Top Five Lakers Games From the 2019–20 Season
The NBA’s current suspension has brought fans and writers alike to look back at previous marquee matchups. The 49–14 Lakers had no shortage of highlights, from monster rejections to earth-shaking dunks. They had some memorable performances through the 63 games of the season, and I will break down my top five Lakers games from this past season.
Honorable Mention: Lakers at Thunder, January 11, 2020
Everyone knows here’s no “i” in “team”, so it’s fitting that this feat should be noticed. With their dynamic duo sidelined, the entire Lakers squad stepped up in an effort to steal Oklahoma City’s “thunder” (pun intended) in a 125–110 win. Kyle Kuzma led the charge with a 36-point eruption to go along with seven rebounds. Veteran guard Rajon Rondo had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists. Two underrated performances of the night came from the third-string sharpshooting guards Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels, who had 13 and 12 points, respectively. As a whole, the team shot 51.5% from the field and 47% from three and proved that they could all step up with their two superstars injured.
5. Lakers at Mavericks, November 19, 2019
An overtime thriller with the battle of old vs. young undoubtedly earns a spot in my top 5. LeBron James and Luka Doncic had incredible stat lines that night. James scored 39 points with 12 boards and 16 assists, while Doncic went for 31 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists. A back-and-forth final frame was punctuated perfectly with Danny Green’s game-tying corner three to keep the Lakers’ hopes alive. The purple and gold outscored the Mavericks 16–7 in overtime and secured their fourth straight win with a score of 119–110.
4. Lakers vs. Pistons, January 6, 2020
They say “Defense wins championships”, and the defensive prowess of the Lakeshow appeared in a 106–99 win over the Detroit Pistons. The team blocked a season-high 20 shots. Anthony Davis swatted eight shots, JaVale McGee had six, Dwight Howard five, and Avery Bradley one. The feat was one shy of their franchise record in blocks set on April 9, 1982, in a 153–128 win against the Denver Nuggets. In that game, Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar blocked eight shots, Michael Cooper and Bob McAdoo had three apiece, Kurt Rambis and Clay Johnson ended with a pair of rejections, and Jamaal Wilkes had one.
The top three games are all matchups between teams the Lakers lost the first time they played them. As the adage goes, “Revenge is best served cold.”
3. Lakers vs. Celtics, February 23, 2020
The Lakers looked to avenge the Boston blowout from their last meeting in November. They won 114–112 behind the heroics of LeBron James. The King had 29 points, 8 rebounds, and nine assists. Anthony Davis shined with 32 points, 13 boards, three assists, and two blocks. Even after Davis hit a three to give the Lakers a 108–105 lead with 2:06 to go, the Celtics hung around and took a 110–108 lead off of a Jaylen Brown triple. After James went one for two at the line, the ball belonged to the Lakers after a Celtic violation. The King buried a clutch fade-away from the right wing to give the Lakers a 111–110 lead with 30 seconds remaining. Following more free throws from both sides, the Celtics had an opportunity to tie the game with under five seconds to go. They whiffed it after Jayson Tatum committed an offensive foul as he took a three at the buzzer. The Lakers redeemed themselves and achieved their 43rd win of the year.
2. Lakers vs. Bucks, March 6, 2020
The first meeting between these two powerhouses ended in a 111–104 Bucks victory back in November. The Lakers were not about to let the Eastern Conference leaders make it 2–0 against them. A stalwart performance from the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo (32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists) was no match for LeBron and AD. Bron had 37 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, and three steals. The Brow had 30 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks. It was a playoff atmosphere in STAPLES Center that could be heard in televisions across the country. This was an exhilarating matchup as fans got a preview of the two teams to potentially meet in the NBA Finals.
1. Lakers at Clippers, March 8, 2020
It’s always sweet when you finally beat your sibling in anything. The Clippers, long considered the “little brother” of LA, finally got on the Lakeshow’s level when they acquired Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Clippers beat them on opening night and Christmas, so this was a long-anticipated matchup in the “Battle of LA”.The Lakers trailed by as many as nine points and were down 53–49 at halftime. A strong second half propelled the Lakers to victory as they outscored the Clippers 63–50 to achieve a 112–103 win. One of the highlights was a bounce pass from LeBron that ended in a Shaq-sized reverse slam by Anthony Davis. Davis had 30 points, seven rebounds, two dimes, two steals, and one block LeBron had 28 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. This game topped my list, because it was the first win against the Clippers and it was one small step in reminding them who REALLY runs LA.
These past performances gave us things to look forward to and optimism about the future of Lakers basketball. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait much longer and sports can be back in session soon.
“Bucks vs. Lakers — Box Score — March 6, 2020”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401161581
“Celtics vs. Lakers — Box Score — February 23, 2020”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401161484
“Celtics vs. Lakers — Play-By-Play — February 23, 2020”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=401161484
“Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers Box Score, April 9, 1982”. Basketball-Reference. https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/198204090LAL.html
“Lakers vs. Clippers — Box Score — March 8, 2020”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401161590
“Lakes vs. Clippers — Play-by-Play — March 8, 2020”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/playbyplay?gameId=401161590
“Lakers vs. Mavericks — Game Summary — November 1, 2019 — ESPN”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/game?gameId=401160716
“Lakers vs. Thunder — Game Summary — January 11, 2020 — ESPN”. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/nba/boxscore?gameId=401161222
Mayer, Ryan. “Lakers Block 20 Shots In Win Over Pistons, First Team To Do So In Nearly 20 Years”. CBS Los Angeles. January 6, 2020. https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2020/01/06/los-angeles-lakers-20-blocks-detroit-pistons-first-team-nearly-20-years/