling in my ear. It was disconcerting."

Almost as one, the buzzer ended the game and the ball dropped through the hoop. In the overtime, the Nets won quite easily 103-100, and were up 3-0 instead of 2-1. The Stars won the fourth game (97-89) before the Nets took the ABA championship by winning 111-100 last Friday night in New York.

"It's strange," said Taylor, the ABA's top rookie last year. "I'm not a real good outside shooter. I only made eight out of 29 three-point shots all season. Yet when it left my hand, I knew the game was tied. I thought it was just another of our typical big plays by an individual. Then later Billy Paultz, our center, came over and said, 'Hey, B, you're a hero.' Finally it sank in. I thought, 'Oh, wow.' But we aren't heroes. We're just guys who went out and showed the beauty we have, the gifts that someone gave us to play this game. It was destiny."

1 2