No one was quite sure what to make of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1991. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired, leaving Magic Johnson and James Worthy as the veteran leaders.
Additionally, teams such as the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs were looking to take over the Western Conference after L.A. had dominated throughout the 1980s. The Lakers would not go down quietly, however as they advanced back to the Western Conference Finals.
They would face off with the top-seeded Trail Blazers, who were led by future Hall-of-Famer Clyde Drexler. L.A. immediately sent a message, taking the first game of the series on the road before dropping Game 2.
That led to the ever important Game 3 back at the Great Western Forum and it was Magic and Worthy leading the way to a huge win on May 24, 1991.
Worthy led the Lakers with 25 points and seven rebounds, while Johnson scored 14 points and dished out 19 assists as the Lakers defeated Portland, 106-92, to take a 2-1 series lead.
Even though the vets led the way, it was a balanced effort by the Lakers on this night as all five starters scored in double-figures. Sam Perkins finished with 18 points and nine rebounds, Vlade Divac had 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, and Byron Scott added 14 points.
The Blazers simply didn’t have enough on this night as Drexler finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Jerome Kersey led Portland with 19 points, and Terry Porter produced an all-around effort with 16 points, seven assists and four steals.
Of course, the Lakers would go on to finish off the Blazers in six games, advancing to their eighth NBA Finals in 11 years, a truly outstanding accomplishment that very few have ever been able to match.
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