Record: 56-26, first place in Pacific Division
Depsite winning the NBA title the season before, the Lakers wanted to upgrade their defense, so in the off-season they sent Glen Rice and Travis Knight to the New York Knicks in a three-way deal involving the Seattle SuperSonics, in which the Lakers acquired power forward Horace Grant and center Greg Foster. The addition of Grant and Foster also helped in the running of the triangle offense, as both players had played for Lakers Coach Phil Jackson when he was coaching Chicago.
The team struggled at the start and missed Derek Fisher, who sat out 62 games because of a broken right foot. The Lakers were 31-16 at the All-Star break, one more loss than they had in the entire 1999-2000 season. The Lakers finished the season with an eight-game winning streak, though, setting the stage for a remarkable playoff run.
Playoffs: The Lakers swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, giving them 19 wins in a row (including the regular season) before a Game 1 loss to Philadelphia in the NBA Finals halted the streak. The Lakers won the next four games, however, to defend their NBA title.
Shaquille O'Neal was named NBA Finals MVP after averaging 33.0 points and 15.8 rebounds against Philadelphia.