1970-71 Season

Record: 48-34, first place in Pacific Division

The NBA expanded to two conference, four divisions and 17 teams before the season. Trivia question: Which were the first five teams to be in the Pacific Division? The Lakers, the San Francisco Warriors, the San Diego Rockets, the Seattle SuperSonics and the Portland Trail Blazers. Bad news for the Lakers this season: Elgin Baylor played in only two games because of ongoing knee problems. Jerry West led the team in scoring (26.9 ppg), though he missed 13 games, and Wilt Chamberlain averaged 20.7 points and led the team and the NBA in rebounding with 18.2 per game.

Playoffs: The Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Western Conference finals. The Bucks would go on to sweep Baltimore in the NBA Finals for their first and only NBA championship, led by former UCLA star Lew Alcindor, who would soon change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Playoff Results

Western Conference semifinals

  • at Lakers 100, Chicago 99

  • at Lakers 105, Chicago 95

  • at Chicago 106, Lakers 98

  • at Chicago 112, Lakers 102

  • at Lakers 115, Chicago 86

  • at Chicago 113, Lakers 99

  • at Lakers 109, Chicago 98

Western Conferece finals

  • at Milwaukee 106, Lakers 85

  • at Milwaukee 91, Lakers 73

  • at Lakers 118, Milwaukee 107

  • Milwaukee 117, at Lakers 94

  • at Milwaukee 116, Lakers 98