Tony Triolo | Sports Illustrated

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 27, 1978
LA LAKERS 106 – GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 103
KAREEM’S BLOCK, HOOK IN CRUNCH TIME SEAL IT FOR LAKERS

With the Lakers trailing by 17 points in the second quarter on the road against the Golden State Warriors, things were looking pretty bleak for a Lakers team that had lost four consecutive road games. Fortunately for them, the man Lakers announcer Chick Hearn respectfully nicknamed “The Captain” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not one to watch the Lakers drop five straight away from The Forum.

Abdul-Jabbar’s 27 points would be a game-high for both teams, but Abdul-Jabbar’s most important contribution to the game would be defense as his two biggest plays would take place with less than two minutes to play. Trailing the Warriors-10 with 1:40 remaining, Abdul-Jabbar would steal an pass away from John Lucas, allowing Laker guard Lou Hudson to drive to the hoop. Getting fouled on the play, Hudson would sink two free throws to tie the game at 104-104.

With the Warriors looking to score, Abdul-Jabbar would block their shot attempt, calling a timeout for the Lakers with 29 seconds remaining. Coach Jerry West would draw up a play for Abdul-Jabbar, feeding him inside. As the Lakers inbounded the ball, Abdul-Jabbar would get the ball and drain a hook shot to take the lead. As the Warriors final shot fell harmless away from the basket, the Lakers would escape the Oakland Collesium with a 106-104 victory, ending their road woes and moving them to 22-14.

Fact of the Night: Abdul-Jabbar’s patented goggles came as a result of having his eyes scratched early in his career during games. Originally used to protect his eyes, Abdul-Jabbar develped corneal erosion syndrome, which caused his eyes to cease producing moisture and forcing Abdul-Jabbar to wear the goggles to keep the moisture in. Abdul-Jabbar would miss one game during the 1986-87 due to eye swelling as a result of the dryness.