For a playoff run falling short of a title, 1962 nonetheless managed to offer seriously rich additions to the Laker storybooks. Game 2 of the series featured an ending for the ages courtesy of Jerry West. Game 5 featured even more fireworks, but this time it was Elgin Baylor making history. With everything knotted at 2-2, the rubber match tipped off in Boston, a daunting venue for the Lakers to break serve. Then again, Baylor spent the regular season shuttling back and forth between Army reserve duty in Ft. Lewis, Washington and L.A. for an abbreviated regular season, so perhaps a trip to Boston was no big deal.
It certainly appeared that way, as this pivotal game was dominated by Baylor.
He was outstanding throughout the playoffs, averaging 38.6 ppg and 17.7 rpg over 13 total games. But in Game 5 he was truly special. The 22 rebounds alone would have been enough to open eyes. But the player Chick Hearn claimed may have been the best he'd ever seen upstaged his own work on the glass, and by a country mile, scoring 61 points in the Lakers victory.
61 points. 22 boards.
Head-spinning tallies. The 61 remains the purple and gold standard for single-game postseason scoring achievements.
And he could have gone for more. Baylor fouled out of the eventual 126-121 Lakers win. Otherwise, he might have really done some damage.
ESPNLA.com and Land O' Lakers are counting down the ten greatest playoff moments in Laker history. Upon completion, fans will be asked to vote on the single greatest moment of all. Previous moments include: