- GAME HIGHLIGHTS
- GAME RECAP
- COACH PREVIEW
- GAME PREVIEW
- SCOUTING REPORT
- INJURY REPORT
- GAME NOTES
Lakers knock out Thunder on Gasol's tip-in
By JEFF LATZKE
OKLAHOMA CITY(AP) Pau Gasol tipped in a missed jumper by Kobe Bryant with a half-second left and the Los Angeles Lakers survived a late comeback effort by Oklahoma City and eliminated the Thunder 95-94 in Game 6 of the first-round playoff series on Friday night.
Gasol crashed to the rim at the right block and tipped in Bryant's shot to put the defending NBA champions ahead after they squandered a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Gasol pumped both fists after the basket, and the Lakers moved on when Russell Westbrook missed a desperation 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 26 points on a dreadful 5-for-23 shooting night. Westbrook had 21 points and nine assists.
Bryant scored 32 points and Gasol had nine points and 18 rebounds, scoring his only basket of the second half at the end.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
8 OKC’s edge in fastbreak points (13-5), an acceptable if not ideal number for the Lakers.
18 Rebounds for Pau Gasol, none of course bigger than his massive tip in to win the game for L.A.
19 The Thunder’s edge in free throws made, thanks mostly to Kevin Durant’s 14-of-15 effort. L.A. helped make up for it by nailing 12-of-24 3-pointers, including three makes each from Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Bryant finished with 32 points and Fisher 11.
21.7 Durant’s shooting percentage from the field (5-of-23), for which Ron Artest deserves more than his fair share of credit after an extremely impressive defensive job on KD throughout the series.
30 Bench points for L.A., led by Shannon Brown’s 11 and Lamar Odom’s 9, to outscore the Thunder’s bench 30-16.
Mike Trudell, Lakers.com
Lakers Coach Phil Jackson opening statement:
“First of all, give some credit to our opponent in this series. They (Oklahoma City) were tenacious tonight and made a great run at the end of the night. We were fortunate to win that game.”
On if he seen a crowd react like the Thunder fans did at the conclusion of the game:
“I have, but it was heartwarming to see the fans appreciation for their team this year. They deserved it for sure.”
On if he remembers a tougher opening-round series:
“I was telling our team, this is the playoffs. This is what it is all about. When you have teams that have won 50 games during the regular season like this, they have a sense of pride about them. They have a game that is not far off of what our mark was in the regular season. They said it was going to be tough and it was a tough series.”
Lakers’ Guard Kobe Bryant on what Kevin Durant can learn from the playoffs:
“I think it gives you inner-toughness. When you don’t come out on top, I think it makes you more determined. Ultimately, it makes you more resilient until you do get into the position where you are a champion, then you want it even more because then you know what it feels like.”
On the matchup with Oklahoma City in the coming years:
“It is going to be an enjoyable matchup for the next several years. We look forward to these types of challenges. (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook and (Jeff) Green, and the crew that they have. They did such a phenomenal job of building this team through the draft. People here are great and the fans are exceptional. We relish the challenge.”
Lakers’ Andrew Bynum on the Thunder as a team:
“They’re a tough young team with lots of talent. They’re going to be tough for years to come. It’s good that we got out of that alive tonight and not have to go to a game seven.
On the last few seconds of the game:
“Pau was just pursuing every rebound and he just got the shot up at the end. Kobe’s shot looked good and I think every player on the court, except for Pau, just kind of gave up and watched the ball but Pau got it in with the extra effort.
On the next round:
“I think we have to be a little more focused to start. We need to really settle down and run our offense and make sure teams don’t get any easier opportunities like that.”
Lakers Forward Ron Artest On the overall series against the Thunder:
“I think the series was great. They were all tough games with no easy games. I think we fell asleep a lot which made us have to play, well not necessarily with our backs against the wall but everybody just expects us to be the best team…but we’re not playing like that right now. So, people can consider us the greatest team but understand that we actually have to not fall asleep and get to work like we did tonight. Every time we fall asleep we get punished. We fell asleep up seven points and they came back and we had to have an incredible shot to win game six.”
