As one of the greatest teams of NBA, Los Angeles Lakers have great competitions with some other teams. Among them, we choose 3 top rivals of Lakers.
Let’s find out who they are and know more about them.
3. Lakers vs Spurs: A Rivalry Built on Contrast
The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs are two of the most storied franchises in the NBA. Both teams have a combined 22 NBA Championships and a lot of the time, had to go through one another to win. Their rivalry dates back to the 1980s when George Gervin’s Spurs would square off against the “Showtime” Lakers with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy.
The 1980s Lakers won all of their post season matchups with the Spurs, sweeping them 3 out of the 4 meetings. It was not until the mid-1990s that the Spurs managed to compete with the Lakers and it was because of their twin tower duo in David Robinson and Tim Duncan that they were able to do so. The Spurs met the Lakers twice in the playoffs in the 1990s, winning both times.
However, their rivalry did not really intensify until after the Spurs won their first title in 1999. The Lakers and Spurs would meet every year in the playoffs from 2001 to 2004, with LA coming out on top three times out of the four (2001, 2002, 2004).
With the departure of Shaquille, the Lakers were heavily weakened and the two teams would not meet again until 2008. From 2003-2007, San Antonio would win three championships, establishing them as a five-star organization.
The Lakers reemerged as title contenders in 2008 and both teams met again in the Conference Finals, with LA winning the series in five. Their next playoff meeting took place in 2013 when the Spurs swept the Lakers without Kobe due to injury.
After all their battles, the Lakers are the only franchise with a positive record over San Antonio (as of the 2019-20 season), leading the overall series 121-112, as well as a 34-22 lead in their playoff match-ups.
2. Lakers vs Clippers: A City Derby
When two teams represent the same city and play in the same sport, you are going to see a rivalry with people being loyal to one team or the other. Many people know about the Subway Series in Baseball between the Yankees and the Mets. Basketball has its own Hallway Series between the Lakers and Clippers.
The two teams had their first meeting in the Hallway Series on November 24, 1984. In their first-ever game, the Lakers defeated the Clippers by five points with the final score of 108-103. Every game that the Lakers and Clippers played against one another was during the normal season. They never met in the playoffs or finals.
During the normal season, they played each other 159 times since their first game in 1984. The Lakers have won about two-thirds of those games walking away with 104 victories against the Clippers. The biggest win streak from the Lakers against the Clippers occurred between 1997-2000 when the Lakers won 16 games in a row over the span of three years. The Clippers had their win streak against the Lakers from 2014-2016 when they won 11 straight games against the Lakers.
The last game where the Lakers and Clippers met happened on the 22nd of December in 2020. The Clippers won by seven points with a final score of 116-109. That last game in December started a new win streak for The Clippers.
What is interesting has to do with the history of the Clippers because they did not always represent Los Angeles. They started off representing Buffalo in 1970. When they played out of Buffalo, they were known as the Buffalo Braves. The Braves didn’t change their name to the Clippers until the end of the 1970s when they moved to San Diego.
The San Diego Clippers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers on October 24, 1978, by 11 points with a final score of 124-113. The Lakers didn’t always play for Los Angeles either. The Lakers originally started in Minnesota. Since the Clippers were representing San Diego in the ’70s, that doesn’t count as part of the Hallway Series.
The Clippers moved to L.A. in 1984 and have had their rivalry with the Lakers ever since. While the Lakers have won games more often, the Clippers have shown they can hold their own against the Lakers.
1. Lakers vs Celtics: Classic Rivalry of NBA History
In sports, rivalries between players and teams are common. When both teams meet, bragging rights are on the line for whoever wins the next game or the next championship. It’s no different when you are talking about the Lakers and Celtics.
The first time the two teams played against each other was in November of 1948. The first night the two teams met, the Celtics won with 22 more points than the Lakers. Between then and now, the Lakers and Celtics have played against each other 367 times. Some games were during the regular season and some games were during the playoffs.
Of the 367 times they played against each other, 293 of those games happened during the regular season. The Celtics have defeated the Lakers 161 times while the Lakers have won the remaining 132 games that occurred during group stages.
The remaining 74 games happened after the regular season with 12 games occurring in the NBA Finals. When it comes to games that only happened after the original season, the Celtics have still won more times than the Lakers by winning 43 of their post-season games. The remaining 31 games were won by the Lakers. The 74 games could have been playoff games and final games but now we will look at the results when the Celtics and Lakers met in the NBA Finals.
Between 1959 and 1984, every time the two teams met in the NBA finals, the Celtics walked away winning the four games that were required. In 1985, the two teams would meet again but that year, the Lakers would win four games of the finals with Celtics only winning two.
After 1985, they would meet three more times in the finals and the Lakers won two of those three NBA finals. The last time, the two teams played in the NBA Finals against each other was in 2010 with the Lakers winning 4 out of 7 games. The Lakers and Celtics continue to meet in games today. The last time they played a season game against one another was on January 30, 2021. In that game, the Lakers won by one point 96-95.
What will happen in their next game against one another? What will happen the next time they meet in the Finals? Basketball fans will have to wait and find out.