Heading into the 2010 NBA Playoffs, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers seemed to be in a bit of a rut. Though they were the top team in the Western Conference, they had lost six of their last nine games heading into the postseason.
Awaiting them in the first round was a young, upstart Oklahoma City Thunder team, making their first ever playoff appearance. Most expected the Lakers to steamroll the inexperienced Thunder, but they were terribly wrong.
The Thunder were a fearless bunch, led by their All-Star Kevin Durant. They gave the Lakers all they could handle in the first two games, but failed to pick up a victory.
In the next two games in OKC, however, the Thunder outplayed and out-hustled the older Lakers and would tie the series, much to the shock of the Lakers and most of the viewing public.
The Lakers would eventually win at home and finish the series in six games after a hard fought final game in which Pau Gasol would rebound and lay in a missed Kobe Bryant shot with less than a second left to give the team the win.
The tough series would serve as a wake-up call for the Lakers that the playoffs had begun, and it was time to get serious. It also introduced the world to the Oklahoma City Thunder and stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Many believe the Lakers would not have won the championship that season had it not been for the Thunder series in the first round.
For that, we can only thank them.
Re-live the epic Game 6 below:
Lakers vs. Jazz Shawne Williams On Guarding OKC’s Kevin Durant And Depleted Roster (LAKERS NATION)