Even when the Golden State Warriors have been winning championships, they always seem to get the Los Angeles Lakers’ best. The two teams share a state–albeit not an arena–and are jockeying for popularity in the Western Conference.
As the two teams get set to meet, we look at the top 10 moments in their rivalry:
10. Thompson stumps for playoff matchup
Klay Thompson, a two-time champion with the Warriors, believes that the league would benefit from both teams matching up in the playoffs. “We deserve that,” Thompson told The Athletic about a potential playoff matchup. “I think in the Bay, we deserve Warriors and Lakers to be there at the same time
9. Ball gets a taste of Warriors-Lakers
Rookie point guard Lonzo Ball and the Lakers took the defending champions to overtime, before falling 127-123 in a late November 2017 matchup. Stephen Curry tallied 13 points in overtime, as the Lakers tried to continue a tradition for Steve Kerr. The Golden State head coach has lost one game each year in Staples Center since becoming head coach.
8. Lakers reach NBA Finals in 1973
Before falling to the New York Knicks in the 1973 NBA Finals, the Lakers beat the Warriors in a 5-game series in the Western Finals. Los Angeles surged to a 128-118 win in Game 5 to meet New York in the Finals.
7. Lakers run up score in 1987
During the Lakers’ heyday, they played the Warriors multiple times in the playoffs. In the 1987 season, the Lakers captured a commanding 3-0 lead in the Western semis, courtesy of a dynamic offensive explosion. Five players scored 17-or-more points, including 23 and 19 from Mychal Thompson and Michael Cooper, respectively, off the bench. The Lakers cruised, 133-108.
6. Lakers, Warriors move to California
Part of a great rivalry is proximity, and both franchises got their start in the 1940’s. The Lakers, however, did not move to Los Angeles until the 1960 season, which allowed both teams to share the state of California. The Warriors were previously known as the San Francisco Warriors when the moved from Philadelphia in 1962.
5. Lakers blitz Warriors
Even though the Warriors were on their way to a 73-win season, the Lakers dominated a Sunday afternoon matchup in March 2016. The Lakers outscored the Warriors in three of the four quarters, and Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell combined for 46 points.
4. Warriors sweep Lakers in 1967
Formerly the San Francisco Warriors, the organization notched a three-game sweep over the Lakers in 1967. In the most closely contested third game, the Warriors grabbed a 112-105 win to move on to the Western Finals. That has been the only playoff series win between the two clubs.
3. Magic Johnson seals series for Lakers
In the 1991 Western Conference semi-finals, the Lakers and Warriors met again in what amounted to a 5-game Lakers’ win. Game 5 was no gimme, though, as the Lakers needed overtime to clinch the series. Magic Johnson delivered a vintage performance, erupting for a triple-double–28 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 assists. James Worthy also added 25 points.
2. Barry, Wilkes force Game 7
In the 1977 Western Conference semi-finals, the Warriors were able to overcome an early deficit and force a Game 7. Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes combined to score 47 points and force a decisive Game 7.
1. Lakers edge Warriors
In the 1977 Western Conference semi-finals, the Lakers got past the Warriors in a 7-game epic. The Warriors had come back to tie the series 2-2 following Lakers’ wins in the first two games. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar outdueled Rick Barry by scoring 36 points and grabbing 26 rebounds in a 97-84 Lakers win.
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