1946/47: Playing at Chicago Stadium, the Chicago Stags were one of the 11 charter teams in the first season of the Basketball Association of America. The Stags coached by Harold Olsen, a longtime coach at Ohio State, who led the Buckeyes to the finals in the first-ever NCAA Tournament in suburban Chicago, defeated the New York Knickerbockers 63-47 in the first game on November 2nd. Led by players like Guard Max “Slats” Zaslofsky and Center Chick Halbert, the Stags were one of the strongest teams in the BAA’s first season as they won the Western Division with a record of 39-22. Zaslofsky, a first-team All-Star, led the team in scoring with 14.4 points per game, while Halbert scored 12.7 points per game and was a second-team All-Star. In a battle of division winners, the Stags faced the Washington Capitols in the semifinals. The BAA’s playoff format had the division winners play a best of seven semifinals while the second and third place teams played two best of three rounds. The Stags got off to a strong start in the series, winning the first two games on the road by scores of 81-65 and 69-53. Following a 67-55 win at Chicago Stadium in Game 3, the Capitols beat the Stags 76-69 in Washington to avert a sweep. The Stags would also suffer a 67-55 home loss in Game 5, before finally winning the series in six games, with a 66-61 win in the finale.
1947 BAA Finals: Facing the Philadelphia Warriors, the Chicago Stags hosted the first game in the BAA Finals, with 7,900 fans at Chicago Stadium. The Stags had trouble all game finding the basket as the made just 26 of 129 shots, losing the opener 84-71. Game 2 would not be much better as the Stags suffered an 85-74 loss. The Stags struggles continued in Philadelphia as they lost 75-72 in Game 3. The Stags would salvage Game 4, with a 74-73 win, but ultimately lost the series in five games, falling 83-90 in the finale.
1947/48: In their second season, the Stags continued to be one of the strongest teams in the BAA as they posted a record of 28-20, in the tightly packed Western Division, with all four teams finishing 28-20 or better. Max Zaslofsky again led the way and won the BAA’s scoring title, posting 21 points per game. Finishing in a three-way tie for second place, the Stags beat the Washington Capitols 74-70 to get into the quarterfinals but lost a game to the Baltimore Bullets trying to second the second seed 76-72. The Stags would go onto beat the Boston Celtics winning two of three games with the entire series being played at the Boston Garden. In the semifinals, the Stags would once again be shot down by the Bullets losing two straight to the eventual BAA Champions.
1948/49: With the addition of a pair of the strongest teams from the National Basketball League, the BAA became more competitive. Max Zaslofsky remained one of the league’s premier guards again, being named to the first All-BAA team, leading the Stags with 20.6 ppg. Despite a late-season illness from Coach Harold Olsen, the Stags again made the playoffs, as they won 10 of 11 games with Philip Brownstein serving as interim coach. Olsen would return for the playoffs, but the Stags would be overmatched by the Minneapolis Lakers, two straight to the eventual BAA Champion Minneapolis Lakers.
1949/50: The BAA and NBL merged to become the National Basketball Association, as Philip Brownstein takes over as the Stags full-time coach as they posted a record of 40-28 and finished tied for third in the Western Division. Once again, Max Zaslofsky was the Stags leading scorer, averaging 16.4 ppg, and was first-team All-NBA star. However, for the second straight season, the Chicago Stags were overmatched in the playoffs by the Minneapolis Lakers. Despite being one of the NBA’s best teams in the league’s early years, the Chicago Stags were not successful financially and folded following their fourth season. Before the Stags folded, they were able to acquire the draft rights of Bob Cousey, as he landed on the Boston Celtics following the Stags dispersal draft.
©MXV Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the National Basketball Association. This site is not affiliated with the Chicago Stags or the NBA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on June 12, 2015. Last updated on June 12, 2015 at 11:40 pm ET.