One of the most celebrated players in the history of the NBA, there is a reason why Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jerry West is the logo of the league. Throughout his 14-year career, West was always one of the NBA’s best players and he showed as much on Jan. 29, 1953.
The Lakers were facing the Cincinnati Royals, one of the top teams in the NBA who were led by one of the greatest point guards ever in Oscar Robertson. The game would turn into a duel for the ages, but one in which West came out on top.
Robertson posted a triple-double, finishing with 36 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists. But it wasn’t enough as West dropped 53 points in leading the Lakers to a 137-133 double-overtime victory over the Royals.
West was helped out by Elgin Baylor who added 36 points and 18 rebounds. Rudy LaRusso (17 points, 14 rebounds) and LeRoy Ellis (11 points, 10 rebounds) also added double-doubles for the Lakers as they improved to 29-21 on the season.
During this time, West and Baylor were the catalysts for everything the Lakers did, putting up unreal performances that would seem nearly impossible today. West is one of the greatest scorers the NBA has ever seen and he didn’t even have the 3-point line to aid him in his scoring exploits.
Had he been able to make three-pointers, West’s numbers would have been even more ridiculous. It is unfortunate for West, Baylor and the rest of the Lakers during this era that they could never get over the hump that was the Boston Celtics and win a championship.
Nonetheless it was performances like this that put West among the greatest players in NBA history.
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