The road to the championship was led by pioneering owner, S. Kenneth Davidson, who aggressively pursued top NBA talent Rick Barry and head coach Alex Hannum, signing them for an unprecedented $85,000 per year. His efforts drove a historic turnaround, from last place to first in one year. Unfortunately for Barry, he tore ligaments in his knee after colliding with Kenny Wilburn late in a game versus the New York Nets on December 27, 1968. He tried to return in January, but he only aggravated the injury and he subsequently sat out the rest of the season, only appearing in 35 games as a result. Regardless, the Oaks won 60 games on the season. In the playoffs, they narrowly escaped the Denver Rockets in the Semifinals, but swept the New Orleans Buccaneers in the Division Finals to advance to the ABA Finals versus the Indiana Pacers. After splitting the first two games, the Oaks won an overtime thriller 134–126 to take a 2–1 lead in the series. They then won the fourth game to set up a clinching opportunity in Oakland. In Game 5, the Oaks won 135–131 in overtime to clinch the series and win the ABA title Warren Jabali was named Playoffs MVP, scoring 21.5 points per game with 9.7 rebounds per game during the playoffs. In the nine playoff games in Oakland, the Oaks averaged just 3,401 attendance a game, with 30,615 total attendance, with the highest being Game 5 of the Finals that had 6,340 attending.