This is a picture of Jerry West beside the words: Jerry West's Finals Record

Jerry West’s Finals Record: Not So Great!

Jerry West’s finals record was only 1-8. In NBA Finals games, West’s Lakers teams went 22-33. He lost his first six NBA Finals to the Celtics and then two more to the NY Knicks. West got his only NBA Finals victory in 1972 when his Lakers team was nearly unstoppable winning 69 regular season games. 

What Years Did Jerry West Go To The Finals? 

60-61Lost West Finals3-4St. Louis Hawks
61-62Lost NBA Finals3-4Boston Celtics
62-63Lost NBA Finals2-4Boston Celtics
63-64Lost West Semis2-3St. Louis Hawks
64-65Lost NBA Finals1-4Boston Celtics
65-66Lost NBA Finals3-4Boston Celtics
66-67Lost West Semis0-3SF Warriors
67-68Lost NBA Finals2-4Boston Celtics
68-69Lost NBA Finals3-4Boston Celtics
69-70Lost NBA Finals3-4NY Knicks
70-71Lost West Finals1-4Milwaukee Bucks
71-72Won NBA Finals4-1NY Knicks
72-73Lost NBA Finals1-4NY Knicks
73-74Lost West Semis1-4Milwaukee Bucks

How Many Times Did Jerry West Go To the Finals? 

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Jerry West Poster

Jerry West went to the NBA Finals nine times as you can see above. His record was 1-8 in those finals series. In games, his Lakers teams were 22-33 in the NBA Finals. 

He lost his first seven trips to the NBA Finals before getting his first and only victory in 1972. West went on to lose the finals again the next season to the NY Knicks. 

  • In 1962 West’s Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics. It was the first of six losses to the Celtics in the NBA Finals West’s Lakers would suffer. West averaged more than 30 points per game in this Finals and his teammate Elgin Baylor scored more than 40 per game! 
  • In 1963 the Lakers lost to the Celtics again. These Celtics featured an aging Bob Cousy but prime K.C. and Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and, of course, the greatest winner in basketball history Bill Russell. 
  • In 1965, the Lakers lost again to the Boston Celtics. Jerry “Mr. Outside” West led the series in points. Bill Russell led in every other category, including, as was almost always the case with him, wins. 
  • In 1966, West’s Lakers were defeated by…. The Celtics. Cousy had retired several years earlier but Hondo Havlicek was a full-fledged star by this point. 
  • In 1968 West and the Lakers lost to the Celtics again. It had to be hell to be a Lakers fan at this point. Havlicek was in his prime and Russell was still Russell. 
  • In 1969 the Lakers lost to the Celtics for the last time in West’s career. It was not due to a lack of effort on West’s part: he won the inaugural NBA Finals MVP despite losing. West averaged 38 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists per game.  He also put up a herculean 42 point, 13 rebound, 12 assist triple double in a game 7 loss despite playing with a severely injured hamstring. 
  • In 1970 West and the Lakers lost to the New York Knicks. A sometimes-abrasive Wilt Chamberlain had joined the Lakers the prior season.  This Knicks teams featured Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Willis Reed. It was the year Reed dragged himself onto the court with an injured leg and inspired his team to victory. 
  • In 1972 Jerry West finally won the NBA title! This was West’s first title and Chamberlain’s second. Unfortunately, West’s long-time partner Elgin Baylor retired at the beginning of the season and missed out on the chance at winning a title.  The Lakers beat Walt Frazier and the Knicks to get Mr. Clutch his only title. 
  • In 1973 Jerry West and his Lakers lost his last NBA Finals to Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier and the rest of their New York Knicks teammates

How Many Championships Did Jerry West Have As A Player ? 

Jerry West only won one NBA title in 1972. 

The Lakers had traded for Wilt Chamberlain  prior to the 1968-1969 season. The hope was that with West and Elgin Baylor in place, Chamberlain would put them over the top. It did not work right away. 

In Wilt’s first season in LA, he feuded with the coach and stirred up locker room trouble. None of that was new to him. The team made the NBA Finals but lost to the Celtics.

The next season Wilt suffered a major injury but came back to help lead the team to the finals but they lost in seven games to the Knicks.

In Wilt’s third season out West, Elgin Baylor suffered what would become a career-ending achilles injury and the team did not make it out of the west, losing to a much younger Lew Alcindor-led Milwaukee Bucks.

Alcindor would become Kareem after winning the finals that season in 1971. 

The following year, the Lakers hired BIll Sharman to be their new coach. Sharman had a Hall of Fame playing career and was in the midst of a Hall of Fame coaching career as well. 

He had recently won the ABA title with the Utah Stars. Sharman implored Chamberlain to play more like the now-retired Russell: less scoring, more passing, more defense. It worked.

The 1971-1972 Lakers are in the conversation for greatest team in NBA history. They won 33 straight games and set a then-record with 69 regular season wins.

They cruised through the playoffs as well and defeated the New York Knicks to win the NBA title. 

Who Has the Most Finals Losses? 

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Jerry West Poster

Jerry West has the most NBA Finals series losses. His record in the NBA Finals was 1-8. No other player has lost as many finals.

West may or may not have the worst record in the NBA Finals depending on how you judge it. West’s long-time teammate Elgin Baylor lost most of those same finals with West. 

Baylor was injured and did not play in the 1965 loss the Lakers suffered to the Celtics. But Baylor did lose one Finals to the Celtics before West entered the league, so that evened out. 

West went on to win and lose one more NBA Finals each after Baylor retired. So Elgin Baylor’s lifetime finals record was 0-7 while West’s was 1-8. 

Jerry West lost one more finals, but he also got one victory, which Baylor never did. Which record is better is up for debate. But West lost more NBA Finals by one. 

Summary: Jerry West’s Finals Record

Jerry West is one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA. He did not meet with much success in the NBA Finals, however. West lost 8 of his 9 NBA Finals appearances, winning only in 1972. West’s Lakers lost six times to the Boston Celtics and twice to the New York Knicks. 

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