Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Davis’ former team, the New Orleans Pelicans, on Friday night on national television. The Pelicans and Lakers will be connected as long as Davis is in the purple and gold, making this a really intriguing matchup.
Davis balled out against the Pelicans last season but he is not alone. Several Lakers throughout franchise history have come to LA and played well against their former teams. There is always that extra bit of motivation in those matchups.
In honor of AD playing the Pelicans tonight, we decided to rank the five best games by Los Angeles Lakers stars against their former teams, starting with the Big Aristotle.
5. Shaquille O’Neal: Orlando Magic at Los Angeles Lakers, February 25, 2001
- Final box score: 37 points, 19 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 5 blocks
Shaq was one of the most dominant centers of all-time in his prime and there is no better example of this than in this game against his former team. Shaq signed as a marquee free agent with the Lakers after failing to win the title in Orlando, eventually forming the last three-peat champions alongside Kobe Bryant.
Shaq was nothing short of sensational in this game. He had his way around the rim, making 14 of his 20 attempts (with a terrible 9-21 from the free-throw line, keep in mind). He added 19 rebounds and six assists while playing really solid defense.
Shaq was really close to the rare five-by-five game. Five-by-fives are far rarer than triple-doubles, only happening 22 times in NBA history, one of which was by Anthony Davis. Shaq never accomplished the feat, albeit he was two steals away from doing so in this game.
Only one player has accomplished the feat in the purple and gold — Vlade Divac in 1995 before being traded for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant.