The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the greatest franchises in sports history. The team has won 17 NBA Championships and has appeared in the NBA Finals 15 other times. Their 32 finals appearances are ten more than the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers have 100s of memorable moments, some good, some bad. Here are four quick ones from the past.
Upset Win Over Warriors in 2016
It won’t go down in NBA history as one of the most incredible games of basketball ever played, but when it comes to upsets, it has to rank pretty high, particularly to those who bet on NBA games.
Heading into the March 6th home game against the Golden State Warriors, the Los Angeles Lakers were 12-51 for the season. While the Warriors, who were on their way to a finals appearance against the Cleveland Cavaliers, were 55-5. While the Lakers had little to play for except for pride, Golden State was on track to surpass the Chicago Bulls’ all-time mark of 72-10 in the regular season.
In the eyes of the bookmakers, this game was an absolute no-brainer in favor of the Warriors. And yet, against incredible odds, the Lakers won 112-95. The win goes down as the biggest ever upset in the history of the NBA from a mathematical perspective, considering the gap in winning percentages between the two teams.
Lakers Finally Overcome Celtics
The Lakers-Celtics rivalry is one of the most sacred in all sports. The teams have met an incredible 12 times in the NBA Finals, with the Lakers winning 3 out of the last five series dating back to 1984.
However, before 1985, the Lakers were a brutal 0-8 vs. their rival, and it didn’t look good when they lost 148-114 in Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals. The Memorial Day Massacre would probably be better remembered if the defending NBA Champion Celtics went on to win the series, but they didn’t.
Los Angeles was coming off a seven-game series loss the year before, and Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabar were on a mission to get back over the hump. they won four out of the next five games and took the series 4-2. That team would go on to beat the Celtics again in 1987, but that 1985 Championship changed the dynamics of the rivalry forever.
Detroit Beats Lakers in 2004
Unfortunately, not all of the Laker’s surprises have been good ones.
In 2004, the Lakers were heavy favorites against the Detroit Pistons heading into the 2004 NBA Finals. Los Angeles had won three championships out of the last four NBA Titles, falling just short in 2003 to the San Antonio Spurs. With superstars Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone, the Lakers had four Hall of Famers eager for another ring.
However, the Detroit Pistons completely outplayed the Lakers. Lacking a superstar of their own, the Pistons played a more cohesive game as a unit, smothering O’Neal and Bryant to win 4-1 and send the Lakers crashing out of the finals in front of stunned bettors.
LeBron James Stuns Warriors
Sometimes all it takes to shock the betting world is one superstar to stand up and perform. This is precisely what LeBron James did against the Golden State Warriors in early March this year. With the Warriors sitting well above the Los Angeles Lakers on the ladder, all signs pointed towards a Golden State win when the Warriors came to town to play the Lakers at Crypto.com Arena. The home side had just lost four games in a row and looked lackluster with the odds stacked against them.
That is until LeBron James turned on his best performance since joining the Lakers. In a showing that led his side to a 124-116 win against all odds, LeBron James personally scored almost half of the team’s points, with a massive 56-point tally to his name.