The 2011 NBA Playoff will tip-off Sunday for the Los Angeles Lakers, who claimed the second seed in the West after a 57-25 record. The Lakers experienced panic and prosperity in the regular season; there were times when the Lakers looked like a championship team, while other times they played lackadaisically and with a lack of focus. Nevertheless, the Lakers are once again in the hunt for the NBA championship and if the regular season had any indication, the playoffs will feature many exciting moments. In the first 82 games of the season, Lakers fans have been witness to a plethora of great memories and unbelievable moments.
On Facebook, we asked all you Lakers fans, “What were your favorite memories of the 2010-2011 season.” Here are the Top 11 most memorable moments on the season that was.
11. Kobe Practices After Loss To Heat
After the Los Angeles Lakers fell to the Miami Heat, 94-88, Kobe Bryant decided to partake in a post-game practice at American Airlines Arena. Bryant shot a miserable 8-21 from the field, and the Lakers’ turnovers late in the game cost them the victory. Despite the controversy of the post-game practice, no one could have doubted Kobe’s determination and desire to will. After a long 48 minutes of basketball, Kobe still wanted to walk on the court to fix his game. This characteristic is what separates the great players from the good, the Kobes from the LeBrons.
10. Derek Fisher Game-Winner vs. Clippers
In the first regular-season meeting with their cross-town rival Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers survived a thrilling game thanks to the heroics of Derek Fisher. On December 8th, the Lakers found themselves trailing by five points with a little over one minute left in the game. Just when it seemed as though the Lakers would fall-down to the young Clippers, Fisher found a way to carry the team to victory. Down 86-85, the Lakers opted to give the ball to Derek Fisher instead of Kobe Bryant in the final possession.
Fisher drove to the basket and with 0.01 seconds left, the ball left his hand and went through the net. The Lakers won the game 87-86 and survived the battle of LA.
9. Lakers Spoil Ray Allen’s Record Night
In the Los Angeles Lakers’ lone visit to Boston, the team had to fight a hostile crowd and spirted Celtics team to win the game. In the opening quarter, Celtics guard Ray Allen nailed a three-point shot to surpass Reggie Miller as the all-time leader in three-point field goals made. As soon as Allen set the record, momentum shifted the Celtics way and the Lakers were getting out-hustled by Boston.
However, the veteran Lakers team overcame a first-half lead and came back to win the game. Despite the historical night, the Lakers found a way to pull-out with the victory. Although Allen was the newly crowned king of three-point shooting, the Lakers had the last laugh with a 92-86 victory.
8. Injured Bryant Helps Lakers Beat Mavericks
When the Los Angeles Lakers played the Dallas Mavericks on March 12th, star Kobe Bryant suffered from what he called the “worst sprain of his career.” However, despite his injury, Kobe could not take himself away from the basketball court. He knew the second seed of the Western Conference was at stake, and he could not let his team down. Once again, Kobe showed why he is the greatest player in the NBA.
7. Lakers beat Cavaliers by 55
The Laker’s most dominating victory in franchise history occurred this past regular season when they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers by 55 points, 112-57. The Lakers sent a message to the entire league after the victory, and the Cavs knew first-hand how good Los Angeles could be. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers got revenge for their embarrassing loss when they beat the Lakers in Cleveland; nevertheless, this game will always stay in the Cavaliers players’ minds.
6. Kobe Dunks over LeBron
During the 2011 All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant “posterized” LeBron James after a highlight-reel dunk. As Kobe ran down the court on a fast-break, James decided to block the shot. However, LeBron’s decision turned out to back-fire and Kobe dunked right on him. After the dunk, Kobe gave LeBron a tap on the back for his good, yet unsuccessful attempt.
5. Lakers Beat Suns In Triple Overtime
On March 22nd, the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns played a hard-fought triple-overtime thriller at Staples Center. The Lakers and Suns met in the 2010 Western Conference Finals, so there was clearly no love between the teams. Although the Lakers made many careless mistakes throughout the game, Kobe Bryant once again found a way to help his team win. The three overtime contest was the best game of the regular season and luckily the Lakers walked off winners.
4. Kobe’s Various Scoring Records
Kobe Bryant started the season ranked 12th in the NBA’s all-time career scoring list; however, by seasons end he moved to the sixth position behind former teammate Shaquille O’Neal. En route to his current ranking, Bryant surpasses legends such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Oscar Robertson. By becoming the sixth greatest scorer in NBA history, Kobe Bryant is padding his resume with impressive stats and he will one day go down as one of, if not the great offensive scorer to ever play.
3. All-Star Weekend/ Kobe MVP
The 2011 All-Star Weekend was held in Los Angeles, and the Lakers were expected to represent the home team well in front of millions. The weekend was jam-packed with great moments, but the event culminated with the All-Star Game. The game was dominated by Kobe Bryant, who won the All-Star Game MVP after his stellar performance. In front of the Los Angeles crowd, Bryant scored 37 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished out three assists. In perhaps his last All-Star Weekend in his home crowd, Kobe pleased the Los Angeles crowd with an unforgettable performance.
2. Lakers Blow Out Spurs
Perhaps the Lakers’ most significant win of the season was when they went into San Antonio and dominated the Spurs. At that point in the season, the Lakers were chasing the Spurs for the top-seed in the West, and the win helped reduce the standing differential. Although the final scoring margin was only 16, 99-83, the Lakers had a 20-point lead in the first half. The Lakers won their seventh consecutive game, and the entire league got to see how to dominate Los Angeles could be with a healthy roster.
1. Ring Ceremony
On opening night of the 2010-2011 season, the Los Angeles Lakers held a ring ceremony to celebrate their second consecutive title. The Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in a grueling seven-game series, and the opening night events allowed the team to celebrate one more time. After the banner was raised and the players’ received the rings, the new season got underway and the Lakers started their quest for another ring.
Let’s hope the Lakers hold a similar ceremony later this year to commemorate the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.