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?

Consider…

- 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…

  1. Pau Gasol is the new Ron Artest. Sorta.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  • Eidraq

    charlotte needs to lose a couple so they match up with the cavs first round…i smell an upset

  • BE_A_LakerFan

    Good article. We got this!

    Lakers 2010 Champs!

  • http://www.mixmakers.net/forums/ Imadogg

    The one thing I don’t like is that coasting through the season is a feature of a Shaq-led team, not a Kobe one. Wouldn’t expect it like this from him. But I hope these boys turn it on and this is a good comparison, you don’t always need to be the top team to be able to win it all, just play when it counts most.

  • http://to-the-rim.blogspot.com/ josh stern

    the lakers are a june built team. we are just anxious for the playoffs

    repeat 2010

  • 007

    let’s not forget that THESE guys have played TWO full postseasons while THOSE guys only played the previous full postseason!! plus some of the guys playing for the national team in b/w that (Kobe/Pau — our #1 & #2!!). i say let these guys coast (as long as we get the #1 seed in the west — or in the NBA would be great) since we’re expecting them to AT LEAST 3peat! lets give em a break and STOP COMPLAINING!

  • Abs

    A little harsh on Patrick Ewing! Everyone tried but nobody ever managed to get Shaq to shoot a free throw!

    Howard just doesn’t have a great touch. Drew is a much more skilled player. Just wish he had the same tenacity and aggressiveness.

    • 242LakerFan

      The criticism was nothing to do with his ft shooting. It was about his lack of offensive moves. Patrick Ewing had some great moves. Where are the moves from Howard? What is he teaching him? His best move is still to miss an awkward looking semi-hook, then use his quickness and strength to get a put back. Effective, obviously, but not worth paying Patrick for. BOBBY Ewing could have taught him that!

      • Robert

        you mean Patrick Duffy, right?

        http://mrsjrewing.tripod.com/id10.html

        • 242LakerFan

          The very same.

          • Robert

            Ahhhh YEAH! You da man!!!!

          • Robert

            Actually, maybe Dwight Howard CAN learn a few lessons on how to play defense, from Bobby Ewing:

      • Abs

        ‘The criticism was nothing to do with his ft shooting’

        duh… I know that. The point I was making was Howard could have Hakeem coaching him and probably still wouldn’t learn many moves, just like all the shooting coaches in the world couldn’t help Shaq.

  • http://thelakersnation.com/blog/category/original-articles/benchmob-beat/ Anna Gonda

    Dude, Bobby! Great points! Thanks for putting things in perspective.

  • airkobe

    yeah sounds like dejavu, and pau will be the second coming of shaq but not as dominant but a complainant who wants kobe to be out!

  • airkobe

    by the way shaq only gets his fourth rings because of wade and their just facing the mavs that year.

  • yash

    for number two random — six game winners by an individual in a season i heard is the most in nba history

  • Laker101

    Charlotte has to be one of the most talented under-performing teams in the league. I mean they seem to get up for the big games and beat the best teams in the league but they are still barely above .500? That truly is an enigma, great article! p.s. if they ever get it together they are going to be scary for whoever faces them in the playoffs! Hopefully they upset the cavs is not im positive that Orlando will do that and the Lakers will bounce Orlando just like they did last year.

  • BringDFishBack

    “…has any player really been as pivotal to their team’s success as Kobe?”

    Really now? Lest we forget the 4-1 record they had when he sat out? How about the fact that “They’re 3-5 when Kobe takes 30 shots or more, 25-9 when he takes 20 to 29 shots and 20-4 when he takes fewer than 20, including the five games Kobe missed”? Please, Lebron, Dwight, and Durant are so much more important to their teams success than Kobe. And there are others ahead of him, just not by as far as those 3 guys.
    http://espn.go.com/nba/powerrankings?year=2010&week=20

    • comeflywithme

      fans get excited when kobe sat out and L.As record was 4-1.. take out Kobe and see if L.A could win it all..

    • andyhank

      4-1…that one loss means something because it was against the best team in that 5 game stretch. No theoretical stuff, they lost, and that means something. They need kobe. Without his game winners, the lakers would’ve possibly been the 6 seed right now.

      And I love how everyone ignores when Pau was out and kobe was still leading the team to the best record during this time…give the man props when due.

      Mind you, hes leading the team through injuries. I doubt lebron, dwight, or durant could keep their team on top with some injuries.

      Kobe is the real MVP.

    • Robert

      the ‘scoring’ statistic is irrelevant. In fact, ‘statistics’ are irrelevant, because you can make any statistic work in your favor, for whatever argument you have. What SOLELY matters in the NBA is “rings”, that’s it! Ask Sir Charles, as Reggie Miller, etc. …
      .
      the 2000+ Lakers would NOT have won without Kobe; the 2009 Lakers would NOT have won without Kobe. The 2010 Lakers Will Win with Kobe.
      .
      the Cavs have NOT won with LeBron (2007 Finals), did NOT make it to Finals last year (2008) with LeBron, even though they had the best record. The Cavs “won’t win” the Finals with LeBron this year.
      .
      That being said, LeBron needs to get out of Cleveland and go to NY, period. He needs a new coach (D’Antoni); he doesn’t need a bunch of NBA has beens piled up to get a win. Recall that didn’t work for the 2004 Lakers. Won’t work for LeBron.
      .
      After Kobe finishes his run, then LeBron has a chance to win – but NOT in Cleveland.

