1960-61 Season

Record: 36-43, second place in Western Division

Two huge events happened before the 1960-61 season, both having a lasting impact on the team. After suffering from declining attendance for several years in Minneapolis, the Lakers moved to Los Angeles before the 1960-61 season. Team owner Bob Short saw the success of the Dodgers, who moved from Brooklyn to L.A. in 1958, and decided to emulate that success.

The other improtant event was drafting perhaps the most important Laker in history. With the No. 2 pick in the draft, the Lakers chose West Virginia guard Jerry West. West's former coach at West Virginia, Fred Schaus, was also hired to coach the Lakers.

Elgin Baylor averaged 34.8 points and 19.8 rebounds in 1960-61. West had some early struggles adjusting to the NBA, but ended the season strong, averaging 17.6 points.

Playoffs: The Lakers faced the Detroit Pistons in the first round and eked out a 3-2 victory in the high-scoring, best-of-five series. That meant a Lakers-St. Louis Hawks matchup in the Western Division Finals for the third year in a row. St. Louis had finished the regular season 15 games ahead of the Lakers and was heavily favored, but the Lakers took them to the limit before losing Game 7, 105-103.

Playoff Results

Western Division Semifinals

  • at Lakers 120, Detroit 102

  • at Lakers 120, Detroit 118

  • at Detroit 124, Lakers 113

  • at Detroit 123, Lakers 114

  • at Lakers 137, Detroit 120

Western Division Finals

  • Lakers 122, at St. Louis 118

  • at St. Louis 121, Lakers 106

  • at Lakers 118, St. Louis 112

  • St. Louis 118, at Lakers 117

  • Lakers 121, at St. Louis 112

  • St. Louis 114, at Lakers 113 (OT)

  • at St. Louis 105, Lakers 103