Record: 45-37, third place in Pacific Division
Phil Jackson returned to coach the team in the off-season and reunited with Kobe Bryant, of whom Jackson had been critical in a book released during Jackson's year away from the team.
The highlights of the season were supplied by Bryant. On Dec. 20 against Dallas at Staples Center, he scored 62 points in a victory over Dallas. And the 62 points came despite the fact Bryant sat out the entire fourth quarter because of the Lakers' big lead. But that only set the stage for what was to come. On Jan. 22, Bryant scored 81 points (55 in the second half) in a 122-104 victory over Toronto at Staples Center. Bryant’s points in a half and game became the second highest totals in NBA history, bettered only by Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game (59-point half) in 1962.
Bryant finished the season averaging 35.4 points a game, the eight-best scoring average in league history.
Playoffs: The sixth-seeded Lakers faced the Phoenix Suns in the first round and took a 3-1 lead in the series before losing in seven games.
Western Conference first round
- at Phoenix 107, Lakers 102
- Lakers 99, at Phoenix 93
- at Lakers 99, Phoenix 92
- at Lakers 99, Phoenix 98 (OT)
- at Phoenix 114, Lakers 97
- Phoenix 126, at Lakers 118 (OT)
- at Phoenix 121, Lakers 90