Unfortunately for the purple and gold of the Lakers Jerseys, they fell short to the Boston Celtics of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
The playoffs started with the #1 seed in the Western Conference as the Lakers finished with a 57-25 record. Their first match in the playoffs was in the form of Allen Iverson, Carmello Anthony and the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers had their way with the Nuggets, winning four straight games- the first two in Los Angeles, the next two in Denver. Game one went 128-114 to the Lakers, as Pau Gasol scored 36 points for the Lakers, and Kobe Bryant added 32. Games two and three were even more of a blowout as the Lakers won game two in Los Angeles- 122-107 and game three in Denver 102-84. The Nuggets game four a good run, but fell short 107-101 in a game in which Kobe poured in 31 more, and Gasol 21. The Lakers were ready to move on to round two.
Round two started well as the Lakers took on the Utah Jazz. In the first two games in Los Angeles the Lakers were easy winners 109-98 and 120-110. Kobe poured in 38 and 34, helped by Gasol’s 18 and 20. The Jazz were led in scoring by up and coming star DeRon Williams, who did all he could scoring 25 and 14, but also added 10 and 9 assists in the first two games. The series would shift to Utah. In Utah, the series quickly became very competitive. In game three, the Lakers lost their first playoff game of the year, ending a 6 game playoff-winning streak. Game 3 went to Utah 104-99, as Carlos Boozer scored 27 points and grabbed 20 rebounds. Boozer, Okur and Williams were not to be denied on this night. Game four ended in another Jazz win, this time in overtime, coming away with a 123-115 win. Bryant scored 33 points on 33 shots. Lamar Odom helped the Lakers out with 26 points and 13 rebounds, but those were not enough, as the Jazz had six players in double figures, to lead them to a win, and a 2-2 series tie. The series then went back to the Staples Center, where the Lakers held on, courtesy of a 30-24 fourth quarter to take the game 111-104 and take a 3-2 series lead. This time it was the Lakers with five guys in double figures, led by Kobe’s 26, and Odom’s 22, the Lakers were now one win from moving on. In game six, the Lakers would have to head back to Salt Lake City where the Jazz were 4-1 in the postseason coming in. This night belonged to the Lakers. After a 33-20 first quarter, and a 62-43 halftime lead, the Lakers held on, despite a 35-22 fourth quarter run from the Jazz to win 108-105 and move on to the Western Conference Finals.
In the Conference Finals, the Lakers once again had the home court advantage, this time to the defending NBA champion- San Antonio Spurs. This series was not really all that close as the Lakers made short work of the Spurs winning in five games. Game one started well for the Spurs, as at halftime they held an 8 point lead, but were not able to hold on, as the Lakers outscored them 24-13 in the fourth quarter to come away with a 89-85 win. Kobe Bryant matched the Spurs Tim Duncan point for point and the Lakers defense did a great job of limited sharp shooter Mano Ginobli to only ten points. Game two, the Spurs had no chance. Winning all four quarters, the Lakers blew out the Spurs 101-71. With five guys in double figures the Lakers once again used their depth to take a 2-0 lead in the series and remain unbeaten at home throughout the postseason. In a must win game three in San Antonio, the Spurs were able to knock off the Lakers, this time winning 103-84. Kobe’s 30 was not enough as Ginobli scored 30 as well, and Tim Duncan added 22 and Tony Parker poured in 20. The Spurs looked to still be in the series. In game four the Lakers were a two-point winner, and game five the Lakers used a 36-29 fourth quarter edge to win the game and the series. Kobe Bryant was once again the star in game five as he scored 39 points, while Pau Gasol added 19 rebounds. The Lakers were once again back in the NBA Finals!