When we say that the Lakers are the kings of the NBA, it's not just a statement. The numbers back it up. When you look at their play against every team in the league, only two franchises have ever owned a winning record against the Lakers. Everyone else has fallen victim to the purple and gold.
The regular season and playoff totals tell a story. Some teams have fought hard. Other teams are the Lakers' punching bag. Here are the head-to-head totals for the regular season and playoffs against each team.
Atlanta Hawks 193-141 (Regular Season), 30-26 (NBA Playoffs)
In the regular season, the Lakers own wins in eight of the last 10 meetings. The franchise once owned a 12-game winning streak against the Hawks from 1980-1986. In the next few years, the Lakers are poised to hit their 200th game mark.
In the playoffs, the two haven’t played since 1970. The Hawks were once in the Western Division, but the Lakers swept the series. Jerry West led the playoffs in scoring on route to winning the NBA championship.
Boston Celtics 133-163 (Regular Season), 31-43 (NBA Playoffs)
Since 2015, the Celtics have had the upper hand on the Lakers as the team has won eight of the last 14 matchups. The two franchises have a long, storied history. During the Bill Russell years, the Lakers once lost 18 straight to the Celtics.
The history carries over into the playoffs as well, where both teams were frequent visitors in the NBA Finals, but historically speaking the Celtics typically got the last laugh. Bill Russell against Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird against Magic Johnson were famous rivalries. That also includes Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol against Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Kevin Garnett.
Brooklyn Nets 66-27 (Regular Season), 4-0 (NBA Playoffs)
The Nets haven’t always been this good, as evidenced by the Lakers’ dominant run. From 1996-2001, Kobe Bryant and Shaq lost only one game together. From 2008 to 2014, the Lakers lost one game again, including an 11-game winning streak.
The team has met in the playoffs only once, the 2002 NBA Finals where Shaq’s third Finals MVP completed the Lakers legendary three-peat. Before the year began, the media believed that this would be the 2022 NBA Finals. In reality, the world is secretly hoping for a LeBron vs. Kevin Durant Finals.
Charlotte Hornets 39-23 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
The Lakers opened the regular-season series with eight straight wins. Then, the team added a 10-game winning streak from 1999-2006. The Lakers once lost five straight games to the team, but have won the last six meetings, including a 126-123 overtime win in early November.
The two teams have never met in the playoffs as CHarlotte plays in the Eastern Conference, and has never made the NBA Finals. Charlotte was an expansion team that never once played in the Western Division.
Chicago Bulls 94-64 (Regular Season), 17-11 (NBA Playoffs)
These two franchises go as far back as 1967. The Lakers owned the Bulls early on, but even with Michael Jordan playing, the Lakers won the regular-season matchup 15-13. The Lakers have also won eight of the last nine matchups, but the two teams will add another layer to their history on December 19th.
But, the Bulls got the last laugh in the NBA Finals, which is the last time the two teams played. Jordan bested Magic Johnson in five games as the 1991 Finals are the only time the two teams have met in the playoffs since 1973. Had Johnson never retired, it might have been the great Magic vs. Jordan rivalry that we all talked about in history.
Cleveland Cavaliers 67-51 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
When LeBron James played for the Cavaliers, the Lakers couldn't find a way to win. At one point, the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant, had lost five straight and seven of nine. When he left to join Miami, it gave the Lakers a break, but when he returned to Cleveland, the Lakers lost seven straight. Now that he is in Los Angeles, the Lakers have won six of the last seven meetings.
The Lakers and Cavaliers have never met in the playoffs as both teams are in separate conferences. The only way would be the NBA Finals. In 2009, had the Cavaliers not lost to the Magic in the playoffs, we would have seen the Kobe Bryant-LeBron James NBA Finals matchup we all dreamed about. Instead, the Lakers owned the Magic and easily won the championship in a lackluster finish.
Dallas Mavericks 114-50 (Regular Season), 12-10 (NBA Playoffs)
When Dallas started, the Lakers owned the Mavericks. That included a 19-game winning stream from 1995 to 2000. However, the Dallas Mavericks tightened up the matchup when they defeated the Lakers 14 consecutive times from 2013 to 2017. With LeBron in town, the Lakers have lost to the Mavericks only three times.
The playoffs are a different story. The two teams have played one series since 1988, but it is the most memorable season for Dallas. In 2011, the Mavericks upset the Lakers in a four-game sweep on route to winning the NBA Finals. That included besting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in the championship.
Denver Nuggets 110-72 (Regular Season), 25-8 (NBA Playoffs)
When Magic Johnson played for the Lakers, the Nuggets had little success against Los Angeles. That included leading a winning streak as high as 12 at one point. Since then, the teams have gone back and forth, including the Nuggets getting nine out of 10 wins in Kobe’s later years. Since 2017-2018, which is the emergence of Nikola Jokic, the Lakers have gone 7-6.
The Lakers and Nuggets met in the playoffs in 1985, 1987, and 2008 and the Lakers won 11 straight games. In 2009, Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets to the Conference Finals and challenged the Lakers to a six-game series, but the Lakers made and won the NBA Finals. The two teams met again in 2012 and 2020, where the Lakers won both times.
Detroit Pistons 210-134 (Regular Season), 26-21 (NBA Playoffs)
The Lakers once beat Isiah Thomas 10 consecutive times. Then, the team won 16 of 17 matchups during the 90s. The only time the team struggled was when Chauncey Billups, Ben and Rasheed Wallace, and Richard Hamilton led the Pistons, once winning seven of eight matchups. These days, Detroit is sneaky good against the Lakers, as the team has gone 6-6 in their last 12 meetings.
