Red Auerbach’s Washington Capitols were running away with the BAA’s Eastern Division title. Since the end of their 17-game winning streak on New Year’s Day, the Caps had gone 6-3 and, sporting a 25-6 overall record, prepared to receive the challenge of the visiting Warriors. The Warriors, taking a quick train jaunt south for the middle contest of a three-games-in-three days stint, continued to play up and down ball, coming off one of the easiest wins of the year over the Celtics. At 16-14, they wallowed in mediocrity. A win over Washington could have been the boost they needed to get themselves in gear.
Five thousand basketball fans filled the Uline Arena and saw the Warriors fall asleep in the starting blocks. Nine minutes into the game, Philadelphia had managed to score just a single point while the Caps raced out to a 23-1 lead. To the Warriors great credit, however, the bleeding stopped there. A furious flurry in the second quarter closed the gap to 36-30 at halftime and the visitors took the lead in the third, extending the margin to six points early in the fourth quarter. A grim struggle ensued, and with just under a minute left, the game was tied at 55, the Capitols in possession of the ball. Without a shot clock to force play, Washington methodically whiled away the remaining seconds until the last possible moment when Bob Feerick sent a one-handed set shot home, giving the Caps the 57-55 victory. Philadelphia head coach Eddie Gottlieb launched himself from the bench arguing that the shot had come after time had expired, but the protest went for naught, as they generally do, and the result stood.
Washington improved their record to 26-6, now 7.5 games over second place New York and 9.5 over Philadelphia. Joe Fulks again led all scorers with 20 points. Feerick and Bones McKinney led the home team with 19 apiece. After the game, the Warriors returned immediately to Philadelphia to await the Cleveland Rebels the next night.
January 22, 1947
Capitols 57, Warriors 55