In 1947, the Detroit Gems enthused to Minneapolis and became the Lakers. It was in Minneapolis that basketball fans would witness their first family. The Los Angeles Lakers had great supporting players such as Jim Pollard and Slater Martin, but much like they would in the future, the LA Lakers owned the league's opening big man. There was a time when basketball was supposed to be made for shorter individuals because most giants were poorly coordinated. However, all that changed when the Minneapolis Lakers selected DePaul's George Mikan. At 6'10", 240 pounds, Mikan was simply the tallest man in the NBA and right away dominated basketball. Mikan was unstoppable, and would lead the LA Lakers to 5 NBA Titles before retiring in 1954. He was named the greatest player of the first half-century. Nevertheless, after Mikan's departure, hard times fell on Minneapolis. They suffered not just on the court, but also in ticket sales. With Mikan departed, the fans had less attention to go to LA Lakers games. But before the ultimate move, the LA Lakers gave the Minneapolis fans one last thing to smile about. With the first round pick in the 1958 NBA draft, the LA Lakers selected the man who would change basketball forever: Elgin Baylor.
The next year, the LA Lakers lastly made the move to Los Angeles. They chose to keep their nickname despite the fact that there are no lakes in Los Angeles. Following their brilliant draft option of Elgin Baylor, the LA Lakers would pick up Jerry West, forming quite possibly the best duo in sports throughout the 1960s. West and Baylor were unstoppable. While Jerry West was simply the most accurate shooter in the game, Baylor revolutionized the game. Baylor was the first player to use reverse lay-ups and all sorts of other moves that add pizzazz to a player's game. He was also one of the initial black superstars of the NBA. However, as great as the LA Lakers became, they could never win the NBA title. They made it to the Finals 8 times from 1960-1969, losing every time. Six of those losses came to Bill Russel, Bob Cousy and the Boston Celtics. The LA Lakers could outshoot the Celtics, and they could run faster than the Celtics.
What they didn't have was the size benefit the Celtics possessed in legend Bill Russell. Therefore, in 1969, the LA Lakers signed arguably the greatest player in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain. In spite of Chamberlain, the Lakers would fail three years straight. In 1969, they lost once more to the Celtics, in what historians have agreed the LA Lakers should have won, but let it slip away. In 1970, the LA Lakers lost in the Finals to Willis Reed and the New York Knicks. In 1971, the LA Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semi-Finals to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the Milwaukee Bucks. Lastly in 1972, changes occurred. First, Elgin Baylor retired. He played 8 games that year, but nagging injuries forced him to retire. The Lakers had re-acquired sharpshooter Gail Goodrich just one year prior, and now the LA Lakers were ready for the 1972 season. That year, they set an NBA record by winning an impious 33 straight games. They won 69 in total, and found themselves back in the NBA Finals up 3 games to 1 on the Willis Reed-less New York Knicks. This time, history would not evade the Lakers. West and Chamberlain finally brought the Lakers to the NBA title. The Forum in Los Angeles exploded in celebration as the LA Lakers lastly brought a greatly overdue title home. Many are forced to wonder what if. The LA Lakers could have had a family. Instead, it would be the Celtics winning 10 out of 11 titles, 6 of which came at the Lakers expense. This one title is one that no one will ever forget.
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Blazers, Timberwolves play three times in 12 days starting Saturday (The Associated Press) The Portland Trail Blazers and Minnesota Timberwolves will get to know each other well in the next two weeks. The teams square off Saturday night at Moda Center, then meet again on April 3 in Minneapolis and on April 6 in Portland. "It's going to be challenging," Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters.
Lakers beat Wolves 130-119 in OT to snap 6-game skid (The Associated Press) The big man caused a scene when he ambled into Staples Center in the second quarter Friday night, fist-bumping fans before taking a courtside seat near his old team's bench. ''The whole arena turned into 'Oh my gosh, Shaq is here,''' said Larry Nance Jr., who shook his hand at halftime. The mere presence of the Hall of Fame center who led the Lakers to three straight NBA titles from 2000-02 electrified the crowd and buoyed the last-place Lakers, who rallied from 15 points down in the third to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-119 in overtime.
NBA standings (Reuters) March 25 (Gracenote) - Standings from the NBA on Friday EASTERN CONFERENCEATLANTIC DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. Boston 47 26 .644 - 2. Toronto 43 29 .597 3 1/2 3. Philadelphia 27 45 .375 19 1/2 4. NY Knicks 27 45 .375 19 1/2 5. Brooklyn 15 57 .208 31 1/2 CENTRAL DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. Cleveland 47 24 .662 - 2. Milwaukee 37 35 .514 10 1/2 3. Indiana 36 36 .500 11 1/2 4. Chicago 34 39 .466 14 5. Detroit 34 39 .466 14 SOUTHEAST DIVISION W L PCT GB 1. Washington 44 28 .611 - 2. Atlanta 37 35 .514 7 3. Miami 35 37 .486 9 4. Charlotte 32 40 .444 12 5. Orlando 27 46 . ...
NBA results (Reuters) March 25 (Gracenote) - Results from the NBA games on Friday (home team in CAPS) LA LAKERS 130 Minnesota 119 (OT) GOLDEN STATE 114 Sacramento 100 Philadelphia 117 CHICAGO 107 MILWAUKEE 100 Atlanta 97 HOUSTON 117 New Orleans 107 BOSTON 130 Phoenix 120 WASHINGTON 129 Brooklyn 108 Cleveland 112 CHARLOTTE 105 ORLANDO 115 Detroit 87 Denver 125 INDIANA 117