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2001 NBA Finals

2001 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Los Angeles Lakers Phil Jackson 4
Philadelphia 76ers Larry Brown 1
Dates June 6–15
MVP Shaquille O'Neal
(Los Angeles Lakers)
Television NBC (U.S.)
Announcers Marv Albert and Doug Collins
Radio network ESPN
Announcers Brent Musburger and Jack Ramsay
Game 1: Dick Bavetta, Ron Garretson, Joe Crawford
Game 2: Steve Javie, Bernie Fryer, Ronnie Nunn
Game 3: Bennett Salvatore, Bob Delaney, Dan Crawford
Game 4: Hugh Evans, Jack Nies, Eddie F. Rush
Game 5: Dick Bavetta, Bernie Fryer, Joe Crawford
Hall of Famers 76ers:
Dikembe Mutombo (2015)
Larry Brown (2002)
Phil Jackson (2007)
Tex Winter (2011)
Dick Bavetta (2015)
Eastern Finals 76ers defeat Bucks, 4-3
Western Finals Lakers defeat Spurs, 4-0

The 2001 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 2000-01 National Basketball Association season. The Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference took on the Philadelphia 76ers of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Lakers holding home court advantage in a best-of-seven format.

The Lakers won the series 4 games to 1. Lakers Center (basketball) Shaquille O'Neal was named the Most Valuable Player of the series.

Allen Iverson scored 48 points in his only NBA finals victory, as the Sixers took Game 1 in a stunning upset 107-101 in OT, handing the Lakers their first loss of the postseason. However, the Lakers went on to win the next four games, despite being outshot and outrebounded in the series. L.A. punished the Sixers with their excellent 3-point shooting which was the key to this series. In Game 3 Robert Horry hit a clutch 3-pointer in the last minute, and in the next two games the Lakers used hot 3-point shooting to build big leads and hold off late Sixer comebacks in Games 4 and 5, pulling away for double digit wins to capture the title.


  • Background 1
    • Road to the Finals 1.1
    • Regular season series 1.2
  • Starting Lineups 2
  • 2001 NBA Finals rosters 3
    • 2001 Los Angeles Lakers 3.1
    • 2001 Philadelphia 76ers 3.2
  • Series summary 4
    • Game 1 4.1
    • Game 2 4.2
    • Game 3 4.3
    • Game 4 4.4
    • Game 5 4.5
  • Aftermath 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2000–01 NBA season as the defending NBA Champions. The club lost a few key stars to free agency, but they managed to sign up key veteran players like Isaiah Rider and Horace Grant. The Lakers began the season struggling on and off the court, as they were losing key games at the beginning with the Shaq–Kobe feud. Injuries also riddled the team as they struggled through the season. But by April 1, 2001, the Lakers last loss was to the New York Knicks and they never looked back as the team closed out the season on an eight-game winning streak, thus finishing the season 56-26 and closing out as the #2 seed in the West behind the San Antonio Spurs.

The Lakers began the 2001 NBA Playoffs versus the team against whom they played the previous year in the Conference Finals, the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers were a team that struggled throughout the season but battled back to claim the 7th seed. The series wasn't close as the Lakers swept the Blazers by double digits in all three games. In the semifinals the Lakers took on the Sacramento Kings, a team who had also given the Lakers a tough series the previous season, but the Lakers took two close games at home and went to Sacramento to finish the Kings off with a 4-0 sweep as well. In the Conference Finals the Lakers went up against the #1 seed San Antonio Spurs, who were expected to be more competitive than the Laker's previous opponents. But it was still all too easy for the Lakers as they took games 1 and 2 in San Antonio then blew them out in games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles in another complete sweep as they became the second team in NBA history to sweep the conference playoffs at 11-0, the 1988-1989 Los Angeles Lakers being the first.

But the Los Angeles Lakers met a snag on their quest to the first NBA sweep in playoff history as they went up against Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia Sixers. The Sixers, seeded #1 in the East, had just come out of two straight seven-game series. During the first game, the trio of Iverson, Dikembe Mutumbo and Eric Snow, coming hot off a long Eastern Conference championship road, beat the Lakers in overtime, showcasing their endurance.

The Lakers then took Game 2. Afterwards, Kobe Bryant was quoted as saying he was coming to Philadelphia to cut their hearts out.[1] The Sixers dropped all three games in Philadelphia, giving the Lakers their second straight championship.

