The trio of Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain was one that was nearly unstoppable once they all came together with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1969. Success for them was almost certain as very few could match that amount of talent.
In their first season together, all three averaged over 20 points per game, with both Baylor and Chamberlain averaging double-doubles while West led the team in points and assists. They would win 55 games on the year and continue their success in the playoffs.
After dispatching of the then-San Francisco Warriors in the first round, the Lakers turned their focus towards the Atlanta Hawks in the Western Finals. On April 20, 1969, Baylor made sure the Lakers closed the door on the Hawks and end any hopes they had of going to the NBA Finals.
Baylor posted a triple-double with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers defeated the Hawks 104-96 to finish off the series and make a return to the NBA Finals.
West added 21 points and the Lakers also got 16 points each from Chamberlain as well as Johnny Egan as the Lakers were set to make their second straight trip to the Finals.
Baylor is often one of the true forgotten stars of the early days of the NBA, but he could really do everything. He was one of, if not the first player to really have an above-the-rim game and could float in the air with the best of them.
The fact that the Lakers recently honored him with a statue outside of Staples Center is further proof as to how important he was.
Los Angeles may have come up just short in the NBA Finals, but that doesn’t take away from how great this team was and the talent that was on display on this in Lakers history.
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