The NBA playoffs won’t begin for another week and the Los Angeles Lakers won’t be anywhere near it, but on April 9, 1970, dominant performances from Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor helped them get to the Western Conference Finals when they knocked off the Phoenix Suns in Game 7 of the semifinals.
Chamberlain led the way for the Lakers, as the dominant big man often did throughout his tenure, scoring 30 points and snatching 27 rebounds to go with his six assists in the contest. Chamberlain also shot 11-of-18 in the win, and managed to only pick up two personal fouls.
Baylor was huge as well, pouring in 25 points on 10-for-19 shooting while also grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing seven assists. West rounded out the dominant trio, reminding why he had the nickname “Mr. Clutch” with his 19 points and 15 assists to grease L.A.’s offense in the victory.
The series was close, but West’s, Baylor’s and Chamberlain’s dominance allowed Los Angeles to win going away, outscoring the Suns 129-94, a shocking point differential when considering the must-win circumstances.
Phoenix’s offense struggled in the defeat, as the Suns shot just 32.4 percent from the field and didn’t have a single player shoot over 50 percent.
Their defense wasn’t much better, as only West (47.4 percent) and John Tresvant (28.6 percent) shot below 50 percent from the field for the Lakers. Even on a day that saw 11 players see the floor for Los Angeles.
The win completed a series comeback for L.A., who went down 3-1 and promptly ripped off the next three wins by double-digit margins to book their trip to the Western Conference Finals.