This Day in Laker History: December 22nd

Courtesy of US Presswire

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 22, 1967
DETROIT PISTONS 105 – LA LAKERS 133
BAYLOR AND WEST SEND LA SPORTS ARENA OUT IN STYLE WITH BLOWOUT OF PISTONS

For 7 ½ years, the Lakers had played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, moving from frigid Minnesota to the West Coast. With their move came new franchise superstars Jerry West and Elgin Baylor as well as the NBA’s classic east versus west rivalry with the Boston Celtics. However, after seven years of increasing popularity, the Sports Arena could no longer accommodate the fanfare basketball created, and the need to build a new arena meant the retirement of an iconic venue.

In front of a crowd of nearly seven thousand fans, the Lakers sent off the Sports Arena in a final match against the Detroit Pistons. After losing the previous four games, the Lakers had already beaten Detroit after the first quarter, outscoring the visiting Pistons 39-21. Baylor would lead the Lakers in scoring with 25, followed closely by Archie Clark and Jerry West who would each contribute 23 and 21 points, respectively.

Besides being second on the team in scoring, Clark would also make a huge impact  on defense, holding the NBA’s leading scorer and Pistons star David Bing scoreless during the first half. A strong defensive third quarter powered by West and Clark would help push the Lakers to a 133-105 victory over the Detroit Pistons, and with it, retire the Los Angeles Sports Arena into Laker lore.

Quote of the Night: “I’ve had some enjoyable moments in this place. I’ve enjoyed playing here so much. In fact, I’ll probably wind up here the night we play the first game in the Forum.” – Laker forward Elgin Baylor, on his playing time in the Los Angeles Sports Arena. – From the LA Times, Dec. 23, 1967


James Cypert is a news and feature writer for LakerNation.com. When he's not perfecting his ill-advised Kareem-style sky-hook, you can find him on Laker Nation or follow him on Twitter.