On if the Thunder should change anything:
“Thunder, don’t change nothing. Don’t do it. I’m mean, I would like for you to change something…but don’t be like other teams that go and change their team, you know? Man, don’t change it; just keep it going. They’ve got young players. Don’t change anything.”
Lakers Forward Pau Gasol On the key to winning the series:
“I think we just gave ourselves a chance every game, well every game but game number four which didn’t really work out. We gave ourselves a chance by extending possessions and rebounding well, for the most part. As soon as we cut down on transition points, we were in better shape. Too bad, they got to the line a lot in the series. That is what kept them alive. Other than that, I think we did a very good job defensively.”
On the game-winning tip:
“Down the stretch it was tough to get a bucket because both defenses were playing super hard and giving it their all out there. That last shot, I kept battling and I kept hustling. I didn’t have a good second half. I didn’t have a good shooting night but I just continued to work and continued to be effective rebounding and keeping balls alive. Luckily, I pursued that ball and I put it in and we won the ball game.”
Thunder Coach Scott Brooks opening statements:
“That was a heck of a game. I would like to congratulate the Los Angeles Lakers. That is a very talented team. They put a lot of pressure on you in multiple ways. Congratulate them and wish them well the rest of the way. Wish them health the rest of the way. They are a very talented team and the best team in basketball until somebody proves that they are not. I am proud of our guys. I thought everybody on the floor tonight left everything they had. That is all you can ask of your team is to give everything you got to your team, and they did that. We came up short, but there is nothing to be ashamed of. Going into this series, we knew that we would have a chance if we left everything on the floor and we did that. Our home court is a special place to play. We almost pulled out another big win.”
On Kevin Durant not getting shot attempt towards the end of the game:
“Well yeah, you would like for him to get a shot. They (Lakers) did a good job when he got the ball, they loaded up. Not only Ron Artest, but they had two or three guys ready to attack his dribble. He made the right plays. One thing about Kevin, he is not a selfish basketball player. He makes the right plays and he looks for his teammates. That’s what basketball players do. The great ones are great because they can do multiple things on the floor. He can rebound, he can defend and he can pass. Yes, we would have liked for Kevin to take a couple shots at the end but it did not happen. We got a couple of good ones and one tough one. It is part of the growth that we have to get better at. This team, as you have seen all year long, they leave everything on the floor. Sometimes it’s not good and sometimes it’s great. We have to figure out ways to make it more consistently good. That is what we are going to work on all summer long.”
Thunder Forward Kevin Durant on his play tonight:
“I left it out there every game for my team. It doesn’t matter how hard I shot. I came out there and played hard and tried to help my team win. I can live with myself knowing I came out there and gave it my all each game. That is all I can ask for and that is all my teammates can ask for. This loss hurts. We gave it our all every game. That is all we can do.”
On what the team can take away from this season:
“I think we were one of the hardest working teams in the league. I think we deserve a lot. Being around these guys every day, we worked so hard and we play so hard. We play the game the right way. We respect our opponents, and I think we deserve a lot more. It is all about going through ups and downs. Tonight was one of those nights we went through a down time. There are better games ahead of us. If we continue that heart and always work hard and respect everybody that we play then the sky is the limit for us.”
Thunder Guard Russell Westbrook on realizing the season is over:
“From the start of the season, we came in and tried to be the best team in this league. I think we did a good job of competing all year long. We fought so hard as a team. We all thought we could make that next step.”
On what the team can take away from this season:
“Just how tough this team is, both mentally and physically. We had a lot of guys step up for us all season long. We are tough, and I think we did a great job of showing that on the road throughout the season. We had one of the best road records in the league. We just stayed together and played tough.”
