The Los Angeles Lakers are arguably the most successful franchises in NBA history. They’ve won 17 NBA championships, most recently during the 2020 season, and will be looking to add to that as they embark on another playoff run with LeBron James. As you would expect, over the course of their 76 years in existence (dating back to 1947 when they began as the Minneapolis Lakers), many big-time postseason games have stuck out.
You can’t begin to tell the story of the NBA or NBA Playoffs without mentioning the Lakers. Looking back at their storied history, we rank 14 of the top playoff games in Lakers franchise history.
The best playoff games in Los Angeles Lakers history
14. 2001 NBA Finals Game 1: Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Including Game 1 of the 2001 NBA Finals is a bit more of an honorable mention than anything. Even though it didn’t end well for the Los Angeles Lakers, this is one of the most iconic games in NBA Finals history. And it would be a crime if it wasn’t included or even mentioned.
In the best game of the series, one that the Lakers would still end up winning 4-1 to clinch their second-straight NBA title, it was Shaquille O’Neal that would go point-for-point with Allen Iverson in this one. With Kobe Bryant struggling (he finished with 15 points on 7-22 shooting), Shaq finished with 44 points, 20 rebounds, and five assists. Despite the great effort from Shaq, it was Iverson’s night to remember.
“The Answer” finished with 48 points, five rebounds, five steals, and six assists – including the game-clinching jump shot, punctuated by him stepping over Tye Lue. He also amazingly took 41 shot attempts in Game 1. The Sixers would eventually pull away in overtime but the Lakers got the last laugh in the series.
Still, it’s hard to not remember just how good of a game that was at the moment.