To permit Barry to play, Dr. Raggio shot the ankle with Carbocaine, a strong local anesthetic. Since the injection was administered as near as possible to the opening tip-off so that it would last throughout the game, Barry missed much of pregame warmups and all practice sessions. Sharman, an advocate of extensive shooting workouts, even on the morning of a playoff game, theorized that this was probably the reason for Barry's poor outside shooting. Rick was making his high-30s average almost entirely on drives. For Sunday's game Dr. Raggio agreed to inject the Carbocaine earlier, and Barry made the entire warmup. Still, he scored only 30 points, an ordinary night for him, not an inspired playoff performance. Until sufficient rest and medication clear up the tendon trouble, he will not again be the shooter who obliges opponents to double-team him—which probably means not until next season.
Without the injuries, San Francisco would have a chance to upset the 76ers. The potential is there. Alex Han-num, who coached the Warriors last season, says it is San Francisco, not his older Philadelphia team, that possesses the seeds of a dynasty. But a Warrior upset now would be a stupendous one, for the 76ers give every indication of gaining, with victory, what Hannum desires for them: recognition as the greatest basketball team in history.
Chamberlain is without question the preeminent player in the sport today. But he is only one of four men in the Philadelphia frontcourt who provide such a spectrum of talent that there is hardly a way to match up against them. A fantastic one-man show by someone like Barry or Elgin Baylor or John Havlicek is the only hope. Chamberlain's helpers are led by Chet Walker, an All-Star himself, described by Hannum as "the prototype forward." He is a quick 6'6½", 200 pounds. Bill Cunningham, a shade shorter, is neither as durable nor as consistent, but he is capable of bursts of brilliance that often come as soon as he enters a game.
Luke Jackson gives Philadelphia much more muscle. He is a massive man, 6'9", 240, handsome despite a virtually shaven head that makes him appear threatening. "I want to give Luke a technical just for walking on the court," one referee jokes. Jackson was a center at Pan American College but moved a lot in the pivot and picked up a good outside shot. (Thurmond had to play forward when Chamberlain was with San Francisco, but Wilt says there is no comparison between the two; Thurmond was a misplaced center, Jackson is a natural forward.)
But Luke is also a mini-Wilt. His presence makes it certain that opponents cannot safely double-team Chamberlain on the boards. "They all play me the same way," Jackson says, shaking his head. "Keep me away from the board." Jackson, of course, is often away from it because he has such a good shooting eye and because he is utilized as a screen.
On the Warriors, Thurmond operates almost entirely around the free-throw line. He sets picks for Barry and the others out there ("They split higher than anyone else in the league," Cunningham says) and when his own shots are going in, Thurmond can lure Chamberlain at least a few yards away from the basket. On the 76ers, Jackson can fill this role, and Philadelphia can still keep its really big man, Chamberlain, right under the basket.
Add to this arsenal Wally Wonder Jones, who has emerged as the biggest overnight sensation in Philly since Fabian, and Philadelphia has, suddenly, the complete backcourt too. All-Star Hal Greer is the other guard, of course, and the steady improvement of the substitute, rookie Matt Guokas, is a bonus. Without much warning, Jones, who had averaged 13.2 during the season, hit for at least 21 in four of the five Boston games, 30 in the San Francisco opener, 16 in the second game. But it is less important how many he scores than how he scores them—usually in bunches. He hit eight of nine to blow open the final Boston game in the third quarter, six of eight in the opening quarter against the Warriors, often from far out. His balletlike shooting stance—rear out one way, legs two other ways, arms flung wide—is the best part of the act.
Wally's sudden development eliminated the one edge the Warriors had—in the backcourt, where they have their own brand new star, Mullins, two other good shooters, King and Paul Neumann, and Attles, a little strong man who can be counted on to play Greer as well as anyone, perhaps, but K. C. Jones. Wally Wonder's shooting takes the pressure off Greer and he keeps Attles out of the game, because Sharman must go with his best offensive men to stay in contention. For the same reason Boston had to rely more on Larry Siegfried's shooting than K.C.'s defense. Greer and Jones made 62 points in the opener of the finals, which was particularly exasperating for San Francisco, since a gigantic effort by Thurmond—outrebounding Wilt 23-16 in the second half—and by Meschery resulted in the Warriors almost matching the 76ers on the boards (85-87). Finally catching the 76ers at 128 all, they had the ball with about 10 seconds left when Barry made his move. He cut right, gained a half-step lead on Walker and was going for the hoop when Wilt moved over to pick him up. Simultaneously, Thurmond cut from his high post with a clear path, and Barry flipped the ball to him. It is their favorite play.
Nate went in for a layup, but Chamberlain wheeled, lunged and batted the ball away. Thurmond cried foul, but none was called. Still, there were scratch marks clearly visible on Thurmond's left shoulder where a man would have left his mark had he been going for the ball over Nate's left shoulder—which Chamberlain had.
As it turned out, that was San Francisco's last best chance. "What really hurts," Sharman said later, shaking his head, "is the way it happened, coming back, getting them into overtime and then losing—that's the worst way to lose. We not only get the loss, but we shake them up so that they'll really be up for the next one." Sunday's result proved this to be a rueful but highly accurate observation.