Record: 69-13, first place in Pacific Division
There were two big changes for the Lakers, as Bill Sharman took over as coach, and Elgin Baylor retired early in the season because of continuing problems with his knees. The season was going on like any other when the Lakers defeated Baltimore, 110-106, on Nov. 5, 1971. That would be the first of an NBA-record 33 consecutive wins, shattering the old mark of 20 consecutive victories set by Milwaukee the previous season. Milwaukee ended the Lakers' streak with a 120-104 win on Jan. 9, 1972. The 33-game winning streak is an American pro sports record. The Lakers finished the season 69-13, setting an NBA record for wins in a season that would last until 1995-96, when Chicago won 72 games.
Playoffs: The Lakers stormed through the playoffs, defeating the New York Knicks, 4-1, in the NBA Finals and winning the team's first championship since moving to L.A.