The 2000 Los Angeles Lakers were on a mission to finally get over the hump. After coming up short in the playoffs multiple times, the team brought in the legendary Phil Jackson to help the duo of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal finally reach the promised land.
The team responded very well to Jackson and put the NBA on notice that this squad was a completely different one. They would go on a massive winning streak in the middle of the season and on Jan. 8, 2000, the Lakers defeated the Seattle SuperSonics, 110-100, for their 14th consecutive victory, improving their record to a ridiculous 29-5.
It was Kobe leading the way on this night as he finished with 31 points, six rebounds and three steals. Shaq also did his part as usual, totaling 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Glen Rice added 24 points.
This win didn’t come easy as the Lakers came out of the gates slowly and trailed by 17 at the half. But they turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter, outscoring Seattle 34-12 in that period to take control of the game.
Vin Baker finished with 31 points and 10 rebounds and future Laker Gary Payton played all 48 minutes, scoring 23 points to go along with nine assists. Ruben Patterson, the ‘Kobe Stopper,’ didn’t live up to his name (as usual), but did add 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lakers would extend their winning streak to 16 before falling to their eventual NBA Finals opponents, the Indiana Pacers. Obviously, the Lakers would get the last laugh on them in June.
Nonetheless, the Lakers showed that they had another level on this night. A bad half did nothing to stop them from coming out on top as Kobe and Shaq once again led the Lakers to victory.
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