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NBA

This Date in NBA History (Oct. 21): Wilt Chamberlain records 53 and 35 vs. Knicks during dominant 1961-62 season and more

On October 21st in 1961, Wilt Chamberlain racked up 53 points and 35 rebounds in a 132-95 win over the New York Knicks. This was his third game, in as many nights to tip-off the season, after playing the Los Angeles Lakers in back-to-back games, on Oct. 19 and 20, where he put up 48 and 57 respectively.

During the 1961-62 season, Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points (1st), 25.7 rebounds (3rd), in 48.5 minutes (1st) of playing time for the Warriors in their final season in Philadelphia.

His minutes average goes up to 48.5 - more than the number of minutes in a regulation game - because he played all but eight minutes that season plus seven overtime games, one of which was a double-overtime and one was a triple-overtime game.

Playing a league-high 80 games, the entire 1961-62 campaign was part of Chamberlain's NBA record 126-game streak of scoring 20 or more points. In 45 of the 80 games, he scored 50 or more points including the NBA record 100-point game against the New York Knicks on March 2nd, 1962.

On the back of those astronomical numbers, Chamberlain led the Warriors to a 49-31 record - good for second in the Eastern Division and third overall. He finished second to Bill Russell in the MVP voting with a total of 152 points to Russell's 297.

That's not all. For Chamberlain and the Warriors, the season ended in heartbreaking fashion - a Sam Jones jumpshot that gave the reigning champions - the Boston Celtics - the lead with two seconds in Game 7 of the Eastern Division Finals.

It goes without saying that his numbers from the 1961-62 season would never be matched.

Other notable events on Oct. 21st

  • In 1976, Hall of Famers Adrian Dantley and Alex English make their NBA debuts against each other for the Buffalo Braves and Milwaukee Bucks respectively. Dantley finished with 15 points and 19 rebounds while English recorded four points, six rebounds, and two assists in a 133-112 win for the Braves.
  • In 1972, a day after scoring a fourth-quarter record of 58 points in a 126-118 loss to the Boston Celtics, the Buffalo Braves scored an NBA record-low four points in the third quarter of a 91-63 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

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