Throwback Thursday: Nick Van Exel Playoff Heroics In 1995
The Lakers of the mid-nineties are forgotten by most since they came in between two of the most iconic eras in the history of the NBA, the Showtime Lakers of the eighties and the Kobe-Shaq Lakers of the 2000s. While both of those eras produced eight championships, these Lakers never even made the Finals.
But that didn’t prevent them from producing some of the most popular Lakers of all-time. One of those beloved Lakers was flashy point guard Nick Van Exel. Van Exel played five years with the Lakers, but in his second year he had one of the best Laker playoff moments that no one talks about.
Van Exel, along with Eddie Jones, led the Lakers back to the playoffs, after failing to qualify in 1994, as the fifth seed. After prevailing over the Seattle Supersonics in the first round, the Lakers came face-to-face with the top seeded San Antonio Spurs and MVP David Robinson.
After falling behind 3-1 in the series, the Lakers faced an extremely tough task in having to go to the Alamodome and win a Game 5 in a very hostile environment. Chances seemed slim going into the game, but the Lakers battled the Spurs with everything they had, and when it came down to the final seconds, it was Nick ‘The Quick’ who put the team on his back.
Not only did Van Exel hit a three-pointer to send the game into overtime, but he hit another one at the buzzer to extend the Lakers’ season. Even though the Lakers would fall in Game 6, Van Exel’s clutch play became a staple of his tenure in Los Angeles.
These Lakers of the mid-90s aren’t talked about often enough, but on this Throwback Thursday, we remember Nick Van Exel and his amazing clutch playoff moment.
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