In lieu of the regular season, Laker Nation has decided to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise. We understand that it’s not the basketball you may have been hoping for, but for the time being, it’s the closest we’ll get to reading about the Lakers on a basketball court.
NOVEMBER 26, 1996
LA LAKERS 100 – PHILADELPHIA 88
LAKER YOUNG GUNS TOO MUCH FOR 76ERS
Kobe Bryant, only 14 games removed from his high school playing days in his first NBA season, bartered and traded his way into almost 100 tickets to have family and friends watch his homecoming. After all, his alma mater Lower Merion high school was only a 30-minute drive from the CoreStates Center, the arena for the 76ers at the time.
While Bryant wasn’t yet starting at this point in his career, early foul trouble would force Laker bigs Elden Campbell and Shaquille O’Neal out of the game, allowing coach Del Harris the decision to move forward with a smaller, quicker lineup. With Laker guard Nick Van Exel shooting an ineffective 1-of-7 with five turnovers in 21 minutes, Harris gave rookie point guard Derek Fisher the opportunity to take control of the game. While not wowing coaches and reporters on the stat sheet, Fisher’s 10 points and two assists (and most importantly one turnover) kept the Lakers calm and in control. A sign of things to come, Van Exel would sit out nearly the entire fourth quarter as Fisher would be allowed to man the Laker offense.
Laker guard-forward Eddie Jones would put up a game-high 23 points and a career-high eight steals to match Shaquille O’Neal’s 23-20 game in only 38 minutes of play. In O’Neal’s early absence, rookie Travis Knight would help control the boards, scoring six points while pulling down seven boards. While Bryant would only play 21 minutes, his 12 points would tie for third on the team, and would allow the Laker squad of rookies to give the veterans a rest, and more importantly, a 100-88 victory on the road.
Quote of the Night: “You’ve just got to keep it in perspective. I know I’ll be playing in Philadelphia for a lot of years to come. I can’t be overwhelmed by one game.” – Laker guard Kobe Bryant on his Philadelphia homecoming during a 100-88 victory over the 76ers. – From the LA Times, Nov. 27, 1996
ALSO ON THIS DATE – NOVEMBER 26, 1999 – AC GREEN SETS THE NBA IRON MAN MARK
In a 103-80 victory over the New Jersey Nets, longtime Laker forward AC Green set an NBA record playing in his 1,042th consecutive game, breaking the record held by Ron Boone. Green would go on to play 1,192 consecutive games, only missing three games in his NBA career.