A large number of personal fouls was still a big problem, and certain changes in the rules related to the last few minutes of the game occurred. But these changes did not produce the desired fruit. Coaches hoped that the opponents would miss at least one or two free throws, while their team was stinging over a jump shot. The number of violations increased to 58 per game, and the teams set records according to the number of attempted free throws.
Some things did not change, like the dominance of high players. Neil Johnson, a center that often used the skyhook shot, won his first of three consecutive titles of the best scorer of the league while last year’s champion Paul Arizin spent the first of two years in the army.
At the beginning of 1953, the All-Star game in Fort Wayne was played, and for the first time, the Western team won 79:75. The best player of the West, but also the entire league, George Mikan, won the most successful player’s award with 22 points and 16 rebounds.
Boston announced big things because of the domination of the Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman’s, but they were not good enough for the Knicks. This season began with the dominance of Cousy, who was with 7.7 assists per game the best assistant of the season, and the same will be repeated in the next seven seasons.
For the first time, the teams that were best at the end of the regular season advanced to the Finals of the League. These were the New York Knicks and Minneapolis Lakers. Knicks won the first game, but the Lakers were “angry,” and they won in the next four games and they won the third consecutive title of the best team in the NBA league.
That season was the first one in which individual awards were given at the end of the season, an award for the best rookie, won by Monk Meineke who played for Fort Wayne Pistons. He ended the season with an average of 10.7 points and 6.9 rebounds, which was also the best season for his five-year NBA career.
The New York team learned from past experiences that it would not be easy to beat Minneapolis without the advantage of home court. But with the 2-3-2 format 2-3-2, the team from New York realized that they could win if they win at least one of the first two games in Minneapolis. Knicks succeeded in that, winning 96:88 and it seemed they are going to win the title.
But George Mikan, who played in New York City while he was in college, did not agree with that. He and Lakers won all three games in New York, two of which were very convincing, and proved that they could also win without the advantage of home court.