Thunder Forward Jeff Green on the season ending, how tough:
“It’s always tough you know, the season ending, we have nothing to be ashamed of. All season we played hard, we had a big increase from last year. We took the Laker’s, the defending champs, to game 6. So we have nothing to be ashamed of.”
On how to get better in the off season:
“We have to continue to work. Collectively. I think if we go in the off-season knowing this feeling that we have after this game, we will be hungry to get better. I think we will get better individually and bring that together in time for this team.”
On last second loss:
“Yeah, that’s been us all season. Battling. Sticking with the game plan. Staying with our stuff and getting stops when we need them. I mean that was a great game, the Laker’s played their heart out.”
Thunder Guard James Harden on last second loss:
“It is tough you know, losing on a basket like that, it is always tough. You know we came back in that game and everything and took the lead, and it just wasn’t enough.”
On the message this series sends to the NBA about OKC only getting better:
“Yes, I think we [have] a lot of talent and we played really hard. And we are working really hard so you know this wasn’t just a one year thing, you know we try to build and hopefully we will be back next year.”
On how to get better next year:
“Just keep working, you know, we got a bunch of young guys and we are just getting to know one another. You know and just keep working and getting better in the summer.”
By JEFF LATZKE, AP Sports Writer
One dominating performance by the defending NBA champions wasn’t enough to rattle Scott Brooks and his young Oklahoma City Thunder.
After appearing vulnerable during the first four games of their playoff series, the Los Angeles Lakers regained control with a blowout victory in Game 5 that gave them a 3-2 series lead and chased away talk they were a slow, aging bunch.
For an Oklahoma City roster made up almost entirely of players who’ve never experienced the postseason before, the threat of elimination is the latest test of the resiliency they have shown all season.
“We’re not down,” Brooks said Thursday. “Everybody’s not wearing a black uniform.”
Despite the 111-87 loss on Tuesday night in Los Angeles, Brooks and his players have reason for optimism. The Thunder won both of their home games in the series, including their own blowout victory in Game 4. They will return to the Ford Center on Friday night for a chance to force a decisive final game in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“I think everybody knows what’s at stake, and we’ll come out and we’ll play much better,” said Nick Collison, one of only three players in the Thunder’s regular rotation who’s been in the playoffs before. “We realize that the little things that we’ve done to get us to this point is what we need to do to have a chance against them.”
Brooks has had two full days to come up with a response to the Lakers’ decision to use Kobe Bryant to defend point guard Russell Westbrook but he said Thursday he’s not ready to reveal it. The move seemed like genius in Game 5, with Westbrook committing eight turnovers as Oklahoma City’s offense faltered.
“It’s just something that we’re going to have to show on the court,” Brooks said. “We have some things in mind that we have to do a better job of, but Russell has to stay with his game.
“It can never be Russell versus Kobe. If that’s the case, we’re going to be in trouble.”
While looking back at film of the game, Brooks said he realized that Bryant “guarded him but really didn’t guard him,” sagging off while tempting Westbrook to settle for jump shots instead of attacking the basket.
Westbrook didn’t handle it well the first time around but said he’s undaunted by the prospect of facing that type of defense again.
“It’s easier for me that way,” Westbrook said. “I can see what’s going on, make good passes to my teammates, find open guys and also look for my shot as well.”
Westbrook said he’s beyond the point in his career where he would be rattled by the prospect of going head-to-head against an NBA superstar. While he might have been had those moments last season as a rookie, Westbrook believes that he now plays no differently against Bryant or LeBron James than he would against Mike Conley or Nate Robinson.
“I don’t think he’s like the best defender in the NBA to where I’m like, ‘OK, Kobe’s guarding me now,’ and I tighten up,” Westbrook said.
The key to the Lakers finding success on defense has been limiting Oklahoma City’s transition game, and coach Phil Jackson said that even has an impact on whether Bryant can matchup against Westbrook.
