In lieu of the regular season, Laker Nation has decided 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. We understand that it’s not the basketball you may have been hoping for, but for the time being, it’s the closest we’ll get to reading about the Lakers on a basketball court.
NOVEMBER 12, 1967
CHICAGO BULLS 96 – LA LAKERS 97
LAKERS OVERCOME EIGHT POINT DEFICIT IN FINAL TWO MINUTES TO UPEND HAPLESS BULLS
At 6-5, the 1967-68 Lakers were still trying to transition without their team’s star point guard Jerry West. West would only play 51 games that season due to a leg injury, forcing coach Bill van Breda Kolff to put third-year guard Gail Goodrich into the starting lineup. Goodrich would go on to play 79 games that season, providing a level of play that would cause the expansion Phoenix Suns to draft Goodrich in the 1968 NBA expansion draft.
After trailing for most of the game, Goodrich and fellow Laker Mel Counts would combine for for 14 points in the final 110 seconds, sending the Bulls to the line five times. The Bulls would shoot 3-of-9 from the foul line, allowing the Lakers to call timeout with two seconds remaining down 96-95. The inbound pass would go out of bounds, but not before referee Earl Strom would whistle Bulls player Reggie Harding for an off-the-ball foul, allowing Mel Counts to go to the line for two free throws to ice the game. Counts would make both foul shots, and with time expiring on a desperation heave, the Lakers would eke out a 97-96 win, with Goodrich and Counts combining for 34 points in the contest.
The loss, followed by another 124-115 loss to the Lakers three nights later would push the Chicago Bulls to 1-13 and last place in the Western Division. Injuries would continue to plague the Lakers with inconsistency, as they would fall to .500 at 22-22 midway through the season.
Quote of the Night: “It was utterly ridiculous. I’ve seen some close ones in my time, but nothing like this. I gave up a half-dozen times, figuring it was just one of those nights.” -Former Lakers coach Bill van Breda Kolff on his team’s comeback performance – From the LA Times, Nov. 13, 1967.