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 21, 1980
SAN ANTONIO SPURS 122 – LA LAKERS 135
ABDUL-JABBAR BECOMES FIFTH PLAYER IN NBA HISTORY TO BREAK 25K MARK
With Magic Johnson’s knee injury sidelining him for the previous 16 games, center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was tasked with taking the bulk of the scoring load. While Abdul-Jabbar had been shooting 62% and averaging 30 points per game over his last ten games in that stretch, the Lakers were only 5-5 in those games and had lost their last two straight games. Next on the schedule? The San Antonio Spurs, who had been riding a three-game winning streak and had won six of their previous seven games.
Abdul-Jabbar knew that his 33-year-old body would have to be responsible for a major portion of his team’s offense given a roster that gave Jim Chones and reserve Butch Carter sizable playing time. What Abdul-Jabbar didn’t know was that he sat only 38 points away from an NBA milestone only four other players up to that point had crossed: the 25,000 mark. In three quarters against the Spurs that Sunday night, Abdul-Jabbar scored 36 points, two shy of the mark as coach Paul Westhead sat Abdul-Jabbar to start the fourth quarter.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the game, Westhead sent Abdul-Jabbar back in, and with 6:16 on the clock, Abdul-Jabbar shot a 15-foot fall-away jump shot over Spurs center Dave Corzine to put himself at 38 points on the night and 25,000 on an 11-year career. Abdul-Jabbar would go on to score two more times in the fourth quarter, putting himself at a season-high 42 points and powering the Lakers to a 135-122 victory over the Spurs, an NBA-scoring high for the season.
Quote of the Night: “I wasn’t thinking about it (the record). I guess it kind of snuck up on me. The most important thing was the fact that we won tonight. I wasn’t thinking about setting any records. I’m just trying to play well.” – Laker center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following his 42-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs, surpassing 25K career points. - From the LA Times, Dec. 22, 2003