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 18, 1973
MILWAUKEE BUCKS 107 – LA LAKERS 109
FILL-IN AT GUARD PRICE PICKS UP WHERE WEST LEFT OFF HITTING CLUTCH GAME-WINNER AT BUZZER
Laker great Jerry West, known throughout his career as Mr. Clutch, was sitting out Tuesday’s game against the NBA-best Milwaukee Bucks with a pulled abdominal muscle – but that didn’t mean that the Lakers were missing their clutch presence at the guard spot.
Fill-in Jim Price, who had been drafted by the Lakers the previous year, had begun filling in at point guard for the Lakers, who were not the same team two years before that won an NBA Finals and set the record for consecutive wins at 33 straight. That said, the Lakers had just enough talent on the roster to keep even with a loaded Bucks team that featured future Hall-of-Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.
The Lakers, led by fellow guard Gail Goodrich’s 40 points, would go back and forth with the Bucks, leading early in the fourth quarter by 10 points before a 12-point surge put the Bucks back in the lead. Missed baskets from both sides left the Lakers with the ball with only two seconds remaining and the game tied at 107-107 as Laker coach Bill Sharman called a timeout. The strategy was to inbound the ball to Goodrich for the game’s final shot.
As Sharman’s strategy broke down, the ball was inbounded to Price, who flung the ball at the basket as time expired. Price’s 25-footer, shot because the Lakers’ Gail Goodrich was blanketed by Bucks defenders, careened into the basket for the 109-107 victory (as the three-point line was not introduced until 1979). Price’s shot was the highlight of a night were Price was at the top of his game. Price’s 16 points and 11 assists filling in for West were punctuated by his defense of Bucks guard Oscar Robertson, forcing Robertson into committing nine turnovers and 9-for-22 shooting. Price’s shot would send the Lakers to 19-15 on the season in their victory over the Bucks, who the Lakers would meet later that year in the playoffs, losing the series in five games.
Quote of the Night: “When I got it, I had a clear view of the basket. I knew it was a low percentage shot but I felt it was going in when I released it. I’ve had that feeling before in college (Louisville) but I don’t practice those shots.” – Laker fill-in guard Jim Price, on his game-winning shot against the Milwaukee Bucks. – From the LA Times, Dec. 19, 1973