With all the hoopla surrounding the formation of super teams in Miami and New York, it was easy to overlook the marquee matchup this past Sunday. Lest we forget the San Antonio Spurs still possess the best record in the league and the Los Angeles Lakers are still the back-to-back NBA champions.
Over the past decade there have been few teams in all of professional sports that can match the staying power of the Lakers and the Spurs. The Lakers have won five championships and the Spurs have won three. To put that into perspective, in that time span no other team in the league has won more than one championship.
Head to head, the Lakers have beat the Spurs in three playoff series since the 2000-1 season while the Spurs have beat the Lakers once. That one series was to end the Lakers’ quest for a fourth consecutive title in 2003. The Spurs and the Lakers were so damn good back in the day, whoever came out of that series was bound to win the championship as the East was significantly weaker than it is now.
The rivalry between the Lakers and the Spurs is a discreet one, it certainly doesn’t receive the same hype as the upcoming matchup with the Heat on Thursday and the Kings were perceived as Laker Nation’s number one enemy back in the Sha-Kobe days albeit never beating the Lakers in the playoffs. Rivalry games are usually featured on Christmas day, but I found myself wondering when’s the last time the Lakers and Spurs hooked up on Christmas day?
The answer is none, because regardless of how successful the Spurs are, they have this label of boring they can never shed. If they were television shows, the Lakers would be the Simpsons and the Spurs would be the news. People watch both shows but one show is clearly more popular amongst the general public.