With the season winding down, I found myself pondering about the Lakers chances of a repeat. Critics and fans alike have noted the lack of blowouts, championship swagger, and professional execution. Even in our current winning “streak,” they’ve looked beatable against the likes of some of the worst teams in the league.
When people think of the most unstoppable Lakers machine ever, they often think of the 2000-2001 season, where the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers repeated. The unstoppable force went 12-0 in the first three rounds before closing out Iverson’s Sixers in five games.
How do these Lakers stack up against these Lakers?
- With 14 games left to go, those Lakers had just dropped 2 games and had a record of 45-23. The Lakers are 50-18 right now.
- The Lakers of 2000-2001 came in as a second seed that year, behind the Spurs. Unless the Lakers have a complete meltdown this season, they should finish on top of the West.
- The Repeat Lakers averaged 100.6 points a game while holding their opponents to 97.2 points a game during the regular season. These Lakers are putting up 103.0 points per game while keeping defenders to 97.0 points a game.
I’m not a huge believer in statistics. Those Lakers finished the season in style, finishing on an 8 game winning streak en route to the greatest playoff performance in NBA history. Maybe this current win streak is a sign of things to come — building momentum going into the playoffs is vital.
But it is equally important to keep things in perspective. This time in 2001, people had perhaps more doubts about those Lakers’ chances of a repeat than they do about these Lakers today. They were thought to be lazy, playing without urgency, and looked very beatable. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But they repeated. And threepeated.
But by virtually all metrics, these Lakers are outperforming those Lakers.
And those Lakers had Shaq.
Other random spotlights…
- Pau Gasol is the new Ron Artest. Sorta.
- Even though it’s a foregone conclusion that Lebron is the MVP this season, has any player really been as pivotal to their team’s success as Kobe? I mean, he has bailed them out so many times and hit so many game winners, it never ceases to amaze.
- Bad referring really ruins games. See, e.g., Orlando, where ghost fouls put Bynum and Howard on the bench for way too much of the game. We all want to watch these behemoths battle it out in the paint. Stop depriving us with BS calls.
- Speaking of Dwight Howard, I’ve never seen someone with such impressive athleticism, such size, such muscle, and such a lack of offensive moves. What’s Ewing teaching this guy? “Yeah Dwight, after the missed shot, jump in the air, grab the ball, and slam it in.” I wonder if Ewing will teach Howard how to win championships, too. Oh wait…
- Yeah, still nothing quite like watching the Lakers beat Phoenix. I’m still bitter about that series. And you know which one I’m talking about.
- Charlotte has to be the biggest enigma in the NBA. They’ve beaten virtually every potential contender in the NBA (Lakers, Orlando, Cleveland, Denver, San Antonio, Atlanta). And somehow they’re barely above .500 and have lost to New Jersey.