‘Los Angeles Lakers 2000-2001’
Subject: Los Angeles Lakers
Runtime: 55 minutes
The 2000-2001 Los Angeles Lakers were one of the best teams in NBA history. They went 15-1 during the 2001 NBA playoffs and won their 2nd title in a row. Fueled by the Most Dominant Player ever and rising superstar Kobe Bryant, the Lakers dominated every opponent that came into their path. With the connection to the Chicago Bulls with their head coach in Phil Jackson, the comparisons to the 90s Chicago Bulls were plentiful.
The documentary gets into the new additions to the team for the year in Horace Grant and Isaiah Rider. Derek Fisher was injured to start the season and Shaq and Kobe’s relationship was just starting to strain at this point. Shaq was injured and was slow to recover and wasn’t the hardest worker. This upset Kobe as he felt that Shaq should have given a much better effort. It is now known that Kobe was one of the hardest working players to have ever played in the NBA.
To start the season, Kobe Bryant was a man on a mission and was much better than he had been previously. All of the flashes everyone had seen previously came together and made for a magical start to the season. It also examines Kobe’s issues with trying to take games over himself while forgetting to include his teammates. This lead to Kobe and Shaq both making comments to the media which didn’t help anyone and started the kindling of their feud. The Lakers as a team didn’t have the strong start to the season as they had hoped.
Derek Fisher’s return was a surprise spark for the team and helped them improve. An injury by Kobe in March also helped the team have to resort playing team basketball again. Kobe saw this from the bench while out with an injury and how much it helped them win convinced him to come back and play more team basketball than he had been previously. Kobe came back from injury with a much different attitude which helped them dominate the end of the regular season.
The Lakers matched up against the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the 2001 playoffs, the team they had beaten in dramatic fashion in the 2000 Western Conference Finals. After a competitive Game 1, the Lakers pulled through in the 4th quarter to take Game 1. The Lakers also won Game 2 which even featured Shaquille O’Neal shooting a technical free throw as a sign of the dominance of the Lakers in that game. Game 3 and Game 4 were also wins by the Lakers leading to them sweeping the Trailblazers in the first round.
The Lakers opponents in the second round of the playoffs were the Sacramento Kings who had gotten out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. The Kings didn’t have anyone that could possible stop Shaq and he completely dominated them in Games 1 & 2. Shaq wasn’t the only contributor though. Rick Fox stepped it up heavily on defense and helped lock down Peja Stojakovic. Game 3 wasn’t much different than Games 1 & 2 and the Lakers picked up another win. Kobe Bryant had his best game so far in the playoffs in Game 4 when Shaq found himself in foul trouble. Kobe ended up with 48 points and the Lakers won Game 4 to sweep the second round of the playoffs. They were now 7-0 in the 2001 NBA Playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs were the Lakers opponents in the third round of the playoffs. Game 1 featured Kobe continuing his great play and taking over another playoff game. He ended up with 45 points and another Lakers win. Tim Duncan was playing ridiculously well in Game 2 and was causing frustrations among the Lakers team and coaching staff. Phil Jackson got ejected, but it seemed to be the spark the Lakers needed as it helped motivate them to a 9-2 run. This spark and the new momentum helped them wrap up the game and head back home up 2-0 on the Spurs. Game 3 and Game 4 were both huge blowouts in favor of the Lakers resulting in another sweep. Still not having lost a game, the Lakers were 11-0 to start the NBA Playoffs.
Their next opponent was Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Lakers had a chance to go 15-0 in the NBA Playoffs which would have been the first time a team didn’t lose a single game during the playoffs. This all came to an end in Game 1. Allen Iverson played at a ridiculously high level and almost single-handedly won the game for the 76ers. The Lakers made a great comeback fueled by the play of Tyronne Lue, but ultimately came up short in overtime. Game 2 featured the 76ers competing heavily with the Lakers yet again, but the Lakers eventually figured out how to beat the 76ers. Shaq recorded an NBA Finals record, 8 blocks, and lead the Lakers to winning Game 2. The city of Philadelphia was heavily excited about their first NBA Finals home game in years, but Kobe playing great basketball didn’t leave them much to be excited for. The Lakers wrapped up Game 3 in Philadelphia to take the 2-1 series lead. Game 4 features huge contributions from everyone on the team with the role players making a big impact. The Lakers went up 3-1 with a chance to clinch the title in Game 5 in Philadelphia.
The Lakers dominated Game 5 from start to finish and won their second NBA Finals Championship in a row. They finished with an undefeated away-game record for the entirety of the playoffs and also finished with the best record in NBA Finals history.