Much to the delight of fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, the 2014-15 season is finally over and it wasn’t pretty. The Lakers set a franchise record for worst win percentage in a season and the team was decimated by injuries for the third consecutive season.
A season with only 21 wins isn’t going to have a bunch of great moments, but there were some memorable times provided by this team. Most fans would probably like to forget this season and with good reason, but with the season just ending it’s fine to look back on the few good things that happened before this season gets forgotten as fans look forward to the off-season.
Whether it was Kobe passing Jordan for third on the all-time scoring list, some excellent highlights from Jordan Clarkson down the stretch of the season, or Wesley Johnson’s steal and layup to clinch the game against the Houston Rockets, there were a few good times this year.
So, as difficult as it was, we asked our panel of experts what was their favorite moment from the 2014-15 regular season. This is what they had to say:
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): Coming into last year’s draft, Dante Exum was highly touted as the potential point guard of the future for the Los Angeles Lakers. The team needed to fill the position, and Exum was constantly seen at the games. It seemed like a perfect fit.
Of course, he wasn’t available by the time the Lakers had their selection, and the team had to look elsewhere. Jordan Clarkson ended up with the team after the Lakers bought a pick from the Washington Wizards. As a second-round pick, there wasn’t much expectation from Clarkson which made his growth that much more memorable.
The two point guards began their seasons on the bench, but when the Lakers and the Jazz met last in February, the two rookies took over the starting role. Clarkson got to go up against Exum and show the Lakers the team was in better hands with him at point.
During the second quarter, Clarkson stole the ball and had an open court in front him. Exum tried his best to contest the shot, but got dunked on. Clarkson got the best of Exum on the play and wasn’t done. He finished the game with 18 points, a career high at that point of the season. After the night, he continued to shine and became one of the best rookies in the league.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): It’s tough to come up with a favorite moment in such a disappointing season, but if I have to, and apparently I do, I’d go with Kobe Bryant’s career-high 17 assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was pretty clear that the season was lost. The Lakers were struggling and simply couldn’t get anything going with or without Kobe on the floor. Although the season was on pace to be one of the worst in franchise history, Bryant came into the matchup against LeBron James motivated to make it special.
Ultimately, the Lakers let the game slip away and lost, 109-102. LeBron turned it on and scored a game-high 36 points and as a result was able to bring the Cavs back to .500 on the season. It became the turning point for Cleveland as they went onto win 12 straight games and quickly emerged as arguably one of the best teams in the league after a disappointing start.
So although it ended with yet another loss for the Lakers, Bryant’s performance was incredible to watch with the superstar getting all his teammates involved against what turned out to be an elite team.
It turned out to be Kobe’s last great performance before he went down with a season-ending injury shoulder injury three games later against the New Orleans Pelicans. Hopefully, it wasn’t the final dominant performance of Bryant’s career.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): I was tempted to say the final seconds of the last game, but that would be mean. Memorable moments were difficult to come by this season, but one that stands out the most to me is the team’s upset of the Golden State Warriors in December.
The Warriors had already blown out the Lakers twice and had only three losses coming into the game. The Lakers were also without Kobe Bryant that night as everyone assumed that the Lakers stood no chance against the juggernaut Warriors team.
Shockingly the Lakers led basically from start to finish, building their lead to 24 points at one point. Seven Lakers scored in double-figures with Ronnie Price outdueling Stephen Curry at times in the game. It was a performance that no one saw coming and was completely unexplainable.
Just as a bit of icing on the cake, former Laker Vlade Divac made a halfcourt shot to win $90,000 for charity as just one more sign that it was the Lakers night.[divide]
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