Debates will always take place in professional sports with comparisons being made between teams of the past and present. Recently, DimeMag.com crunched the numbers and took a look back at the last 13 years in the NBA to break down the best teams from one to 10 since 2000.
As expected the Los Angeles Lakers were at the top of the list of the best of the best during this time period. The Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal lethal combination back in 2000-01 was so dominant that they lost only one game in the NBA playoffs against Allen Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers during the NBA Finals.
Iverson lit up the Lakers at Staples Center in the first game of the Finals going off for 48 points and will always be remembered for crossing up and stepping over Tyronn Lue in the final minute of play in the fourth quarter to basically put the nail in the coffin.
After dropping Game 1 to Iverson’s squad, Kobe and Shaq turned it on like they had many times before during that season to wipe the floor with the inferior 76ers by winning the next four games to win a second consecutive championship under Phil Jackson.
Leading up to their meeting with the 76ers in the Finals, the Lakers squared off against some of the best teams in the Western Conference during that era. The Lakers swept the Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs before reaching the Finals.
Few teams compared to the dominance of the ’01 Lakers in the playoffs and that was enough to put that above other teams on the list. The Lakers also made the list for the squad that won the third consecutive title during the 2001-02 season and the Kobe and Pau Gasol combination in 2008-09.
In 2002, the Lakers swept Jason Kidd’s New Jersey Nets in the Finals, but were given a run for their money by the Kings. As for 2009, Gasol and Kobe proved to be too much for Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic as the Lakers taking the series in five games.
Other notable teams that made the list are the 2004-05 Spurs, 2011-12 Miami Heat, 2007-08 Boston Celtics and 2003-04 Detroit Pistons. The Spurs, Celtics and Pistons all had to get past the Lakers to win a championship.