After a long hiatus and eight seeding games in the Orlando bubble, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally ready to make their first playoff run in nearly a decade.
Despite earning the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Lakers’ first-round matchup will not be an easy one as they are taking on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Trail Blazers struggled for most of the year, but found their form in the bubble with the return of center Jusuf Nurkić and were able to earn the No. 8 seed in the West by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in the first-ever play-in game.
It’s no secret L.A. and Portland have some past blood, which should make this postseason series even more intriguing. In the 11 times they have met, the Lakers have won nine of the series, and included in that is a 32-16 overall record.
Here is a look back at all of the times the Lakers have played the Trail Blazers in the playoffs.
2002 Western Conference First Round
The last time these two teams played in the playoffs came in the first round in 2002 when Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers were on their way to a third consecutive championship. Portland did not pose much of a threat as the Lakers were able to cruise to a 3-0 sweep.
2001 Western Conference First Round
The two teams also met in the first round the year before in 2001, and it was much of the same, with the Lakers earning a 3-0 sweep. The Lakers finished 15-1 in the postseason that year, so no one was really able to beat them.
2000 Western Conference Finals
This was the biggest series between the Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers as they met in the WCF and many considered it the NBA Finals as they were the two best teams in the league.
O’Neal and Bryant were looking to get over the hump for the first time, but they faced a very deep Portland team that featured Scottie Pippen, Rasheen Wallace, Damon Stoudamire, the self-proclaimed “Kobe Stopper,” Ruben Patterson, and others.
The Lakers jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series, although the Trail Blazers battled back with wins in Games 5 and 6 to force a Game 7 at Staples Center.
In that Game 7, the Lakers played some uninspiring basketball for the first three quarters and found themselves trailing by 13. They went on the run of a lifetime in the fourth though, outscoring Portland, 31-13, capped off by “The Lob” from Bryant to O’Neal, to earn the series win.
L.A. then defeated the Indiana Pacers in the Finals to win their first of three consecutive championships.
1998 Western Conference First Round
The 1997-98 season may have been early in the O’Neal and Bryant era, but it wasn’t too soon for a matchup with the Trail Blazers as the Lakers cruised to a 3-1 series victory in the first round of a Nos. 3-6 seeded matchup.
1997 Western Conference First Round
The previous year was much of the same as O’Neal dominated and the Lakers won the series, 3-1, in what was a matchup of the fourth and fifth seeds.
1992 Western Conference First Round
The last time Portland beat L.A. in the playoffs was in 1992, the year after Magic Johnson retired for the first time. Led by Clyde Drexler, the No. 1 seeded Trail Blazers defeated the No. 8 seeded Lakers in four games.
1991 Western Conference Finals
Johnson led the Lakers to the NBA Finals in 1991 before retiring. While L.A. ultimately lost to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, they were able to defeat the Trail Blazers in six games in the WCF.
1989 Western Conference First Round
The 1989 Trail Blazers were no match for Johnson and the Lakers as he averaged 27.3 points and 11.7 assists en route to a 3-0 sweep, with L.A. winning every game by at least eight points.
1985 Western Conference Semifinals
The Lakers won the 1985 NBA Championship by defeating the Boston Celtics. But before that, they earned a series win over the Trail Blazers by winning four of the five games.
1983 Western Conference Semifinals
The same was the case in 1983 as the Lakers again beat Portland in five games before being swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA Finals.
1977 Western Conference Finals
While the Lakers have dominated the postseason history between these two teams, the Trail Blazers actually won the first series they played in 1977. Led by Bill Walton, Portland swept the Lakers in the WCF before going on to win their only NBA championship.
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