Usually the basketball games, especially, at major championships like the NBA, play out well as per expectation. But every once in a while there is a shocking moment when things don’t go as expected. An underdog team pulling a victory over a mass-favorite is a classic example of an NBA upset that happens more often than one might expect.  

The LA Lakers is no stranger to facing upsets at the games.

The LA Lakers is one of the best teams to play in the NBA games. Not only does it have a strong player line-up, smart strategies and a winning history that hardly any team can match but it also has millions of fans rooting for it. More often than not, the LA Lakers team puts up a tough, entertaining game for its fans across the world.

However, there have been those rare moments in the Lakers’ history when the fans have been let down. We look at the biggest upsets during a game throughout the seventy-four year history of the LA Lakers.

Biggest Upsets during a LA Lakers Game  

The LA Lakers has a long standing history of over 74 years. The LA Lakers, together with the Celtics, have the honor of winning the most number of NBA Championship titles. It has seventeen NBA Championship titles to its name.

Despite being the home of some legendary players like Bryant and Johnson, the team has faced several upsetting moments as well. The biggest LA Lakers upsets during a game include –

Boston Celtics and LA Lakers (in 1968 – 1969)

The 1960s was the golden period for the Boston Celtics where they won 8 NBA Championship titles, however, this year was different. The team was not in its top-form and its key players were also pegged to be at a low level of fitness. Everybody knew that the Celtics were not in their usual form. On the other hand, the LA Lakers were in top-form at this time and had added new players to their line-up. It was also during the same period that Wilt Chamberlain joined the Lakers.

Everybody very much expected the game, and the season, to turn into the Lakers’ favor; however, they were in for a surprise. While the Lakers started off-well, enjoying a 2-0 lead in the Finals, it all went downhill from there.

The Celtics won the next two games. The teams won one game each in the following games leading to a seventh, final game. Played in LA, the Lakers’ home, the Celtics won the game by two points despite the opponents enjoying a home court advantage. It was one of the biggest upsets in the LA Lakers’ history and it was also one of the most unexpected game results ever.

LA Lakers and Detroit Pistons (in 2003 – 2004)

The turn of the century, especially, the early 2000s belonged to the LA Lakers. They won two NBA titles in three years. It was also the time when legendary players like Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal where playing for the LA Lakers. Despite all things in their favor, the team performed poorly all throughout the season. It was pegged at a low average of just 81.8 PPG all through the season.

On the other hand, nobody expected the Detroit Pistons to go far in the championship. They had no strong players or no visible advantage over mass-favorites like the LA Lakers. However, shocking everyone, the Detroit Pistons won the NBA championship in just five games. It turned out to be a big upset for the LA Lakers’ fans who were expecting the team to win the trophy.

Houston Rockets and LA Lakers (in 1980 – 1981)

The LA Lakers had won the last NBA Championship title and were in top-form. With superstar players such as Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it was no surprise that everyone considered them to be strong defenders of the trophy. Fans were expecting a repeat performance of last year. However, not many were prepared for what happened next.

The Houston Rockets had fared pretty bad in the entire season. They made it into the playoffs with a slim margin of 40-42 and nobody had high hopes from them of surviving the playoffs. The Houston Rockets and LA Lakers met for 3 games and the Rockets stunned everyone by winning two out of three games. It is still considered to be one of the biggest upsets at a game for the LA Lakers; not only did no one expect things to turn out this way but it also effectively stopped the Lakers from qualifying for the finals.


There have been several moments in basketball history where strong teams have been stumped by underdogs. The LA Lakers, despite being one of the strongest NBA teams, is no stranger to failing at the hands of underdog teams.

Some of the biggest upsets in a LA Lakers game include their 1969 games with the Boston Celtics where despite a home court advantage the LA Lakers lost by 2 points. The Houston Rockets upset the LA Lakers in 1981 when they rose from the ashes to stop their march into the NBA finals. The poor performance all throughout the 2003 – 2004 season of the NBA also upset LA Lakers’ fan since the team was considered to be a strong contender at that time.