After the unfortunate passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, I decided to do a series of 5 articles. One about each of Kobe’s championship runs. If you haven’t read the first article I’ve attached a link below.
In the 2000-2001 season, Kobe was still a young player, however, he averaged 28.5 Points Per Game throughout the regular season, second only to Shaquille O’Neal’s 28.7 PPG. The duo led the Los Angeles Lakers to 56 wins and the 2nd seed in the Western Conference.
The Lakers would go on to play the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Trail Blazers were led by 6-10 center Rasheed Wallace and ex Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen who averaged 19.2 PPG and 11.3 PPG respectively.
As Shaq was still the number one player on the Lakers, he was the first option when he was on the court and that is proven by his series stats. In 3 games against the Trail Blazers, Shaq averaged 27 Points Per Game, 15.6 Rebounds Per Game, 2.6 Assists Per Game, and 1 Block Per Game, while playing an average on 43.6 Minutes Per Game.
Usually, Kobe was the 2nd option for the Lakers behind Shaq, but when Shaq was on the bench, the Lakers looked to Kobe as their first option on the court. Kobe had been a solid 2nd option this season and this was reflected in his series stats. In 3 games against the Trail Blazers, Kobe averaged 25 Points Per Game, 4.3 Rebounds Per Game, 7.6 Assists Per Game, and 2,3 Steals Per Game, while averaging 39.6 Minutes Per Game. Over the series, he shot 48.1% from the field, 33.3% from beyond the arc and 75% from the free-throw line.
The Lakers got this series out of the way as quickly as they could, sweeping the Trail Blazers in 3 games to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they would face the Sacramento Kings who were led by Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic.
Shaq was a force to be reckoned with as he put up his usual dominant numbers in this series against the Kings. In 4 games, playing an average of 40.3 MPG, Shaq averaged 33.3 PPG, 17.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, and 3.3 BPG.
Having Shaq as the first option didn’t deter Kobe from showing his superstar prowess, he channeled his Mamba Mentality and was determined to work as hard as he could, and at the end of the series, his determination was showing in his stats. He averaged 35 PPG, 9 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 0.5 SPG while playing an average of 43.3 MPG. In this series, he shot 47.3% from the field, 20% from 3, and 86.4% from the line.
The Lakers swept the Kings in 4 games to advance to the Conference Finals where they would face the 1st seeded San Antonio Spurs who were led by Tim Duncan and ‘The Admiral’ David Robinson.
Kobe was arguably the better player in this series as in 4 games, he averaged 33.3 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 7.0 APG, and 1.5 SPG while playing an average of 41.9 MPG. He shot 51.4% from the field, 35.7% from 3-point range and 76.9% from the line. In this series, Shaq averaged 27.0 PPG, 13.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.3 BPG while playing 39.0 MPG.
In the end, The Admiral and the Spurs were no match for Shaq and the Black Mamba as they swept them in 4 games to win the Western Conference Finals and advance to the NBA Finals undefeated.
Here, they would face off against the Philadelphia 76ers who were led by Allen Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo.
In-game 1 of the Finals, the Lakers would take their first postseason loss against the 76ers after the game went to overtime and the 76ers won by 6. Shaq and Kobe did what they could both play 52 minutes in this game, however, it was not enough to beat Iverson and Dikembe Mutombo.
In Game 1, Kobe scored 15 points on 31.8% shooting from the field, he grabbed 3 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and got 3 blocks. Shaq was his usual dominant self, scoring 44 points and grabbing 20 boards in 52 minutes.
Iverson scored 48 and Dikembe scored 13 and grabbed 16 boards to take down the Lakers in Game 1.
Game 2 was where the Lakers came back and tied the series. Kobe and Shaq were not going to let the 76ers beat them again. Kobe shot 11-23 from the field and scored 31 points, he grabbed 8 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. He got 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Shaq scored 28 points, grabbed 20 rebounds and was 1 assist shy of a triple-double with 9. He also got 8 blocks.
Game 3 was another win for the Lakers as Kobe played the full 48 minutes and scored 32, grabbed 6 boards, and got 3 assists. Shaq was himself this game grabbing 12 boards and scoring 30 points. Iverson and Dikembe tried but they lost to the Lakers to go down 2-1.
Game 4, the Lakers took a 3-1 lead with another win over Iverson and the 76ers. Kobe shot 6-13 from the field and 7-12 from the line. He grabbed 10 rebounds and got 9 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Shaq grabbed 14 boards and scored 34 points on 13-25 shooting from the field and 8-16 shooting from the line. He also got 5 assists.
Game 5, the Lakers emerged from this game, the victors of the series and the NBA championship after a 29 point, 13 rebounds and 5 block performance from Shaquille O’Neal and a 26 point, 12 rebounds, 6 assist, 1 steal and 1 block performance from Kobe Bryant.
The Lakers have done it. They had repeated and won back-to-back championships. They had a postseason record of 15-1 and Shaq took home his 2nd Finals Most Valuable Player award after averaging 33.0 PPG, 15.8 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, and 3.4 BPG over the Finals while playing an average of 45.0 MPG.
In the 5 games in the Finals, Kobe Bryant averaged 24.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, and 1.4 BPG, on 41.5% shooting form the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. He played an average of 46.8 MPG.