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After three years of being a middling Western Conference team, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers had enough. Just before the trade deadline, they put together a package of players and picks to send to the Memphis Grizzlies. In exchange, they would change the fortunes of the franchise by acquiring Pau Gasol.
Gasol would make an instant impact alongside Kobe Bryant, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum as a crafty stretch-four. L.A. would be 57-25 in his first season with the team to get the No. 1 seed in the west.
The Lakers had a fairly easy time in the Western Conference playoffs, needing four, six, and five games respectively to get to the NBA Finals. This was Kobe Bryant’s first without Shaquille O’Neal, giving him a chance to tie his on court rival.
There, they would face the Boston Celtics, who made waves in the offseason by adding Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. L.A. was competitive against the Celtics, but they simply weren’t able to win it all, especially with Bynum out for the series due to injury.
The Celtics won in six, including a blowout win in Game 6, to get their first title since the 1980’s and their 17th overall. This kept them firmly ahead of the Lakers in the all-time race at 17-14.
NBA regular season statistics
NBA regular season schedule and results
NBA playoffs statistics
NBA playoffs schedule and results