Top 5 Rivals in Lakers History

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2010 Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (L) is defended by Boston Celtics' Ray Allen during Game 7 of the 2010 NBA finals in Los Angeles, the United States, June 17, 2010. Los Angeles Lakers defeated Boston Celtics 83-79 and won NBA's Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy for the 16th time.

#1.  Boston Celtics

It’s safe to say L.A. sports fans, that the city of Boston holds the two biggest rivalries in American team sports: that of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, and that of course of the Lakers and Celtics.

Of course it goes without saying how the Celtics are the number one rivals of the Lakers.  No other team in the league is more hated by Lakers fans and infuses so much emotion among the Lakers Nation!  No other two teams historically can showcase matchups such as Bill Russell vs. Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson, and most recently, Paul Pierce vs. Kobe Bryant.

And you know you have a rivalry when Celtics fans of the 1982 squad chanted “Beat L.A., Beat L.A.” to the 76ers, in the closing moments of a defeat that would send the 76ers to a finals showdown against the Lakers!  That phrase has become the official battle cry of all opposing teams against our beloved city.

Here now are some highlighted facts of this historic rivalry:

  • Between December 28, 1979, to February 16, 1992, the Lakers and the Celtics played 45 games: 26 in the regular season and 19 in the playoffs.
  • The Lakers and Celtics have faced each other 12 times in the NBA Finals (Boston has won nine and the Lakers have won three).
  • Between ’59 and ’69 they had met seven times in the Finals.
  • Celtics and Lakers met once again in the finals in 1984, 1985, and 1987.
  • Most recently, Lakers and Celtics have squared off in the Finals in 2008 and 2010.
  • Boston owns 17 NBA titles and Los Angeles trails with 16 NBA titles.
  • And finally…the best player rivalry in all of NBA history – Bird vs. Magic.

Most memorable moments:

  • Before Game 7 of the ’69 Finals, Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke placed notices in all seats that read, “When, not if, the Lakers win the title, balloons will be released from the rafters, the USC marching band will play ‘happy days are here again’, and broadcaster Chick Hearn will interview Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and Wilt Chamberlain in that order.”  The Lakers would go on to lose the series.
  • In the 1984 Finals, Celtic’s forward Kevin McHale close-lined Kurt Rambis as Rambis was about to finish a breakaway layup which almost caused a huge brawl.
  • The famous Magic Johnson “Junior Skyhook”.  In Game 4 of the NBA 1987 NBA Finals, the Lakers stormed back from a 16 point defecit in the fourth quarter.  After a three-point shot from Larry Bird to put the Celtics ahead by one, Johnson nailed a junior skyhook with two seconds on the clock, sealing a very dramatic Lakers victory.
  • 2008 NBA Finals…we won’t even go there!
  • 2010 NBA Finals were perhaps one of the best NBA Finals in league history.  This series saw a very hungry Lakers team that was seeking revenge from the ’08 series, a record setting Ray Allen going 8-11 from three point land, and ultimately a Lakers squad that came back from a 3-2 deficit to win the NBA title for the 16th time at home!

Next: Who could be next?

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