San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Top 10 Turning Points in the 'Rivalry'
Spurs and Lakers—it's time once again. They'll toss it up on Thursday in this season's second installment in a series of battles some call a rivalry.
Others call it slaughter.
The Lakers own a 34-18 postseason record against the Spurs. L.A. is also (8-3) in the playoffs against San Antonio. The Spurs, however, have won four NBA championships—all since 1999.
The Spurs swept the Lakers in the 1998-99 season playoffs.
Join me in Reasoning on the River Walk as I sweep through the top ten biggest moments in the Lakers-Spurs "rivalry."
10. The Lakers Sweep the Spurs in Their First Playoff Series (1982)
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The Spurs won in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. The Lakers did it in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.
En route to their eighth NBA championship, the mighty Lakers rolled over the unsuspecting Spurs back in 1982. Magic Johnson and his crew did the same thing the next year.
In 1983, the Lakers defeated the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.
The Alamo City waited patiently—and sometimes not so patiently—for the Spurs to finally get over the hump that was the mighty Los Angeles Lakers.
9. The Spurs Defeat the Lakers in the Playoffs for the First Time
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It was on and poppin' after the Spurs got over the hump (4-2) in the 1995 Western Conference Semifinals. L.A. had dominated San Antonio in the playoffs.
The Lakers knocked the Spurs out of the playoffs four times during the 1980s, but the run came to an abrupt halt in 1995.
David "The Admiral" Robinson and the Spurs, however, lost to Robert Horry and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
8. The Spurs Sweep the Lakers in 1999
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En route to their first NBA championship, the Spurs knocked the Lakers off in the lock out-shortened fifty game 1998-99 season. It was the second time the Spurs defeated the Lakers in the playoffs.
The rivalry/series advanced to another level before the next season started. The Lakers hired Phil Jackson, the former Chicago Bulls coach and a former player for the Knicks.
7. Phil Jackson Pops Off At the Mouth
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Jackson, the Laker, sparked a national debate after saying the Spurs 1999 championship should come with an asterisk in the record books—due to the lock out schedule.
It was on and poppin' in the Alamo City after Phil popped off. Signs seen in the Alamo City: "Kiss My Asterisk." In San Antonio for a few years going forward, Jackson was the most despised man in all of sports.
I can't pinpoint exactly when this stopped being the case, but San Antonio's fans wanted Jackson to eat his words in the worst way.
6. The Lakers Sweep the Spurs in 2001
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The Zen Master, Jackson, ate the Spurs instead of eating his words. In the next playoff meeting between San Antonio and L.A., the Lakers swept San Antonio.
With the help of Robert Horry of the Lakers, the series was particularly one-sided, with Los Angeles winning games by 39 and 29 points.
"Kiss my trophy," Phil was heard to say on the team bus after the series—allegedly. No word on whether or not he was referring to his girlfriend of several years.
5. The Lakers Again Bump the Spurs From the Championship Hunt (2002)
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Shades of the 1982-83 season, the Lakers knocked the Spurs out of the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
The smirk on Phil Jackson's face was growing permanent—as was his alleged tattoo of his suddenly permanent girlfriend's name.
4. The Spurs Eliminate the Lakers From the Playoffs in 2003
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The Spurs beat the Lakers in the playoffs in 1995, 1999 and 2003. In the latter year, they faced each other in the semifinals. One of the crucial moments of that series came when Robert Horry missed the game-winning three-point shot in the fifth game.
With another championship win, David Robinson retired after the season.
3. The Spurs Sign Robert Horry, an Ex-Killer of the Spurs
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He played for the Spurs from '03-'08—after being a Spurs "killer" in Houston and L.A. By signing him away from the Lakers, the Spurs pulled a major coup.
It was a quiet signing at the time, as Horry was thought to be washed up and in need of retirement—like David Robinson.
Horry provided the savvy and toughness, however, for two more championship teams in the Alamo City.
2. Derek Fisher's 18-Footer With 0.4 Seconds Left (2004)
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Meeting again in the Western Conference Semifinals, the series was tied (2-2). The Lakers then beat the Spurs in San Antonio in the "0.4 Game."
With the Spurs down by one with 5.4 seconds left, Tim Duncan—who was almost perfectly defended by Shaq—made an off-balance fade away 20-footer to take the lead.
Only 0.4 seconds remained—the minimum amount of time according to league rules needed to release a shot.
P.J. called timeout and drew up the play. Instant replay and You Tube showed that the shot had barely left Fisher's fingers when the buzzer rang.
P.J. eats the Spurs. The Lakers went on to win the series and advance to the NBA Finals.
1. Eva Longoria Finalizes Her Divorce From Tony and Shows Her Open Laker Love
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After 1999, the teams met in the playoffs five more times. The Lakers are up (4-1) on the Spurs. L.A. swept San Antonio in 1982, 1986, 1988 and 2001 and won (4-1) in 2002 and 2008.
Los Angeles, therefore, probably considers the Boston Celtics to be their purest rivals. The Lakers and Spurs, however, appeared in seven straight NBA Finals (1999–2005) and had testy competitions to decide it all.
L.A. has San Antonio's number—by the numbers.
Now that the testy divorce is final between Tony and Eva, I'd like to offer the former Mrs. Parker a customized Lakers jersey—with my name and number on it.