Even though with the Lakers you can always expect some nerve-jangling moments, no one can deny that the season-to-date has been amazing so far. There have been some emotional ups and downs – noted for the death of Kobe Bryant and topped off by the stoppage due to the pandemic.
However, this season will also be noted as the moment the components brought together that ought to fire the team to the top are showing their worth. The win percentage before the stoppage stood at .778 and was good enough to put this team in the top five of all-time in franchise history.
Here we offer a reminder of the ten best games played in the regular season – before this strange time kicked in.
Lakers versus the Sacramento Kings (February 1st 2020)
This game was memorable for all the right and wrong reasons. This was the first win since the death of Kobe Bryant and there was an immense wave of emotion crashing through the team. The first game was dreadful, as the Lakers went down at home to the Portland Trail Blazers – it was thought that playing this game did not feel right. It was like no one wanted to be out there.
However, this return against the Kings was a release of all the frustration and no little pain. By the end of the game, the Lakers racked up 130 points – and it was a team score. 58 points came from the bench and there seven players in double figures.
You may argue that the opponents were inferior and they were no match for the Lakers. This is true – but this isn’t why this is one of the great games of the season. It was an example of emotional resilience. It was the return of a team of players who came together to offer tribute to their colleague by playing their best game.
Lakers versus the New Orleans Pelicans (November 27th 2019)
AD returned to New Orleans for the first time since he was traded off-season to the Lakers – and he definitely had something to prove. He wanted to show the Lakers that they had made the right decision by making the trade. And boy did he prove his point – well 41 of them to be exact. There were nine rebounds and three steals. He must have felt amazing after the match – he even through in a block to add to the party.
It is not that the Lakers pulled off a win when it was not expected, it is that a signing proved himself and showed such heart that made this a great game.
Lakers versus the Dallas Mavericks (November 1st 2019)
Keeping our philosophy of choosing games with classic ingredients rather than out and out wins, we select the game with the craziest overtime win. Thanks to Danny Green pulling off a just-in-time buzzer-beating three-pointer, the game was sent into extra time. We loved the game because for the first time in a long time we realised that this group of players wasn’t going to crumble when the game looked tight and difficult. The team demonstrated they knew how to win – pulling together and using team spirit to win out.
It was also a game that matched the new kid on the superstar block Doncic against the undisputed (so far) king of the NBA, LeBron James. It was Doncic that was the ingredient for Dallas that meant the game ran close. However, James showed his class – whenever he had the chance to show off his talent and skill he did.
Lakers versus Milwaukee Bucks (March 6th 2020)
Again it was a moment in this game that sets this apart. It was the moment that Giannis mimed putting on LeBron’s crown – referencing his belief that he was going to take the MVP from James this year. But not if LeBron James had anything to do with it – as he helped himself to 37 points. This is not to underestimate the contribution by Davis of 30 points, but it was the pride and determination that led to LeBron answering in the best way possible.
The game was tied at halftime but the Lakers pulled away in the second half and acted as a massive confidence booster for the Lakers – as the Bucks are likely the only other reasonable contenders in the seven-game series.
Lakers versus Boston Celtics (February 23 2020)
It was a win against the Celtics – is this not enough to make it onto the list. They are a top Eastern team and the Lakers won by just 2 points. OK – a historic victory does not a great game make – though the tight margins certainly helped. What was more important was that this was a 34 point turnaround from the meeting in January when the Lakers should have been competitive but were not.
Lakers versus the LA Clippers (March 8th 2020)
The Lakers and the Clippers were obvious contenders for the championship when viewed on paper before the season. They also fought each other for players in the offseason and there was a lot of chat traded away from the court. So, imagine the feeling when the Lakers win for the first time against the Clippers – a classic moment for a team fired up by recent good form and a desire to put the other team in their place.
Most impressive was that this was another win in one week after beating Milwaukee. This was the week when it felt like the many different components that were meant to save the Lakers came good.