When Game One of the Western Conference Finals tips off Wednesday night at Staples Center, it will mark the sixth time since 1999 that the Lakers and the Spurs have met in the playoffs. LA has won three of the previous five meetings.
And of the 9 NBA Finals played since 1999, eight of them have featured either the Lakers or the Spurs with San Antonio winning four championships versus three for the LA.
Of course the last time the Lakers and Spurs met in the postseason was the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals. When in the closing second of Game Five, Derek Fisher hit one of the most unforgettable clutch shots in Lakers playoff history.
"I was reminded by some of my teammates of that shot before the Spurs/Hornets game ended," said Fisher after practice on Tuesday. "But hopefully none of the games this year will come close to needing something like that."
As far as this season is concerned, the Lakers and the Spurs split the season series with each team winning on its home court.
And when you think about it, it’s fitting that these two teams would meet in the Western Conference Finals as the Lakers are trying to climb their way back to the NBA mountaintop. As Kobe Bryant told me, "in order to be the best, you have to beat the best."
And right now the defending champion Spurs are definitely the best in the NBA.