A GAME 1 Vs. BALTIMORE
Nov. 5, 1971: A day before, with Los Angeles at 6-3 in the young season, Laker legend Elgin Baylor, beset by bad knees, announces his retirement. Forward Jim McMillian steps into the starting lineup against Baltimore and provides a 22-point, 13-rebound performance. L.A. gets another boost from the bench when guard Flynn Robinson (at left, versus the Bullets' Wes Unseld) gets 10 points, six assists.
GAME 2 AT GOLDEN STATE
Nov. 6: The "new-look Lakers," picking up the running game urged on them by coach Bill Sharman, waltz past the Warriors. Guard Jerry West scores 30.
GAME 3 Vs. NEW YORK
Nov. 7: Center Wilt Chamberlain dominates with 22 rebounds, six blocked shots. "Things are going well now," notes the Dipper, age 35, after he subdues the Knicks' Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Wall Frazier (below). "You know, a guy who lakes care of himself might play this game until he's 40."
GAME 4 AT CHICAGO
Nov. 9: The Bulls are buried by McMillian (28 points) and guard (.ail Goodrich (24 points). In the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, writer Mitch Chortkoff notes, "You sense that a trend is developing."
GAME 5 AT PHILADELPHIA
Nov. 10: The Lakers humiliate the 76ers, prompting Sharman to offer to call off practice the next day. The Lakers decline. Chamberlain questions some of Sharman's coaching techniques, but adds, "You can't argue with success, and we're 11-3."
A GAME 6 Vs. SEATTLE
Nov. 12: With the Sonics ahead 65-50, West triggers a rally. Chamberlain (above, 13) grabs 22 rebounds; McMillian (5) scores 27 points. With a brief moment in the limelight, seldom-used sub Pat Riley (far right) scores zero points in his six minutes.
GAME 7 AT PORTLAND
Nov. 13: Former Trail Blazer Leroy Ellis, sold to the Lakers in the off-season for $75,000 and a draft pick, returns to a two-minute standing ovation and then embarrasses the Blazer brass by scoring 27 points.
GAME 8 Vs. BOSTON
Nov. 14: With old nemesis Bill Russell looking on, Chamberlain gets 31 rebounds and goes 31 minutes without taking a shot. Says Wilt, "By 1980 I'll be a forgotten religion. I'll just be remembered vaguely as the guy who was lousy at the free throw line."
GAME 9 Vs. CLEVELAND
Nov. 16: Cav rookie Austin Carr (left, 22), the NBA's No. 1 draft pick, makes a tepid pro debut, with five points. He isn't the only cold performer. Chilly temperatures inside the Fabulous Forum bring loud complaints from the Lakers, who nevertheless stay hot enough to keep I he streak burning.
GAME 10 Vs. HOUSTON
Nov. 19: The Lakers nearly blow an 18-point fourth-period lead. "We played badly and we still won," says Sharman. "And I'll take it."