Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.
DECEMBER 12, 1971
ATLANTA HAWKS 95 – LA LAKERS 104
LAKERS OVERCOME ROUGH START TO BEAT HAWKS, SET NBA MARK WITH 21 STRAIGHT
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Lakers had a target on their collective backs. Having barely escaped an overtime match with the Phoenix Suns that had earned them their 20th straight victory, the Lakers were beginning to play tight, especially with the opportunity to set an NBA record on their home floor for consecutive victories.
Despite being in last place in the Central Division, an aging Pete Maravich would lead the Atlanta Hawks to an impassioned performance, outrebounding Chamberlain and the Lakers 58-57 and staying close for most of the game. Leading 96-95 with 61 seconds left in regulation, the Lakers would begin to hit their stride: Gail Goodrich would connect with Wilt Chamberlain for a dunk, two stolen passes by Jerry West and a set of free throws would blow the game open for a 105-94 victory.
The Lakers would net their 21st straight victory, breaking the 20-game previous record set one year prior by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Purple and Gold would continue their streak for almost an entire month, when the former record-holder Milwaukee Bucks (and future Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) would defeat the Lakers on January 9th, 1972.
Quote of the Night: “West was sipping on a can of 7-Up as rows of champagne glasses sat untouched to his right. ‘I don’t need that stuff,’ he exclaimed.” – Dwight Chapin, LA Times reporter, on the Lakers locker room following their then-NBA record 21st straight win. – From the LA Times, Dec. 13, 1971