Road to the Finals

Los Angeles Lakers (Western Conference Champion) Philadelphia 76ers (Eastern Conference Champion)
Western Conference
# Team W L PCT GB
1 z-San Antonio Spurs 58 24 .707
2 y-Los Angeles Lakers 56 26 .683 2
3 x-Sacramento Kings 55 27 .671 3
4 x-Utah Jazz 53 29 .646 5
5 x-Dallas Mavericks 53 29 .646 5
6 x-Phoenix Suns 51 31 .622 7
7 x-Portland Trail Blazers 50 32 .610 8
8 x-Minnesota Timberwolves 47 35 .573 11
9 Houston Rockets 45 37 .549 13
10 Seattle SuperSonics 44 38 .537 14
11 Denver Nuggets 40 42 .488 18
12 Los Angeles Clippers 31 51 .378 27
13 Vancouver Grizzlies 23 59 .280 35
14 Golden State Warriors 17 65 .207 41
2nd seed in the West, 2nd best league record
Regular season
Eastern Conference
# Team W L PCT GB
1 c-Philadelphia 76ers 56 26 .683
2 y-Milwaukee Bucks 52 30 .634 4
3 x-Miami Heat 50 32 .610 6
4 x-New York Knicks 48 34 .585 8
5 x-Toronto Raptors 47 35 .573 9
6 x-Charlotte Hornets 46 36 .561 10
7 x-Orlando Magic 43 39 .524 13
8 x-Indiana Pacers 41 41 .500 15
9 Boston Celtics 36 46 .439 20
10 Detroit Pistons 32 50 .390 24
11 Cleveland Cavaliers 30 52 .366 26
12 New Jersey Nets 26 56 .317 30
13 Atlanta Hawks 25 57 .305 31
14 Washington Wizards 19 63 .232 37
15 Chicago Bulls 15 67 .183 42
1st seed in the East, 3rd best league record
Defeated the (7) Portland Trail Blazers, 3-0 First Round Defeated the (8) Indiana Pacers, 3–1
Defeated the (3) Sacramento Kings, 4–0 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (5) Toronto Raptors, 4–3
Defeated the (1) San Antonio Spurs, 4–0 Conference Finals Defeated the (2) Milwaukee Bucks, 4–3

Regular season series

Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the home team:

Starting Lineups

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ‡
Los Angeles Position Philadelphia
Derek Fisher PG Eric Snow
Kobe Bryant SG Allen Iverson
Rick Fox SF George Lynch
Horace Grant PF Tyrone Hill
Shaquille O'Neal C Dikembe Mutumbo

2001 NBA Finals rosters

2001 Los Angeles Lakers

2001 Philadelphia 76ers

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Road Team
Game 1 Wednesday, June 6 Los Angeles Lakers 101-107 OT (0-1) Philadelphia 76ers
Game 2 Friday, June 8 Los Angeles Lakers 98-89 (1-1) Philadelphia 76ers
Game 3 Sunday, June 10 Philadelphia 76ers 91-96 (1-2) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 4 Wednesday, June 13 Philadelphia 76ers 86-100 (1-3) Los Angeles Lakers
Game 5 Friday, June 15 Philadelphia 76ers 96-108 (1-4) Los Angeles Lakers

The Finals were played using a 2-3-2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage. The NBA, after experimenting in the early years, restored this original format for the Finals in 1985.

Game 1

June 6
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived May 9, 2009)
Philadelphia 76ers 107, Los Angeles Lakers 101 (OT)
Scoring by quarter: 22–23, 34–27, 23–27, 15–17, OT: 13–7
Pts: Allen Iverson 48
Rebs: Dikembe Mutombo 16
Asts: Aaron McKie 9
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 44
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 20
Asts: Bryant, Fox, O'Neal 5 each
Philadelphia leads the series, 1–0
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 18,997
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 10 Ron Garretson
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford

The Lakers dominated early, in what looked like to be their fourth series sweep. Scoring 16 straight points, the Lakers took a 21-9 lead over the Allen Iverson-led 76ers. Despite this major lead, Allen Iverson began dominating at the half of the 2nd quarter scoring 30 first half points. The 76ers turned the game around and even went up by 15 points during the third quarter before the Lakers started a comeback. Shaquille O'Neal was a major factor in the comeback, scoring 18 points in the quarter.

The Lakers played fantastically during the 4th quarter, and Tyronn Lue came off the bench and limited Allen Iverson to merely 3 points and had 3 assists and 2 steals of his own. The game was eventually tied at 94, and when Dikembe Mutombo missed two free throws and Eric Snow's desperation three-pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim, the game went to overtime.

