This Day in Laker History: January 3rd

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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.

JANUARY 3, 1962
PHILADELPHIA WARRIORS 123 – LA LAKERS 124

WEST, LAKERS OVERCOME BAYLOR’S ABSENCE, DEFEAT WARRIORS AFTER CHAMBERLAIN’S EJECTION

What was supposed to be a star-studded affair at the Los Angeles Sports Arena between the Philadelphia Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers had turned into a game of who could keep their stars in. With the Lakers’ Elgin Baylor out with a knee injury and the Warriors’ Tom Gola out with a wrist injury, that left each team with one superstar: the Lakers with second-year player Jerry West, and the Philadelphia Warriors with the unstoppable Wilt Chamberlain.

Chamberlain, who would finish the 1961-62 season with the video game stat line of 50 points/25 rebounds for the season, could only be shut down by two people during the season: the Celtics Bill Russell and himself, as Chamberlain learned that Wednesday night.

Chamberlain, with 36 points up until the fourth quarter, would begin jawing with referee Norm Drucker. Despite the warning of a technical foul for arguing, Chamberlain would persist and earn his second technical on the night and an early trip to the showers. Chamberlain continued to berate Drucker as he walked out of the Sports Arena, as Drucker held his hands up in a “T” towards the direction of Chamberlain.

With Baylor, Gola and now Chamberlain out of the game, Jerry West was the sole impact player left in the game for either team. West and Baylor’s backup Rudy LaRusso would combine for 77 points in the game, with LaRusso hitting his career high as a pro of 33 points in the 124-123 victory over the visiting Warriors. The victory would push the Lakers to 32-11 on the season, with a 9 1/2 game lead in the division.

Quote of the Night: “I didn’t call him anything. I just told him the truth.” – Philadelphia Warrior and future Laker Wilt Chamberlain, on his comments that led to his ejection in a 124-123 loss to the Lakers. – From the LA Times, Jan. 4, 1962

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.