    • doodles

      Have you ever wondered why he takes all those shots? It’s because of two things. One is he gets into a self-centered funk and takes too many ill advised shots. That’s bad.

      The other is when his teammates are not into the game. This is even worse. How many times have we seen the ball passed to Kobe with less than 5 seconds left on the clock? Of course his shooting percentage will go down.

      The solution to this is for everyone, including those at the end of the bench, to play their hearts out when they are on the court. Too many sloppy passes, not enough hustle and so on.

      Without Kobe we don;t win the title. Period. With him and his teammates giving 100% we repeat. It’s that simple.

      • Marwan Marzina

        No heres a simpler solution. He is a SHOOTING guard. When he is off, he doesn’t stop shooting cause thats his position’s role, he is supposed to shoot.
        When a POINT guard turns the ball over alot and is off, does he stop passing?
        When a CENTRE is off, does he stop rebounding?

  • http://www.facebook.com/thejahjah Green Flannel

    Andyhank totally agree with you. Kobe led this team without pau and bynum. I can’t believe we are discussing that kobe is holding back the lakers. HE’S NOT! And the MVP thing is useless because we know who will win it. I think that the Lakers have yet to have their “oh shit, we need to step it up” moment. they got it against the rockets and played great throughout. L.A. is going to the finals, no doubt about that, but who will they play and how willing are they to win?

    • andyhank

      Tough to say. I think the cavs are going to the finals. they couldve made it last year. this year they are the hungriest team just like how the lakers were last year because of their upseting loss to orlando.

      At this point, they need to all sit down and focus their minds on winning it all, that is, if they TRULY want to repeat. Compared to last season where they played with hunger, this year it looked like a chore. If they dont truly want it, they definetly will not win it all. I think they can still win it all though, they have gathered themselves up lately ever since that loss in orlando. so far they have won 4 games in a row and there are 14 left. these games will show us how they are progressing into that urgency phase

      • doodles

        Who cares if the Cavs go to the Finals? I for one don’t though it would be interesting.

        Also it is not a given that they make it to the Eastern finals. They could run into Charlotte, a team that seems to have their number. Lastly Orlando will not just lay down for the Cavs.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a repeat of last years finals.

  • Robert

    I’m beginning to think that there may be a repeat of last years Finals too. LeBron has had 2 (or more?) chances to get to the Finals in the East, but seems to come up short (either in playoffs or Finals). He has better pieces this year, no doubt, and a hunger that Kobe had last year, but for some reason the Cavs appear to have this hole that will never be filled. I’m thinking it’s precisely because of LeBron.
    .
    And here’s why:
    .
    LeBron is running the team, period.
    .
    The Cavs have no coach. The team belongs wholeheartedly to LeBron. AND – since when is a coach’s job irrelevant? AND – LeBron still isn’t mature enough to coach a team. In 5 years, maybe.
    .
    The Lakers won with the greatest coach in history. This is the SAME COACH who won with Michael (seems like I’m flipping it around). The Lakers did NOT win (recently) with other coaches.
    .
    There’s no doubt that LeBron is one of the greatest players who (by the end of his career) will ever play. However – it is simple: he won’t win without the right coach – not a coach that sits back and let’s LeBron just run the show. He needs a coach that will …. um …. COACH, right? That would be, among others, Mike D’Antoni, perhaps Larry Brown? Maybe Pat Riley. Oh .. Phil Jackson? That’s it! He’s going to New York or Miami (Pat Riley will fire Spoelstra and coach again, if LeBron goes there).
    .
    BUT
    .
    The Cavs won’t win this year. They might not even make the Finals.
    .
    OK, who cares about the Cavs? *We* might care, until the season is over, and the Lakers win the Finals. Then, everyone will forget the Cavs, including LeBron. The puppets will return, and annoy us again – but the Kobe puppet will be eating Lucky Charms while the LeBron puppet drops his head in the oatmeal.

  • laker#1fan

    These Lakers have a tougher road than those Lakers. The crazy wild west and a monster east. Stay hungry if they want repeat.

  • laker#1fan

    It’s almost silly to even compare these 2 Lakers teams. 2 different eras. 2 different foes. These Lakers today have a much harder road. Even if they get out the west, look what they have to deal with Celt, Magic or the very hungry Cav. We miss u Trevor more than u know it.

  • yeeaaa

    Whatch this it should help u wit everything

  • http://6thgenaccord.com KING

    “refereeing”… ;)

    But you brought up some nice points… good read, elaborate more on the Gasol/Artest comparison… i don’t get it? the flagrant fouls, or the disappearing? lol