This Day In Lakers History: Shaquille O’Neal Leads The Way As L.A....

This Day In Lakers History: Shaquille O’Neal Leads The Way As L.A. Extends Winning Streak

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 1999-00 season with championship aspirations after the hiring of Hall of Fame head coach Phil Jackson.

In the midst of a seven-game winning streak, the Lakers were nearing the end of a six-game East Coast road trip. On Feb. 22, 2000, they looked to extend their dominating run with a matchup against the underperforming New Jersey Nets.

After a tightly-contested first quarter, Los Angeles boasted a lead of just two points, but that margin would quickly increase to 11 in the second quarter, and the Lakers entered halftime with a nice advantage.

The Nets came out firing in the third quarter and scored 31 against a tough Lakers defense — trimming their deficit to nine points with 12 minutes to play. But Los Angeles would hold their own and managed to pull off an eighth consecutive victory by a final score of 97-89.

Leading the way for the Lakers was Shaquille O’Neal, who posted another double-double behind 35 points and 13 rebounds in 43 minutes. On the defensive end, he recorded three blocks and only committed two turnovers on the night.

Kobe Bryant scored 21 of his own points while sinking nine of his 20 field goal attempts. Glen Rice was the only other Lakers player to reach double-figures in scoring with 15 points.

The Nets stayed competitive for most of the contest because of All-Star guard Stephen Marbury, who dropped a team-high 33 points in 46 minutes. He successfully converted 11 of his 21 shots.

Kendall Gill scored 18 points while Keith Van Horn was responsible for 10. The two additionally combined for 19 rebounds, five assists, and collectively made eight of their nine free throw attempts.

For the Lakers, they improved to a league-best 42-11 after the win. Furthermore, it was the eighth victory of what would be a 19-game winning streak.

Meanwhile, the Nets continued to trend in the other direction and fell to just 21-32 on the year.