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.
Western Conference first round
- at Lakers 106, Portland 93
- at Lakers 106, Portland 88
- Lakers 99, at Portland 86
Western Conference semifinals
- at Lakers 108, Sacramento 105
- at Lakers 96, Sacramento 90
- Lakers 103, at Sacramento 81
- Lakers 119, at Sacramento 113
Western Conference finals
- Lakers 104, at San Antonio 90
- Lakers 88, at San Antonio 81
- at Lakers 111, San Antonio 72
- at Lakers 111, San Antonio 82
- Philadelphia 107, at Lakers 101 (OT)
- at Lakers 96, Philadelphia 89
- Lakers 96, at Philadelphia 91
- Lakers 100, at Philadelphia 86
- Lakers 108, at Philadelphia 96