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Royals Top Lakers in L.A.

Feb. 23, 1964 - A stranger in the L.A. Sports Arena last night would have thought the Beatles went the wrong way and landed in Los Angeles instead of London. Actually, it was 14,924 screaming, diehard Laker fans futilely imploring their heroes to fight their way out of an alarming slump. Fight the Lakers did, but in the long run their determination failed to pay off, and powerful Cincinnati scored a 107-105 victory in one of the most exciting games of the season. (Pictured below, Leroy Ellis shoots over Wayne Embry of Cincinnati.)

The Royals were deadly from the foul line, and at the finish it accounted for the four winning points in the closing minute after a tremendous Laker surge had wiped out a big Cincy lead and given the home forces a five-point margin in the fourth quarter.

For Cincinnati, it meant coach Jack McMahon’s club is just one game back of Boston in the hot Eastern division struggle, while the Lakers, who must battle San Francisco this afternoon in a game that will be seen in Los Angeles on KHJ-TV at 2:30 p.m., are five games back of the Warriors. The outcome last night ruined a tremendous performance by Jerry West, who celebrated the removal of a splint on his broken right thumb by pouring in 43 points.

The Royals, whose Oscar Robertson was a Big “O” for outstanding once more, have won 14 of their last 15, and though the Lakers have dropped 14 of their last 17, coach Fred Schaus did not seem to be discouraged. “They call baseball a game of inches,” said Schaus. “Well, we’ve lost five of our last seven, and it was a matter of inches every defeat.”

The Royals’ coach had a little different idea of the Laker problem. “They went on a losing streak when West was hurt, and now they’ve forgotten how to win. When you’re winning, the players say, ‘Who’s going to win it for us tonight?’ But when you’re losing as they are, it’s ‘How are we going to blow this one?’”


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