Washington Capitols

First Game Played November 2, 1946 Final Game Played January 9, 1951
Logo 1946-1951

1946/47: Coached by Red Auerbach the Washington Capitols were one of the strongest teams in the inaugural season of the Basketball Association of America. After splitting their first six games on the road, the Capitols defeated the St. Louis Bombers 54-51 in their first home game on November 20th. The win was their second straight in what would develop into a 17 game winning streak. The winning streak would stand as the record for the longest winning in NBA history for 23 years. It would not be the only extended winning streak for the Capitols, as they posted a 15 game winning streak in the final weeks of the regular season, posting a record of 49-11 that by far had them as the best team in the regular season. The Capitols would have two players named to the BAA first team All-Star rosterBones McKinney and Bob Feerick, with Fred Scolari being a second team All-Star. Feerick was the team’s leading scorer averaging 16.8 points per game, with Scolarie and McKinney also scoring more than 12 points per game. The first season of the BAA saw the two division winners face each other in a best of seven semifinals with the other four teams playing in a pair of best of three series to reach the BAA Finals. After dominating the league in the regular season the Capitols came out flat in the playoffs, losing their first three games to the Chicago Stags. The Capitols would try clawing their way back with win in Games 4 and 5, but it was too late as the Stags recorded a 66-61 win in Game 6 to reach the BAA Finals.

1947/48: Despite strong seasons from Bob Feerick and Fred Scolari the Washington Capitols were unable to match the success of their inaugural season. With the league reduced from 11 teams to eight the Capitols shifted to the Western Division and were in a tight playoff race all season. When the season was over one game separated first place from last place, with Capitols in a three way tie at 28-20. To make the playoffs, the Capitols needed to win a round robin tie break with the Chicago Stags and Baltimore Bullets, unfortunately the Capitols would lose the opener to the Stags 74-70 and were eliminated.

1948/49: The BAA gets a boost, as four teams join from the Industrial National Basketball League. Returning to the Eastern Division, the Capitols would get off to a running start, winning their first 15 games, to establish the best start in the history of the league that would become the NBA. The 15-0 start has only been matched once, by the Houston Rockets in 1993, and remains the record. Powered by the great start the Capitols would win the division championship with a record of 38-22. In the playoffs the Capitols would make quick work of the Philadelphia Warriors, winning two straight to reach the Divisional Finals. Facing the New York Knickerbockers, the Capitols again were poised for a two game sweep but suffered a hard fought 86=84 loss in overtime at Madison Square Garden. The Capitols would rebound to win the series in three game to advance to the BAA Finals, taking the finale 84-76. Against the Minneapolis Lakers, the Washington Capitols had their work cut out for them as George Mikan was the most dominant player on the floor leading the Lakers to three straight wins. The Capitols would not gout quietly winning Games 4 and 5, but ultimately the Lakers would win the series in six games winning the finale easily 77-56.

1949/50: Following their defeat in the BAA Finals, Red Auebrach wanted to rebuild, knowing that the league was about to change with the merger with the NBL. However, millionaire Mike Uline declined Auerbach’s request, leading the coach to resign. The merger would see the BAA become the NBA, with Bob Feerick taking on the role as player-coach. Red Auerbach would go on to become the greatest coach in the history of the NBA, leading the Celtics to nine titles in ten years. The Capitols meanwhile struggled under Ferick’s leadership and finished with a record of 32-36. Despite finishing below .500 the Capitols managed to reach the postseason by finishing third in the Eastern Division. However, their playoff stay would be short lived as they dropped two straight games to the New York Knickerbockers.

1950/51: After a disappointing season with Bob Feerick as their coach, the Capitols would name Bones McKinney to assume the dual role as player-coach, while Feerick retired and became the coach of his Alma Matter Santa Clara. The Capitols would make history on October 31s, as Earl Lloyd who was chosen with the ninth overall pick in the draft, became the first African American to play in the NBA, one day before Chuck Cooper of the Boston Celtics and four days for Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton with the New York Knickerbockers. Lloyd would score six points as the Capitols lost their season opener on the road to the Rochester Royals 78-70. To say the season would not go well for the Capitols would be an understatement, as they held a record of 10-25 following a 102-74 loss to the Philadelphia Warriors on January 9th. It would be the final game the Washington Capitols would play as the folded with 31 games left to play. The Capitols would attempt to return in the ABL a year later, while the NBA would not return to Nation’s Capital for two decades, when the Baltimore Bullets opened a new arena in Landover and became the Washington Bullets in 1973.

©MMXV 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 Washington Capitols 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 20, 2015. Last updated on June 20, 2015 at 11:40 pm ET.

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