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The Lakers surged past the Baltimore Bullets in the division finals, behind West's record-setting Wilt arrives Wilt Chamberlain played for Los Angeles for five seasons during the late s and early s.
He was an integral part of their —72 team that is considered one of the best in NBA history. They won the first game behind Jerry West's 53 points,  and had a 3—2 lead after five.
Owner Jack Kent Cooke brought in Bill Sharman as head coach,  and Elgin Baylor announced his retirement early in the season after realizing that his legs were not healthy enough. Los Angeles took the first game by three points, but New York won the series in five games.
Building "Showtime" During the —74 seasonthe team was hampered by the loss of West, who played only 31 games before his legs gave out. Following the season, West retired due to contract disagreements with Cooke, and filed a suit for unpaid back wages. After missing the playoffs in the —75 seasonthe Lakers acquired Kareem Abdul-Jabbarwho had won three league MVP's by that time. Abdul-Jabbar had his fourth MVP season in —76leading the league in rebounding, blocked shots, and minutes played.
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In the first two minutes of the first game of the —78 season, Abdul-Jabbar punched Bucks center Kent Benson for an overly aggressive elbow and broke his hand. The team's starting power forward, Kermit Washingtonwho was averaging Once they adjusted, his passing became a key part of Los Angeles' offense. Johnson won the Finals MVP award, after starting at center for the injured Abdul-Jabbar in game six, and tallying 42 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists.
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However, Kevin McHale 's hard clothesline foul of Lakers forward Kurt Rambis on a fast break is credited as a turning point of the series. Houston won the series when Ralph Sampson hit a foot jumper as time expired in game five at The Forum.
Green into the starting lineup, and acquired Mychal Thompson from the Spurs. Looking to make good on Riley's promise in the —88 seasonthe Lakers took their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title with a 62—20 record. They swept the Spurs in the first round of the Western Conference Finals before pulling out a tough seven-game series win over the Utah Jazz led by youngsters Karl Malone and John Stockton.L.A Lakers, 2010 Champions NBA - VOSTFR
In their seventh trip to the Finals in nine years, they met the Detroit Pistons. In the —89 seasonLos Angeles won 57 games and their eighth consecutive Pacific Division crown. They swept the through the playoffs defeating PortlandSeattleand Phoenix.
The Lakers still cruised through the Pacific Division, winning their ninth consecutive division crown with a 63—19 record.
Bryant, speaking at the Lakers' annual "All-Access" event at Staples Center on Monday, said they have "a determination to figure it out. They will figure it out. So, enjoy the journey because we'll be champions before you know it, and then we'll just be laughing at all the Warrior fans who all of the sudden came out of nowhere.
They were struggling, Bron got the ball, took control, decided to start playing point, doing everything, doing everything.
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Editor's Picks LeBron 'battling' when to defer or dominate "That's the challenge I've been kind of battling with since the season started," James said after scoring a game-high 38 against the Pacers. Since then, the Lakers have stabilized and steadily climbed the standings, ranking No. James, who turns 34 this month, is averaging Bryant retired in but has stayed connected to some of the Lakers. He has deep friendships with Jeanie Buss, the Lakers governor, and Pelinka, who used to be his agent during his playing days.
He also is tied to the Lakers' young core, working out with several players in the summertime. Now he watches those young pieces try to mesh with James, his longtime peer and sometimes rival, and is seeing the process play out. He's been able to deal with that gracefully.
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I think the difference here is that you have a collection of players and a lot of talent, all young. And so the challenge is, can they figure out what their games are individually sooner rather than later? And at the same time, try to figure out how to make those games blend in as a group.
And you can't have both. We have to be patient," Bryant said.