“If it’s a game where we’re not making shots, and we have to get back to defense from missed shots, that changes everything up,” Jackson said. “Kobe’s not going to have Westbrook on him, so obviously he’s got to find the cross-match and to find Westbrook in that transition is different.”
Los Angeles will be trying to close out its third straight playoff series on the road, after clinching the Western Conference finals in Denver and winning the NBA title in Orlando last season.
“It’s all about emotion and adrenaline and doing everything you can to make sure you don’t get off to a bad start,” point guard Derek Fisher said. “So for us, it will be a matter of standing up in the face of that surge that’s going to come at the beginning of the game. You can expect it, there’s no doubt about it. And it’s just a matter of how prepared we are to stand up in it, face it, deal with it, and then pace the game in the way that works best for us.
“But it will be a night full of emotion, and we’ll have to be the team that keeps our emotions and our poise in check the most.”
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited
Lakers-Thunder Scouting Report
One of the major points of emphasis for us this series is our need to slow down their transition offensive production. We knew coming into this series that if we could keep them from having monster fastbreak nights and get them to play the majority of their offense in the half court that we would be in a much better position to win the series. Our goal is to have our offense flow in a balanced manner so that we are in a better position to get back on defense. If we take good shots from a balanced offense then it simply becomes a matter of effort to stop the transition attack of the Thunder. Our specific goal in transition defense is to get at least two players back in a tandem. One man needs to be in the middle around the free throw line so that that person can stop the ball. The second person needs to hustle back to the middle of the paint so he can take the first pass. In the attached video clip we executed this defensive tactic perfectly and stopped them from getting an easy basket. Once again, if we can make it difficult for them to score the majority of the time we will be in good shape.
Regster to Lakers Courtside Connection to read more.
Lakers-Thunder Injury Report
Ron Artest (sprained left thumb) will play.
Shannon Brown (sprained right thumb) will play.
Kobe Bryant (arthritis, right index finger) will play.
Andrew Bynum (left Achilles strain) is probable.
Jordan Farmar (strained left hamstring) is probable.
DJ Mbenga (retinal surgery, left eye) is out.
Sasha Vujacic (severe sprain, left ankle) is out.
Luke Walton (pinched nerve, back) is questionable.
Lakers-Thunder Game Notes
SEASON & SERIES NOTES; CONNECTIONS
The Lakers won the season series with Oklahoma City 3-1 after sweeping last
season’s series with the Thunder (3-0) for the second straight year, having gone
4-0 against the Thunder in 2007-08. This was the 5th consecutive season series
victory for the Lakers over the Thunder. The two teams have met 218 times but
just seven times since the Thunder relocated to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-
09 season. Los Angeles leads the all-time series 134-84. In their most recent
meeting, however, the Lakers lost to the Thunder 75-91 at the Ford Center,
snapping their 12-game win streak over the Thunder and marking their first loss
to Oklahoma City since the team’s relocation from Seattle. The Lakers are 13-2
in their last 15 games against Oklahoma City and have won 12 of their last 13
against the Thunder overall. On the road against the Thunder, the Lakers have
gone 8-2 in their last 10 overall. The Lakers have now played six times during
the regular season at Ford Center in Oklahoma City, going 0-2 against the New
Orleans Hornets while the team was temporarily relocated from 2005-07 but 3-1
against the Thunder. At home, the Lakers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games
against the Thunder and are 14-8 all-time against Oklahoma City at STAPLES
Center. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 26-12 against the
Thunder. In 2006-07, Kobe Bryant established a Lakers series record with 46
points 4/6/07 at KeyArena only to surpass it nine days later with 50 points
4/15/07 at home against the then Sonics. In those games, he surpassed the old
mark of 45 points established by himself in January of 2003 and Jerry West in
December of 1970. In 50 career games including 43 starts, Bryant is averaging
25.1 points against the Thunder.
