This Group is for all Apaches who are Diehard L.A. Laker Fans. (All are free to Join). Please post your photos in your Laker attire or at any Laker events (Home or elsewhere). Thanks!!
Apache Members: 31
Latest Apache Alumni Activity: Dec 2, 2012
THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS
1999–2004: O'Neal, Bryant, and Jackson era
Before the 1999–2000 season, West was prepared to hire Rambis as the team's full-time coach before an outcry from fans and members of the organization caused him to seek out a bigger name. Los Angeles hired former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson, who had coached that team to six championships, and gave him a lucrative $6 million a year contract. He brought along assistant Tex Winter and they installed Winter's version of the triangle offense. They signed veterans Brian Shaw, John Salley, Ron Harper, and A. C. Green, who was a Laker during the "Showtime" era. The team also moved to a new arena, the Staples Center. After the season, starters Rice and Green left the team, and Los Angeles signed Horace Grant.
Led by league MVP O'Neal, the Lakers won 31 of their first 36 games. Los Angeles finished 67–15, their highest total since they won 65 in the 1986–87 season. They eliminated the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix in the first two rounds of the playoffs. After the Lakers took a three games to one lead in the Western Conference Finals, the Trail Blazers won the next two games to force a game seven. The Lakers were down by 15 points in the fourth quarter but went on a 19–4 run to tie the game. They won 89–84 to advance to the NBA Finals. They defeated Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers 4–2 in the 2000 NBA Finals to win their first title since 1988. West retired from his spot in the team's front office after the season after a power struggle between him and Jackson over control of the team's operations.
The following season, Los Angeles won 11 fewer regular season games, but swept the first three rounds of the playoffs, defeating the Portland, Sacramento, and San Antonio. They met Allen Iverson and the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2001 NBA Finals. Although the Sixers took game one in overtime, the Lakers won the next four games to win their second straight title. Their 15–1 postseason record is the best in NBA history.
Los Angeles won 58 games in 2001–02 but Sacramento won the Pacific Division. In the playoffs, they swept the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, and defeated the Spurs 4–1 in the second. They faced the Kings in the Western Conference Finals. The series went seven games, and the last ended in a six-point Laker victory in overtime. The Lakers then achieved a three-peat by sweeping the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. O'Neal won each of the Finals series' MVP awards, making him the only player besides Michael Jordan to win three consecutive Finals MVPs.
The Lakers started the 2002–03 season 11–19. They went 39–13 the rest of the way to finish 50–32. They defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2003 NBA Playoffs, but were eliminated by San Antonio in six games in the second. During the 2003–04 season, the team was the subject of intense media coverage generated by the teaming of four stars and the sexual-assault case involving Kobe Bryant. Before the season, Los Angeles signed two-time MVP Karl Malone formerly of the Jazz, and former Seattle Defensive Player of the Year Gary Payton. Three of the "big four", however, struggled with injuries: O'Neal suffered from a strained calf, Malone an injured knee, and Bryant an injured shoulder. The Lakers started 18–3 and finished 56–26. They won the Pacific Division title, and entered the playoffs as the number two seed. They defeated the Rockets, Spurs, and Timberwolves in the first three rounds of the 2004 NBA Playoffs, before succumbing to Detroit in five games in the 2004 NBA Finals. During the 2004 offseason, the team entered a rebuilding phase when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Brian Grant, Caron Butler, and a first-round draft pick. Bryant and O'Neal had clashed in the past, and the media credited their feud as one of the motivating factors for the trade. Jackson did not return as head coach, and wrote a book about the team's 2003–04 season, in which he heavily criticized Bryant and called him "uncoachable". The Lakers front office said that the book contained "several inaccuracies".
The Lakers traded Rick Fox and Gary Payton to Boston, for Chris Mihm, Marcus Banks, and Chucky Atkins before the 2004–05 season. Derek Fisher, frustrated with losing playing time, opted out of his contract and signed with the Warriors. The team hired Rudy Tomjanovich to replace Jackson. After sitting out the first half of the 2004–05 season, Malone announced his retirement on February 13, 2005. Tomjanovich coached the team to a 22–19 record before resigning due to health problems. Assistant Frank Hamblen was named interim head coach to replace Tomjanovich for the remainder of the season. Bryant (ankle) and Odom (shoulder) suffered injuries, and the Lakers finished 34–48, missing the playoffs for the fifth time in franchise history.
With the tenth overall pick in the draft, Los Angeles selected Andrew Bynum, a center from St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, New Jersey. The team also traded Caron Butler and Chucky Atkins to the Washington Wizards for Kwame Brown and Laron Profit. Jackson returned to coach the team after Rudy Tomjanovich resigned midway through the previous season. On January 22, 2006, Bryant scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second-highest total in NBA history. Ending the season 45–37, the team made the playoffs after a one season absence. After taking a three games to one lead in the first round, the Suns came back to take the series in seven games. In the following season, they won 26 of their first 39 games, but lost 27 of their last 43—including seven in a row at one point—to finish 42–40. They were eliminated in the first round by the Suns again, this time 4–1. Frustrated by the team's inability to advance in the playoffs, Bryant demanded to be traded in the offseason. Buss initially agreed to seek a trade, but also worked to try and change Bryant's mind.
After re-acquiring Derek Fisher, Los Angeles started the 2007–08 season with a 25–11 record, before Andrew Bynum, their center who was leading the league in field-goal percentage, went out for the year due to a knee injury in mid-January. They acquired power forward Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade in early February and went 22–5 to finish the season. The Lakers' 57–25 record earned them the first seed in the Western Conference. Bryant was awarded the league's MVP award, becoming the first Laker to win the award since O'Neal in 2000. In the playoffs, they defeated the Nuggets in four games, the Jazz in six, and the defending champion Spurs in five, but lost to the Celtics in six games in the NBA Finals.
In the 2008–09 season, the Lakers finished 65–17; the best record in the Western Conference. They defeated the Jazz in five games, the Rockets in seven and the Nuggets in six, to win the Western Conference title. They then won their fifteenth NBA championship by defeating the Orlando Magic in five games in the NBA finals. Bryant was named the NBA Finals MVP for the first time in his career.
The Lakers, who had added Ron Artest in place of Trevor Ariza in their starting lineup, finished the 2009–10 season with the best record in the Western Conference for the third straight time. On January 13, 2010, the Lakers became the first team in NBA history to win 3,000 regular season games by defeating the Dallas Mavericks 100–95. They defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Utah Jazz, and the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference playoffs. In the finals, the Lakers played the Boston Celtics for the 12th time. They rallied back from a 3–2 disadvantage in the series and erased a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter of the seventh game to defeat the Celtics. This series win gave them their 16th NBA title overall and 11th since they moved to Los Angeles. Bryant was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row, despite a 6–24 shooting performance in game seven.
After much speculation, head coach Phil Jackson returned for the 2010–11 season. In the playoffs, the Lakers defeated the New Orleans Hornets in the first round. But their opportunity for a three-peat was denied by the Dallas Mavericks in a four-game sweep of the second round. After the season, it was announced that Jackson will not be returning to coach the Lakers.
After Jackson's retirement, former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Mike Brown was hired as head coach on May 25, 2011. Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw, a candidate to replace Jackson, learned of the Lakers' decision on television.
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