This Day In Lakers History: Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain Engage In Second...

This Day In Lakers History: Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain Engage In Second Epic Clash In 3 Weeks

Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports

Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain are two of the greatest players in NBA history and two of the most unstoppable players during their era. Both have their numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers for a reason, and each were known to put up some absolutely ridiculous numbers.

The 1961-62 season was a special one for both Baylor and Chamberlain. Wilt, then with the Philadelphia Warriors, averaged 50.4 points and 25.7 rebounds. Meanwhile, Baylor averaged 38.3 points, 18.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists in just 48 games as he was on active duty for the US Army Reserves.

That didn’t stop the two would engage in some absolutely epic battles on the year. Just three weeks earlier, the two each hit the 60-point mark in a Lakers’ triple OT win.

On Dec. 29, 1961, they didn’t quite reach that level, but it was still memorable nonetheless. Baylor finished with 52 points and 16 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough as Chamberlain’s 60 points and 26 rebounds led the Warriors to a bit of revenge in a 123-118 victory over the Lakers.

This was Baylor at the peak of his powers. It was his fifth 50-point performance in an 18-game stretch and he reached at least 40 points in more than half of his games in the month of December. He truly was someone that was ahead of his time.

Of course, Chamberlain was just at another level in the greatest statistical season from any player in the history of the NBA. The fact that he and Baylor could have two games in the span of three weeks where each had at least 50 points is truly amazing.

As we move farther and farther away from this era of NBA performers, the greatness of players like Baylor and Chamberlain can be marginalized or forgotten. Everyone remembers the 100-point game, but there were any number of ridiculous performances by Baylor and Chamberlain and this was just one more.