May 4, 1972: Game 7 New York Nets 94, Virginia Squires 88
After upsetting top-seeded Kentucky in the first round of the 1972 ABA playoffs for the franchise’s first playoff series victory, the third seed New York Nets, led by Rick Barry, faced off against the Julius Erving-led Virginia Squires in the Eastern Conference Finals. After dropping the opening two games in Virginia, the series switched back to New York. Fun fact: there was a nine-day layoff between games two and three due to the fact that the Nassau Coliseum, which the Nets had just moved into mid-season, had already been booked for previous events. Apparently Rihanna chose the wrong decade to schedule a concert up against a Nets game.
After the Nets swept a pair of games at home, New York and Virginia split Games 5 and 6, setting up Game 7 at the Norfolk Scope, 31 years to the day before the Nets’ first game seven in Brooklyn. Thanks to a late three by Barry, the Nets overcame a game-high 35 point effort by Dr. J to head to their first ever ABA Finals. The Nets would lose to the Pacers in the Finals, and wouldn’t return until New York poached Dr. J from Virginia before the 1973-74 season.
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