Record: 58-24, second place in Pacific Division
The Lakers looked as if they would cruise to a third consecutive NBA title after starting the season 16-1, but injuries to Derek Fisher and Shaquille O'Neal slowed them a bit, and they had to settle for a second place finish in the Pacific Division, three games behind the Sacramento Kings, whose fans were unhappy with the Lakers after Shaquille O'Neal referred to the team as the Queens.
Playoffs: The Lakers were seeded third in the Western Conference and played Portland in the first round. Leading two games to zero, Robert Horry connected on a three-pointer with 2.1 seconds remaining to give the Lakers a three-game sweep. The Lakers defeated San Antonio in the Western Conference semifinals to set up a much-awaited matchup with the Kings in the Western Conference finals, which the Lakers won in seven games, with the decisive Game 7 win taking place in Sacramento. The NBA Finals were anticlimactic after that, with the Lakers sweeping the New Jersey Nets to win their third consecutive title. O'Neal was named NBA Finals MVP for the third consecutive season, joining Michael Jordan as the only players to do so.