The Los Angeles Lakers steadily turned into a feared opponent throughout the NBA during the 1971-72 season, putting together one of the most dominant stretches in league history. Led by Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, and Elgin Baylor, the Lakers amassed an NBA record 33-game winning streak.
But on Jan. 9, 1972, the historic stretch came to an end in a clash against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks. With their last loss coming Oct. 31, 1971, the Lakers had gotten certainly grown accustomed to defeating their opponents.
On this day in Lakers history, the team traveled to state of Wisconsin to face a competitive Bucks team, with captains Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson forming a one-two punch. The game got off to a competitive start, with the Lakers holding a slim 28-25 edge after the first quarter.
However, Milwaukee fought back hard and took a 51-45 lead going into halftime. West and Chamberlain had not faced many deficits during this record streak, with every team wanting to be the ones to end the moment in history.
A high-scoring third quarter took place, with the Bucks extending their lead to seven points heading into the final quarter. With their backs against the ropes, the Lakers had 12 minutes to mount a comeback and keep their streak alive.
Unfortunately for them, the Bucks came ready to play and were determined not to be the next victim of the Lakers. Jabbar, Robertson, and Lucius Allen stamped their victory by impressively combining to scoring 36 points in the fourth quarter, giving the Bucks a 120-104 win over the Lakers.
Abdul-Jabbar finished the contest with 39 points, knocking down a total of 18 field goals against the mighty defense of Chamberlain. Allen (18 points) and Robertson (17) were also instrumental in halting the longest winning streak in NBA history at 33 games.
West had a team-high 20 points, making down 10 of 11 free throws. While Abdul-Jabbar went off, Chamberlain managed just 15 points, a low amount for such a prolific scorer. The 33-game winning streak still stands as the longest streak in NBA history, with recent streaks by the Golden State Warriors only coming within striking distance.
However, that Lakers team was headed towards their destiny, eventually capturing the 1971-72 championship. The unforeseen stretch of play remains one of the most impressive records in all of professional sports.
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