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Lakers Prevail over Warriors Despite Injury to Jerry West

Jan. 26, 1964 - The Lakers battled their way through the game tonight, but the price of victory came high. Jerry West (pictured with Elgin Baylor), whose magnificent shooting sent them off to a lead they held despite a one-man riot named Wilt Chamberlain, suffered a jammed thumb on his “gun” hand en route to a 108-96 victory over the San Francisco Warriors. A Los Angeles Sports Arena crowd of 10,380 screamed with approval as Fred Schaus’s club staved off Chamberlain’s desperate bid in the final quarter and, with the triumph, pulled 3½ games ahead of the Warriors.

West shot the Lakers into a 12-point lead when the hectic final quarter opened, but the jammed thumb, which will be X-rayed tomorrow for a possible break, rendered the ace sharpshooter virtually useless. So, with Wilt chalking up 16 of his 49 points during the final stanza, it was up to Elgin Baylor and Jim Krebs to come up with some key rebounds to turn the tide and even the season series at four apiece. This they did, despite the fact that the Warriors had the biggest, strongest front line in NBA history — Nate Thurmond (6-11), Wayne Hightower (6-9), and Wilt (7-1).

Schaus had nothing but praise for Chamberlain, who seems to play his greatest games against the Lakers. “Every time he wanted to score, we couldn’t stop him,” said Schaus. “I don’t know what else you can do.” Tempers flared a few times with Krebs receiving a technical and Warrior coach Alex Hannum getting one and announcing he was playing the game under protest. Hannum claimed that a foul on Chamberlain came when San Francisco had the ball. The referee said it was a free ball and let Leroy Ellis shoot a free throw.

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