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Los Angeles Lakers

This Date in NBA History: Lakers win then-NBA record 69 games in 1972, Rick Barry erupts for 64 and more

1972 Lakers and Rick Barry
(NBA Getty Images)

On March 26th in 1972, the Los Angeles Lakers, in their regular-season finale, beat the Seattle Supersonics 124-98 to finish the season at 69-13 (.841), at the time an NBA-best. They beat out the 68-13 regular-season record set a couple of years prior by the Philadelphia 76ers.

This campaign is among the franchise's best-ever.

Courtesy of their record-setting season, their head coach Bill Sharman was named Coach of the Year. Their 69 wins included 33 straight - still an NBA record, Jerry West was named All-Star Game MVP and Wilt Chamberlain was named Finals MVP as they defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the 1972 NBA Finals.

This was their sixth title in franchise history and first since moving to Los Angeles. More notably, this was their first championship after losing in the Finals in seven of the previous 11 seasons - all to the Boston Celtics.

Their roster also included the likes of Pat Riley, who would go on to become a Hall of Fame coach and well-respected league executive, and Elgin Baylor, a Hall of Famer who retired after playing just nine games this season.

Their 69-win record was broken 24 years later when the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls finished with a 72-10 record. That mark was broken again, 20 years later by the Golden State Warriors, who finished the 2015-16 season with a 73-9 record.

In 1996, as part of the 50th anniversary of the league, the 1971-72 Lakers were named among the 'Top 10 Teams in NBA History'.

Other notable events on March 26th

  • In 1974, Rick Barry of the Golden State Warriors scored 64 points in a 143-120 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. At that time, it was the highest score in NBA history by anybody not named Wilt Chamberlain or Elgin Baylor.
  • In 1993, a group of 22 investors purchased the San Antonio Spurs from Red McCombs for $75 million.
  • In 1996, A.C. Green played his 800th consecutive game - the third-longest streak in NBA history.

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