LAKERS vs. OKLAHOMA CITY IN THE POSTSEASON
The Lakers and Thunder have met seven times in the postseason (1978, 1979, 1980, 1987, 1989, 1995 and 1998) with Los Angeles advancing on five occasions (1980, 1987, 1989, 1995, 1998). The Lakers have won their last five straight playoff series versus the Thunder. The Lakers are 1-1 in the First Round against Oklahoma City, defeating the Thunder in 1995 (3-1) but losing in 1978 (1-2). Los Angeles has gone 2-1 against the Thunder in the Conference Semifinals, winning in 1998 (4-1) and 1989 (4-0) but dropping the 1979 series (1-4). In Conference Finals matchups, the Lakers are 2-0, defeating the Thunder in both 1987 (4-0) and 1980 (4-1). Overall, the Lakers are 24-11 all-time against the Thunder in the postseason, going 15-2 at home and 9-9 on the road.
CLOSING IT OUT
Leading their First Round series with the Thunder 3-2, the Lakers will play their first close-out game of the 2010 Playoffs April 30 at Oklahoma City. Last season, with a 3-1 series lead entering Game 5 of the 2009 NBA Finals at Orlando, the Lakers defeated the Magic 99-86 to win their 15th NBA Championship. With the victory, the Lakers closed out an opponent on the FIRST attempt for the 6th time in their last seven opportunities. Last postseason, the Lakers closed out the Jazz, Nuggets and the Magic on the FIRST opportunity but needed two attempts to eliminate the Rockets from the Western Conference Semifinals. The Lakers Game 6 loss at Houston was just the THIRD time since 2001 that they have failed to close out an opponent when first given the chance (5/14/09 @ Houston, 5/2/06 @ Phoenix, 5/29/04 @ Minnesota). The Lakers have closed out an opponent on the FIRST try 17 times in their last 20 opportunities dating back to 2001. Under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers have closed out their opponent on the first attempt 17 times in 24 overall opportunities.
Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are 23-11 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 28 of their last 29 series when holding the opportunity to close- out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, the Lakers had not lost a series when having a close-out game since the 1993 First Round vs. Phoenix in which they led 2-0 before losing the next three.
LAKERS IN BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES (Includes NBA Finals series)
The Lakers are 68-29 in best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (62-28 Los Angeles, 6-1 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 64-34 in Game 1 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (60-31 Los Angeles, 4-3 Minneapolis)
When winning Game 1 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 56-7. (52-7 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 57-41 in Game 2 of best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (54-37 Los Angles, 3-4 Minneapolis)
When winning both Games 1 and 2 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 39-1 all-time. (38-1 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 58-40 in Game 3 of a best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (53-38 Los Angeles, 5-2 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 47-51 in Game 4 of a best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (44-47 Los Angeles, 3-4 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 49-30 in Game 5 of a best-of-seven series (any round) all-time. (45-28 Los Angeles, 4-2 Minneapolis)
When winning Game 5 of a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 41-7 all-time. (37-7 Los Angeles, 4-0 Minneapolis)
LAKERS IN GAME 5 OF A BEST-OF-SEVEN SERIES TIED 2-2
In best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, the Lakers are now 25-6 in Game 5 (any round) all-time. (22-6 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis)
When tied 2-2 in a best-of-seven series (any round), the Lakers are 22-8. (19-8 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis)
When winning Game 5 of a best-of-seven series tied at 2-2, the Lakers are 20-4 all-time. (17-4 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis)
The Lakers are now 18-0 all-time in HOME Game 5’s of a best-of-seven series tied at 2-2. (17-0 Los Angeles, 1-0 Minneapolis). In those series, the Lakers are 16-
1 all-time, with their only loss coming in the 1969 NBA Finals vs. Boston.
The Lakers have not lost a 2-2 best-of-seven series when winning Game 5 since the 1969 NBA Finals vs. Boston (14 in a row).
