A single of the most unforgettable video games in Los Angeles Lakers background is Recreation 7 of the 2000 Western Convention Finals towards the Portland Trail Blazers. Down 15 factors with 10 minutes to go, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant led the Lakers on a run that would give L.A. the series acquire, and finally the championship to go with it.
Enthusiasts — and several associated with the Lakers at that time — phone that game the turning point for a franchise that had been unable to get over the hump, and the start out a dynasty. Coming back again from 15 minutes in the fourth quarter, specifically in an period that was known for its sluggish tempo, is no straightforward task.
And had the Lakers not been able to comprehensive it, it could have changed the background of the staff and probably the league. O’Neal, in certain, believes a Recreation 7 reduction that 12 months could have been the conclude for him in L.A., saying that he would’ve been the scapegoat, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:
“I know I undoubtedly would have been the scapegoat, if we didn’t acquire that game. I know I possibly would have been long gone. Oh yeah, correct absent.”
Even though investing O’Neal following the 2000 NBA Playoffs sounds untimely, it’s vital to don’t forget that the 1999-2000 period was now his fourth with the Lakers. In the 3 a long time prior, they missing in the Convention Finals the moment and the 2nd spherical twice. One more reduction prior to the NBA Finals may possibly have very perfectly prompted transform.
O’Neal was also his most dominant at this time, and nonetheless had several a long time left on his contract. A trade for O’Neal would have introduced the Lakers an unbelievable haul, and it would’ve commenced the Bryant-led period previously than expected.
Even though this possibly wouldn’t have been a superior trade presented what we know now, it serves as both equally a terrific hypothetical and a reminder about championship home windows in the NBA.
O’Neal and Bryant playing collectively for eight a long time and profitable 3 championships collectively would be unparalleled right now. Groups only don’t remain collectively as extensive in this period of basketball as they applied to.
Nonetheless, a to some degree unbelievable 15-point comeback not going on simply could have changed all the things. It would have place O’Neal on a diverse roster and presented a 21-12 months-old his have staff, major a single of the NBA’s premier franchises.
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