GAME 21 Vs. ATLANTA
Dec. 12: The record breaker. West holds Pete Maravich (right) to 19, scores 26 himself. At 96-95, Wilt slams down a demoralizing dunk, and No. 21 is history. Afterward, Wilt's mood is light: "I read that McDonald's has sold eight billion hamburgers. That means every person in the country would have to eat 25. And I've never had one, so some guy would have to eat 50."
GAME 22 AT PORTLAND
Dec. 14: Laker letdown. Sharman promises to give his starters some rest, but 26 L.A. turnovers force him to keep the first team on the floor for most of the game.
GAME 23 A Vs. GOLDEN STATE
Dec. 17: Nate Thurmond (above) holds Wilt to seven points, but to no avail. The closest thing to a Laker crisis comes when McMillian leaves with a split shoe—whereupon Riley enters, hits his first shot and finishes with 15.
GAME 24 AT PHOENIX
Dec. 18: The Suns are hot (11 of their last 13) and a record crowd packs the Vets Memorial Coliseum. The L.A. streak is now a major phenomenon. The "experts" again predict the end, noting that the Suns arc big and physical. Not big enough. Lakers romp.
GAME 25 Vs. PHILADELPHIA
Dec. 19: Everybody joins in as nine Lakers score; supersub Ellis (above, versus Al Henry) gets 12 points, six rebounds. But Chamberlain reigns: 32 points, 34 rebounds. It is noted that Abdul-Jabbar will likely start the All-Star Game for the West, but Sixer forward Billy Cunningham says, "The way I see it, Wilt is the most valuable player in the league."
GAME 26 AT BUFFALO
Dec. 21: A new threshold beckons. With a win here, the Lakers will tie the record for the longest winning streak in professional sports, 26 in a row by the 1916 New York Giants baseball team. The game becomes the Wilt & West show, with 64 points between them.
GAME 27 AT BALTIMORE
Dec. 22: The Lakers bounce the Giants' record. But, says Chamberlain, "Look at it this way. We've won 27 in a row and we're one game ahead of the damn Milwaukee Bucks." Actually, the Bucks are 2� back in the West; already people are buzzing about the Lakers-Bucks clash in Milwaukee in two weeks.
GAME 28 Vs. HOUSTON
Dec. 26: The Forum's in a frenzy as Wilt scores on an alley-oop from West, then off a behind-the-back feed from Goodrich. "We're the best entertainment package in town," says West. The Rockets' Calvin Murphy has to play the fall guy (below) on a pick by John Trapp for Robinson (21).
GAME 29 Vs. BUFFALO
Dec. 28: How big is this streak? On the previous afternoon, 14,500 show up at the Forum on a rainy day for a Laker workout. Just before tonight's game, the sellout gathering gives Sharman a spontaneous standing ovation as he steps onto the floor. Crowd goes home happy as Hairston scores 19, gets 14 rebounds.
GAME 30 AT SEATTLE
Dec. 30: Seattle's got beat-the-streak fever, and the crowd goes crazy as the Sonics go up 83-82 in the fourth. The fun stops there; a few minutes later it's 106-89 Lakers. A few minutes later, it's 30 in a row. (Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles in Pauley Pavilion, Bill Walton and UCLA are beating Ohio State 79-53, the Bruins' 23rd consecutive win in a streak that will reach 88.)