LAKERS IN GAME 6
This will be the Lakers 49th Game 6. The Lakers are 27-21 in Game 6 (any round) all-time. (24-18 Los Angeles, 3-3 Minneapolis)
In series that go at least six games, the Lakers are 35-13 all-time. (30-12 Los Angeles, 5-1 Minneapolis)
When winning Game 6,the Lakers are 24-3 all-time. (21-3 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis)
The Lakers most recent Game 6 victory came against the Denver Nuggets in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
When losing Game 6,the Lakers are 11-10 all-time. (9-9 Los Angeles, 2-1 Minneapolis).
Their two most recent series victories when losing Game 6 came in the 2000 Western Conference Finals with a Game 7 victory over the Trail Blazers in Los
Angeles and in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals with a Game 7 home victory over the Rockets.
When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 32-5 (any round) all-time (27-4 LosAngeles, 5-1 Minneapolis).
When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 21-16 in Game 6 (18-13 Los Angeles, 3-3 Minneapolis). Of their 16 losses, 11 have been on the road and five at home
(2006 vs. Phoenix, 1962 vs. Boston, 1961 vs. St. Louis, 1960 vs. St. Louis, 1954 vs. Syracuse).
When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 11-11 in Game 6 on the ROAD (11-10 Los Angeles, 0-1 Minneapolis).
The Lakers have closed out opponents on the road in two of their last three attempts: 5/29/09 @ DEN (W), 5/14/09 @ HOU (L), 5/16/08 @ UTAH (W).
With their 111-87 victory over Oklahoma City April 27th, the Lakers won in wire-to-wire fashion for the second time in their First Round series with the Thunder, having also led wire-to-wire in their 87-79 Game 1 victory on April 18th. The victory marks the 9th wire-to-wire victory of the 2009-10 season for the Lakers (7 regular, 2 playoff). Through the First Round of this year’s playoffs, there have been SIX wire-to-wire victories to date (games thru 4/27/10), with the Lakers posting TWO of them. The Lakers other wire-to-wire victories this season came 11/8 vs. NO (104-88), 11/28 @ GS (130-97), 12/6 vs. PHX (108-88), 1/5 vs. HOU (88-79), 1/10 vs. MIL (95-77), 2/10 @ UTAH (96-81) and 3/21 vs. WAS (99-92). Last season, the Lakers claimed 11 wire-to-wire victories (games in which they never trailed), posting nine during the regular season and two during the 2009 Playoffs (4/29 vs. Utah & 5/17 vs. Houston). Additionally, the Lakers were one of only two teams last season (Cleveland) to never lose in wire-to- wire fashion during the regular season. In the playoffs, however, the Lakers played two games in which they never led, falling twice to Houston in the Conference Semis (5/10/09 at HOU and 5/14/09 at HOU). This season, the Lakers have lost twice in wire-to-wire fashion (98-107 1/8/10 @ POR and 75-91 3/26/10 @ OKC).
BRYANT MOVES PAST JERRY WEST FOR 1st ON LAKERS ALL-TIME PLAYOFF SCORING LIST; 5th ON NBA’S ALL-TIME LIST
With a fade away jumper at the 8:58 mark of the third quarter April 22 at Oklahoma City, Kobe Bryant moved past Jerry West (4,457) for 1st on the Lakers all-time playoff scoring list and 5th on the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list. Last postseason, with 32 points 5/21 vs. Denver, Bryant (4,490) moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (4,070) for 2nd on the Lakers all-time playoff scoring list. Overall, in the 2009 Playoffs, Bryant moved past Larry Bird (3,897) for 6th, past John Havlicek (3,776) for 7th, past Hakeem Olajuwon (3,755) for 8th and past Earvin “Magic” Johnson (3,701) for 9th the NBA’s all-time playoff scoring list and 3rd on the Lakers franchise playoff scoring list. Next up on the all-time NBA list is Karl Malone (4th/4,761). Among all players with 2,500+ postseason points, only Michael Jordan (33.4), Jerry West (29.1), Elgin Baylor (27.0), Hakeem Olajuwon (25.9) and Dirk Nowitzki (25.5) have a higher postseason scoring average than Bryant (24.9).