The Lakers dominated for the first half of the overtime, scoring 5 points, but Allen Iverson scored 7 points, and Raja Bell came off the bench to score a crucial lay-up and Iverson hit a step back 2-pointer over Tyronn Lue which gave the 76ers a permanent lead.

Game 2

June 8
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2009)
Philadelphia 76ers 89, Los Angeles Lakers 98
Scoring by quarter: 24–25, 23–24, 20–28, 22–21
Pts: Allen Iverson 23
Rebs: Dikembe Mutombo 13
Asts: Aaron McKie 6
Pts: Kobe Bryant 31
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 20
Asts: Shaquille O'Neal 9
Series tied, 1–1
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Attendance: 18,997
  • No. 29 Steve Javie
  • No. 7 Bernie Fryer
  • No. 34 Ronnie Nunn

Kobe Bryant started off the game with 12 points in the first quarter, while Shaq scored 12 points in the second quarter. Despite their points, the 76ers kept a close lead as Larry Brown ran over 10 plays searching for the right quartet, and the fact that all the Lakers besides Bryant and O'Neal were shooting only at 27%. The Sixers were down by 13 in the fourth quarter, and were making a comeback due to Shaq sitting out with 5 fouls, which helped the 76ers to score 7 straight. Even though the 76ers were within 3 points of the Lakers, the 6 of 16 foul shooting in the fourth quarter put them behind permanently. O'Neal finished with 28 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists, and eight blocks, coming close to a quadruple double. Before the game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had growled at O'Neal, "Don't be afraid to block a shot!" after O'Neal failed to block a shot in Game 1.[2]

Game 3

June 10
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2009)
Los Angeles Lakers 96, Philadelphia 76ers 91
Scoring by quarter: 25–25, 30–20, 18–21, 23–25
Pts: Kobe Bryant 32
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 12
Asts: Bryant, Horry,
O'Neal, Shaw 3 each
Pts: Allen Iverson 35
Rebs: Iverson, Mutombo 12 each
Asts: Aaron McKie 8
Los Angeles leads the series, 2–1
First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 20,900
  • No. 15 Bennett Salvatore
  • No. 26 Bob Delaney
  • No. 43 Dan Crawford

Game 4

June 13
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2009)
Los Angeles Lakers 100, Philadelphia 76ers 86
Scoring by quarter: 22–14, 29–23, 26–22, 23–27
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 34
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 14
Asts: Kobe Bryant 9
Pts: Allen Iverson 35
Rebs: Dikembe Mutombo 9
Asts: Iverson, Snow 4 each
Los Angeles leads the series, 3–1
First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 20,900
  • No. 25 Hugh Evans
  • No. 35 Jack Nies
  • No. 32 Eddie F. Rush

Game 5

June 15
Recap at the Wayback Machine (archived April 1, 2009)
Los Angeles Lakers 108, Philadelphia 76ers 96
Scoring by quarter: 24–27, 28–21, 31–20, 25–28
Pts: Shaquille O'Neal 29
Rebs: Shaquille O'Neal 13
Asts: Bryant, Fox 6 each
Pts: Allen Iverson 37
Rebs: Tyrone Hill 13
Asts: Eric Snow 12
Los Angeles wins the series, 4–1
First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 20,900
  • No. 27 Dick Bavetta
  • No. 7 Bernie Fryer
  • No. 17 Joe Crawford


The Lakers won their third straight championship in a four-game sweep of the New Jersey Nets the following year. The Lakers won 58 games in the season, then defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in three games, the San Antonio Spurs in five games, and the Sacramento Kings in seven games before sweeping the Nets in the Finals.

The Sixers would win only 43 games in the 2001-02 NBA season, as injuries were the story of their season. Nevertheless, they made the playoffs as the sixth seed, but were defeated by the Boston Celtics in five games. The Celtics themselves came within two games of returning to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987, but were ousted by the upstart Nets, who made the NBA Finals for the first time, denying a possible Celtics-Lakers final. As for the Sixers, they would never challenge for the title again in the Allen Iverson era, with the team reaching the playoffs only twice for the next four years, winning only one series.

Larry Brown later coached the Detroit Pistons to their third championship in the 2004 NBA Finals, defeating the Lakers 4–1.


  1. ^ Associated Press (March 9, 2007). "'"Kobe visits former school to say hi, 'smell the gym. 
  2. ^ Heisler, Mark (May 11, 2011). "Phil Jackson's tenure produced the most success and fun we've ever seen".  

External links

  • Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived March 31, 2009)
  • "Take Two for Tinseltown" at the Wayback Machine (archived December 3, 2010) entry about Finals at NBA Encyclopedia
  • 2001 NBA Finals at
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