On Jan. 7, 1972, the Lakers routed the Atlanta Hawks, 134-90, for their record-setting victory.
Jim McMillan and Gail Goodrich led the way in scoring with 26 and 23 points, respectively. The Lakers defense held Hall-of-Fame point guard ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich to only 17 points.
The 1972 team is considered to be one of the best of all time and was led by a trio of Hall-of-Famers in Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Goodrich. The roster included Elgin Baylor, but he announced his retirement nine games into the season.
Coincidentally, it was immediately after Baylor’s retirement that the Lakers went on their historic winning streak. They finished 69-13, setting a record at the time for most wins in a single season. That stood until Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls went 72-10 in 1996.
The Lakers rode their dominant regular season into the playoffs, which was capped off by defeating the New York Knicks in five games in the NBA Finals to bring the first championship to Los Angeles.
While the 33-game winning streak remains a seemingly insurmountable record, the Houston Rockets and Miami Heat have come closest to breaking it. In 2008, the Rockets won 22 straight games, and the Miami Heat rattled off a 27-game winning streak in 2013.