The Lost Finals MVP: 1955
Ole Constancy, Dolph Schayes
George Mikan’s retirement after the 1954 season opened the doors wide open for Dolph Schayes to saunter in for a Lost Finals MVP.
Schayes’ Syracuse Nationals had lost the 1950 Finals to the Minneapolis Lakers in fairly convincing fashion. The Nats lost again to the Lakers in 1954, but this time it seems Syracuse might have taken home the crown, if not for an avalanche of aches and pains up and down the roster.
Six players on the Syracuse roster had some sort of discernible injury including Schayes, who played the ‘54 Finals with a broken wrist.
Injuries are part of the sport, though, and Syracuse lost in seven games.
Well, the Nationals came back strong in the 1954-55 season with a 43-29 record, which was tied for best in the NBA with the Fort Wayne Pistons.
The two teams wound up meeting in the NBA Finals with Syracuse garnering home court advantage thanks a superior head-to-head record (7-2) versus the Pistons during the regular season
Good fortune for the Nationals because the home team won every game in this series as it went the full seven games. Syracuse won the final contest by a score of 92 to 91.
Talk about a nail biter.
Also, praise to the Nationals. First NBA champs with some brothas (Earl Lloyd #11 and Jim Tucker #14) on the squad.
Now the great thing about Dolph Schayes winning the 1955 Lost Finals MVP award is that he did it in typical Schayes fashion.
His 19.0 PPG easily led both teams in scoring for the series. The next closest player was Pistons’ center Larry Foust with 15.9 PPG. And Dolph had this comfy lead despite being the leading scorer in a particular game just twice: Game 2 with 24 points and Game 4 with 28 points.
Schayes’ scoring was even more important for Syracuse because the squad shot just 34.2% from the field and 75.3% from the line during the series. The Dolphster shot .392 from the field and .835 from the line desperately lifting up the team’s offense.
He was also the leader in rebounds for the series with 11.9 RPG.
One final observation. In Game 7, Schayes was a perfect 4-4 from the field.
I don’t have game film, so I can’t see for myself, but… WHY THE HELL DID SCHAYES ONLY GET FOUR SHOTS?!
Syracuse was noted for its egalitarian play in this period, but this is ridiculous. Every other rotation player took more shots that game than Schayes.
Schayes hit five of his six free throws and finished with 13 points, but Syracuse won the game anyways as seven of their players reached double-figures in scoring.
This would be third and final time Syracuse played in the NBA Finals, so that means we’re having a new Lost Finals MVP for 1956.