2002-03 Season

Record: 50-32, second place in Pacific Division

The Lakers played their first season since moving to L.A. without legendary play-by-play man Chick Hearn, who died before the season.

The season was a struggle for the Lakers. First, Shaquille O'Neal missed the first 12 games of the season after toe surgery, causing frustration among Lakers fans and some of his teammates, some of whom thought O'Neal had waited too long to have the surgery and didn't need to miss any of the season.

Kobe Bryant had nine consecutive games with at least 40 points and averaged 40.6 points per game in February. However, the Lakers were an astonishing 11-19 30 games into the season, before rallying to finish with 50 wins on the season, the team's 26th 50-plus-win season since moving to Los Angeles.

Playoffs: After defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round, the Lakers split the first four games of the Western Conference semifinals with the San Antonio Spurs, setting up a key Game 5 matchup in San Antonio. The Lakers were down by two with 3.6 seconds remaining when the Spurs left Robert Horry, who had the nickname "Big Shot Bob" for all the key shots he had made in the past, all alone at the three-point line. This time, however, the ball went in about halfway and somehow bounced out, allowing the Spurs to escape with the win. The crestfallen Lakers were then routed in Game 6 as the Spurs went on to win the NBA title.

Playoff Results

Western Conference first round

  • Lakers 117, at Minnesota 98

  • at Minnesota 119, Lakers 91

  • Minnesota 114, at Lakers 110 (OT)

  • at Lakers 102, Minnesota 97

  • Lakers 120, at Minnesota 90

  • at Lakers 101, Minnesota 85

Western Conference semifinals

  • at San Antonio 87, Lakers 82

  • at San Antonio 114, Lakers 95

  • at Lakers 110, San Antonio 95

  • at Lakers 99, San Antonio 95

  • at San Antonio 96, Lakers 94

  • San Antonio 110, at Lakers 82