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Fists fly as 1964 Lakers beat Knicks

Fists fly as 1964 Lakers beat Knicks

Jan. 8, 1964: A Lakers and New York Knicks free-for-all breaks out near the end of a game at the Sports Arena. The Knicks’ Tom Hoover (23) prepares to take a poke at Lakers’ Don Nelson (20), who suffered a split lip in the fracas. Elgin Baylor, left, is on the ground on top of Knicks’ Tom Gola. Lakers center Gene Wiley stands behind Nelson.

The next morning, Los Angeles Times staff writer Dan Hafner reported:

The basketball wasn’t too good, but the Lakers and New York provided some extra entertainment for the benefit of 6,345 fans Wednesday night at the Sports Arena.

A king-sized brawl, in which a number of solid punches were thrown, resulted in four players being ejected as the Lakers romped to their fifth straight victory 136-118.

The Knicks were angry from the start, lost their coach Eddie Donovan on technicals and things finally erupted into a real fight with 3:36 left to play.

Jim Krebs and Billy McGill, who had to be separated a few minutes earlier, squared off to begin the donnybrook.

Little Frank Selvy grabbed McGill about the waist in an effort to stop the angry Knick center and then both benches poured out on the floor.

The best puncher among those engaging in hand-to-hand conflict appeared to be Tom Hoover, the Knicks’ rookie center. He threw punches at several Lakers, finally settled on Don Nelson, and dwelt out the only damage of the melee, which lasted about 30 seconds.

Nelson, who stopped a hard right flush on the mouth, needed several stitches to sew up a cut lip, but otherwise there were no casualties.

Krebs, Nelson, McGill and Hoover were tossed out by officials Richie Powers and Willie Smith. With the Lakers holding at 23-point lead and the Knicks still boiling, Powers ordered the timer not to stop the clock and the game quickly ran its course.

This photo by retired staff photographer Joe Kennedy was published as lead art on the Jan. 9, 1964, Los Angeles Times Sports section front page.

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