Kobe, Pau and the best couples of the Lakers: Magic-Kareem, Kobe-Shaq…

The great teams always have, obviously, great players. Many of them ended defined by a couple of superstars who achieved chemistry and the lofty peak of sports level that launched those projects into infinity. special players, generationalwho meet in teams that, obviously, are usually much more than that. That they: It has to be like this to win championships. sometimes there are third paws that form the support of the big three. But sometimes there is a clear hierarchy and dualand there they are as examples Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls, John Stockton and Karl Malone with the Utah Jazz, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant with the WarriorsBill Russell and Bob Cousy in the first dynasty of the Celtics…

For many, Jordan and Pippen were the perfect example. Together they won six rings in two threepeats (1991-93 and 1996-98) and they stacked some incredible numbers together: a 74.4% win rate in normal season (514-177) and 69.6% in the playoffs (117-51). Jordan averaged 31.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists in their years together. Pippen 17.1 6.4 and 5.3. In addition, between the two they added 4.5 robberies on average.

los angeles lakers, the rings franchise in all eras and all 17 in total, the same as the Celtics, can also associate their greatest glory times with some absolutely legendary couples. One of them, in fact, at the height at least of the aforementioned, the divineof the Bulls. These are the six main ones that have marked almost all the best moments of the franchiseall after that prehistory with five titles in Minneapolis (1948-54) between NBL, BAA and, finally, NBA.


whatThe best couple ever? Probably. the kings of showtimethe team that played eight Finals between 1980 and 1989. In total and in their careers (not always together), Kareem and Magic racked up nine MVPs from normal season and five from Finals, 21 all star and 19 inclusions in the Best Quintet. Together they won five rings (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988) and revolutionized basketball. They won 73.% of their matches (506-179), which stood at an incredible 70.1% in playoffs (110-47). His side by side averages: 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 11.2 assists for Magic. And 20.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2 blocks from a Kareem who squeezed his prime in the first half of the eighties and after the arrival of Magic in LA


In 1996 the Lakers prepared their plan to return to being a dominant team. In the draft, stole to Kobe Bryant, almost a covert operation to take away a boy who was not yet of legal age and who had impressed the franchise in private training sessions in which his potential was crystal clear. The Hornets agreed to draft Kobe and trade him to the Lakers in exchange for Vlade Divac. In parallel, they captured the great piece of the market, a Shaquille O’Neal who ended his contract and no longer understood himself with the Orlando Magic. The Lakers gave him $121 million for seven years. And the rest is history.

kobe ​​and shaq fell three times in playoffs (two semifinals and one Western final) before the arrival of Phil Jackson. With the zen masterbecame unstoppable during the threepeat 2000-02. Later, the disagreements between them were so rude that they ended in a hilarious divorce. shaq he left in 2004, after losing the Final against the Pistons. But together, guard and center won 72.9% of the games they played (336-125) and 63.9% in the playoffs (76-43). Kobe averaged 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists. Shaquille 26.8, 11.8 and 2.5 blocks. In the year of the first ring, they signed a thunderous regular phase (67 victories). In the second, they were on the verge of signing (2001) the perfect playoffs: 15-1 in total, the only defeat in the first game of the Finals against Allen Iverson’s Sixers. Before, eleven victories in a row. After that skid, four to go things clear and secure the title.


The Lakers of the 1971-72 season are one of the great teams not only in the history of the franchise but also in the NBA. They won 69 games, then an absolute record until the 1995-96 Bulls added 72 (later, the Warriors reached 73-9). Those 69 are still, in any case, the best mark of the Lakers. And they also chained 33 consecutive wins, which is still a total record in the League. And all the way to the franchise’s first ring in Los Angeles and its first in 18 years, dating back to 1954. They could have been even bigger together, but they blew it away (with Elgin Baylor rounding out an incredible big three) in the 1969 Finals, in which they failed to break the curse against the Celtics despite the fact that they had a 2-0 and a 3-2 in favor. They fell in the seventh game, in the Forum. In 1971-72, Chamberlain was already 35 years old but he played at an exceptional level, as anchor in defense and stabilizer of a team without Baylor but with West, Gail Goodrich… and Pat Riley, later the mythical coach of the showtime.


Kobe won three rings with Shaquille and then became entangled in a few years of many points and many problems, with threats of leaving the Lakers and the obsession with surpassing shaq, which he first won without his former partner, in the Miami Heat and at the pace of Dwyane Wade. It took Phil Jackson to return, Kobe to evolve into a more collective and positive leader and for another star to arrive, one to complement the impatient franchise player: Pau Gasol. Together, they played three Finals, the first lost a few months after the transfer by Pau, against the Celtics in 2008. But then they linked two titles in back to back, 2009 and 2010 against Magic and some Celtics of which they took revenge with, in addition, the first seventh game won by the Lakers against their most hated rival in a Finals. In the 2008-09 season, Kobe and Pau led a team that won 65 games, one of the best marks in the organization’s history. Together, they represented the Lakers in three All-Star games: 2009, 2010 and 2011. In normal season they played 357 games hand to hand: Pau Gasol averaged 17.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists. Kobe 26.5, 5.4 and 5.1.


The last to arrive but a couple that proved devastating in the 2019-20 season, in which the Lakers won their ring number 17 and the first since 2010, after the worst crisis in franchise history. The team won 73.2% of games in the year of confinement (52-19) and swept the Florida bubble playoffs, where they did not have to play a seventh game. In that course, LeBron averaged 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists, a category in which he led the NBA for the first time. And Davis 26.1, 9.3, 3.2 and 2.3 blocks. In the playoffs his dominance was total: 27.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.8 assists from LeBron. And 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists from Davis. The two above 56% in shots and 37% in triples. A barbarity which earned a ring for a team that was far from favorites when the season began. Since that peak, things have not gone well: injuries, anxieties when building the rotation and the serious mistake of adding Russell Westbrook to the project have prevented the pair from ever being relevant in the playoffs again. LeBron, yes, has become the top scorer in NBA history with the purple and gold uniform.


They were not champions together, but they deserve a place on the list. Jerry West and Elgin Baylor formed a legendary couple who could make history in a big way… but they didn’t stop running into the Celtics: Finals lost in 1962, 63, 65, 66 and 68. Two of them by 4-3. When the disaster of 1969 came, another cursed Game 7, he was already on the Wilt Chamberlain team. And in the title year, 1971-72, Baylor folded after nine games and didn’t have a memorable season. In 1962, a mistake by Frank Selvy in a comfortable shot could change the seventh game of the Final (110-107) and the history of a rivalry in which the Lakers they saw everything green until 1985. So much so that Jerry West came to literally hate that color. In that 1961-62 season, with 80 games, the Lakers won 54 (54-26). Baylor averaged 38.3 points, 18.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists. And a younger West (number 2 in the draft in 1960, after moving to LA), 30.8, 7.9 and 5.4. In the playoffs, the forward was at 38.6, 17.7 and 3.6 and the shooting guard at 31.5, 6.8 and 4.4. They could have been much higher on the list… If the Celtics hadn’t existedclear.

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