Under Jerry Buss‘ ownership the Lakers reached the NBA Finals a staggering 16 times in 33 seasons, winning 10 titles and burnishing the purple and gold as one of the nation’s elite franchises. After the passing of Buss this morning — and owner so successful even bleeding-green Celtics fan Bill Simmons has paid tribute — it’s time to look back at those titles and see which was the best and why.
*** *** ***
Why here: The triple-double by James Worthy (36 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists) in Game 7 of the Finals against Detroit is one of the least-remembered great performances in Lakers history.
What it’s remembered by: This was the year the Bad Boys took on their stylistic opposite, the Lakers. The seven-game series is still one of the best because there seemed to be a resentment going both ways about how each team played the game. The Lakers, and fun basketball, triumphed.
Defining stretch: A 36-21 third quarter brought the Lakers back from the brink of losing the title to a 108-105 victory. For a team that shot 50 percent in the first half — hardly poor — the Lakers’ offense hit another gear.