JACKSON-LED TEAMS UNDEFEATED AFTER WINNING GAME 1
When Phil Jackson wins Game 1 of any playoff series, best-of-five or best-of-seven, his teams are 44-0, having gone 24-0 with Chicago and 20-0 with the Lakers.
JACKSON-LED TEAMS A TOUGH OUT WHEN LEADING A PLAYOFF SERIES
When holding a series lead of any kind, Phil Jackson, currently in his 19th postseason as a head coach, is 51-1 all-time. Overall, Jackson owns a 212-93 postseason record, with his 212 victories being the most of any NBA coach in playoff history. Additionally, Jackson’s 305 career playoff games are also the most of any coach in playoff history, while his .695 postseason win percentage is tops among all coaches as well. Currently at 101 playoff victories with the Lakers, Jackson is ONE win shy of Pat Riley (102) for most playoff victories in Lakers franchise history. With the Lakers 2009 NBA Championship, Jackson (10 as head coach, 2 as player) surpassed legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach for most championships won by a head coach while also passing fellow Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell (11) for most championships won by a player/coach. Should the Lakers reach the NBA Finals this season, it will be the 13th time he has taken a team to the final round, tying him with NHL coaching legend Scotty Bowman for most trips to the finals in a major pro sport played in the U.S.
THIRTY-ONE TOO MANY
In their 96-101 loss at Oklahoma City April 22, the Lakers attempted a playoff franchise-high tying 31 three-point field goals (10-31, .323) for the 3rd time in franchise history, falling to 0-3 in those games. The Lakers shot 9-of-31 (.290) on three-pointers 5/25/09 in a 101-120 loss at Denver in Game 4 of the 2009 Conference Finals. Los Angeles also attempted 31 three-point field goals (10-31, .323) 5/24/02 in a 90-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings in Game 3 of the 2002 Conference Finals.
OPENING ROUND HISTORY (Los Angeles era only)
The Lakers have opened the Playoffs in the FIRST Round 38 times and in the SECOND round on seven occasions (1962, 63, 65, 66, 80, 82, 83) since moving to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season. The Lakers have won 35-of-45 opening playoff series over that span and are now 135-69 (.662) in opening round games. In Game 1’s of their first postseason series, the Lakers are now 34-12. When the Lakers have had home-court advantage in the opening round, they have posted a 32-2 series record. When winning Game 1 in the opening round, the Lakers have a series record of 32-1. Their lone loss came to the Phoenix Suns (2-3) in 1993. With their victory over the Thunder in Game 1 of the First Round on April 18, Phil Jackson-led teams (Bulls and Lakers) improved to 15-0 when opening their postseason at home.
HOW CHAMPIONS HAVE FARED THE NEXT SEASON
Since the NBA’s inaugural season in 1946-47, 20 of 63 winners of the NBA Finals have followed their championship seasons by winning the NBA Finals. Among the other 43 teams, nine lost in the NBA Finals, 17 lost in the Conference Finals, 10 lost in the Conference Semifinals, five lost in the First Round and two failed to make the playoffs.
THREE OR MORE CONSECUTIVE VISITS TO THE FINALS
Since the NBA’s inaugural season in 1946-47, 11 teams have advanced to the NBA Finals three or more consecutive seasons with the Lakers doing so on five separate occasions (1952-54; 1968-79; 1982-85; 1987-89; 2000-02). Among the other teams to advance to three or more consecutive Finals, only the Celtics did so more than three straight seasons (New York: 1951-53; Boston: 1958-66; Boston: 1984-87; Detroit: 1988-90; Chicago: 1990-92; Chicago: 1996-98).