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 2, 1999
LA LAKERS 91 – UTAH JAZZ 84
The 1999-00 season opener for the Lakers was the head coaching debut of Phil Jackson, who had spent one year away from the NBA after leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships during the 1990s.
Jackson’s introduction of the methodical Triangle offense was a stark contrast to the Showtime run-and-gun style of the 1980s. Jackson’s tumultuous relationship with the Lakers would last until Jackson’s retirement in June 2011 after five championships and two stints with the purple and gold.
The start of the 1999-00 season would be a turning point for the Lakers, who had built a reputation as perennial underachievers that had lost in the playoffs to the Utah Jazz twice in 1997 and 1998 and San Antonio Spurs in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. The injury-depleted Lakers would defeat the Jazz 91-84 in Utah with a strong 28-point effort from Glen Rice with Derek Fisher chipping in 12 points as well.
Then 21-year-old Kobe Bryant missed the season opener after breaking his hand during the Lakers’ first preseason game against the Washington Wizards. He would go on to miss the next six weeks of the regular season.
Shaquille O’Neal would put up 23 points and 13 rebounds against the Jazz, beginning arguably the best statistical season of his career that would later garner him a near unanimous vote for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award. The Lakers would finish the 1999-00 season with a 67-15 record, earning the top seed in the playoffs and finishing with their best record since 1972.
Quote of the Night: “Phil said this is going to be like a way of life, like a certain type of karate. So we have to learn our moves over and learn things over because different teachers and different senseis teach different styles.” – Shaquille O’Neal, on adjusting to new coach Phil Jackson’s Triangle offense.