In the playoffs, the Lakers got the best of Thomas in 1988 by winning the NBA Finals over him and the Pistons. However, the Lakers were bested in 1989 as Thomas got his revenge. Then, the Pistons got the best of the Lakers again in the 2004 NBA Finals. In a way, you could say that loss played its part in the future breakup of Kobe and Shaq.
Golden State Warriors 257-170 (Regular Season), 25-11 (NBA Playoffs)
Back in the day, this was an easy win for the Lakers. The Lakers own multiple long win streaks, stretching as high as 12 games during the Kobe days. As time passed and the Steph Curry dynasty was created, the Warriors have tried to narrow the gap. Since the 2014-2015 championship season for Golden State, the Warriors have defeated the Lakers 18 out of 27 games.
Before last year’s play-in game, the Lakers hadn’t played the Warriors in the playoffs since 1991. That year, Johnson led the team past the Warriors in the semifinals on their way to the NBA Finals. Before that, the two teams often met in the second round of the playoffs with the Lakers ultimately winning the series. The last time the Warriors beat the Lakers in a playoff series was in 1967.
Houston Rockets 143-85 (Regular Season), 24-16 (NBA Playoffs)
There are two clear heels to the Lakers. Outside of years that featured Hakeem Olajuwon and James Harden, the Lakers took care of business against Houston. At one point, Olajuwon-led teams had won nine of 12 matchups. Then, Harden-led teams once defeated the Lakers 17 of 20 times. Since Harden left, the Lakers have won five straight.
The 2009 playoffs stuck out as the teams battled out to a seven-game series in the semifinals. A team of Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Ron Artest, and Luis Scola nearly pulled off the impossible, but the Lakers took care of business. They would do it again in 2020, which ended the one-year experiment of Harden and Russell Westbrook.
Indiana Pacers 63-32 (Regular Season), 4-2 (NBA Playoffs)
The longest winning streak the team owns is a 14-game win streak in the early 80s. Since then, no team has won more than five consecutive games. This has been a very competitive back and forth matchup over the years. From Reggie Miller to Paul George, the Pacers have found a way to compete. Proof of that comes as recent from this year’s overtime game.
The two teams have met once in the playoffs, the 2000 NBA Finals. Shaq and Kobe got the best of Miller in six games, which included the 100-98 overtime victory in Game 4 to put the Lakers up 3-1 in the series.
Los Angeles Clippers 150-78 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
Before Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers stunk. When fans are wondering why the Lakers are the more beloved franchise in town, it’s because the Lakers were flat-out better. The Clippers have made a run to win the city in recent years though. Since 2012, the Clippers own a 25-7 against the Lakers.
The two teams have never played in the playoffs, but in 2020, there was a real chance. The Clippers held a 3-1 lead over the Nuggets but choked the next three games to lose. It would have been LeBron James and Anthony Davis against Leonard and George. In a way, we feel robbed because the Lakers made easy work of Denver in the Conference Finals.
Memphis Grizzlies 61-36 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
The Lakers have won seven of the last nine meetings. There was a time from 2013-2016 that the team lost nine straight. The years of Mike Conley Jr. and Marc Gasol were competitive in Memphis, while Bryant was on his last legs. But if you look at primetime Kobe, he led the Lakers to a 25-2 record against the team from 1996-2003.
Despite the Grizzlies playing in the Western Conference, the two teams have never met in the playoffs. One has to wonder what a mashup of Conley, Gasol, and Zach Randolph would have looked like against Bryant and Gasol would have looked like.
Miami Heat 38-29 (Regular Season), 4-2 (NBA Playoffs)
From 2010-2014, LeBron James continued his reign over Bryant in the regular season. The Lakers beat the Heat just one time. During a span from 2010 to 2016, the Lakers lost 11 of 12 matchups. Before that, the Lakers won the majority of their games against Miami, including winning six of the last eight matchups.
The 2020 NBA Finals marked the first time the two teams met in the playoffs. Jimmy Butler had led LeBron’s former team to the NBA Finals for the first time since his departure. The matchup featured a triple-double from Butler, an unlikely hero in Tyler Herro, no pun intended, but LeBron won his fourth Finals MVP as the Lakers won in six games.
Milwaukee Bucks 83-58 (Regular Season), 6-10 (NBA Playoffs)
The Lakers once won nine straight games in the 70s and the late 90s. The largest win streak is 10 during the mid-2000s. Outside of that, the series has gone back and forth. Even when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined the team, the Bucks competed and never let the team go on long win streaks. The team’s biggest heel these days is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has led the team to an 8-2 mark in the last ten games.
Before Kareem joined the Lakers, he led the Bucks to their first championship in 1971. The two teams haven’t met in the playoffs as of recently. The last time was in 1974 when the Bucks won the series 4-1.
Minnesota Timberwolves 82-37 (Regular Season), 8-4 (NBA Playoffs)
When Kevin Garnett played for the Timberwolves, the series was at least competitive. The Lakers had their fair share of wins, but it was competitive. When he left, the Lakers won 22 consecutive games against the Timberwolves that stretched from 2005 to 2013. From 2017-2019, the Timberwolves won seven of eight matchups though.
The two teams have met in the playoffs just two times. The first time came in 2003 when Garnett pushed the Lakers to six games, including a 114-111 overtime game that saw Minnesota go up in the series 2-1. The following year, the Timberwolves claimed the No. 1 seed and met the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. However, Kobe and Shaq prevailed again and won the series in six close games.
New Orleans Pelicans 41-23 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
Even when Chris Paul played for the Pelicans, the Lakers got the best of him. Then, when Anthony Davis joined the Pelicans, the Lakers continued to pound away, winning as many as 11 straight games. However, there was a stretch where Davis led New Orleans to an 8-3 mark, but since his departure, the Lakers have won eight of the last nine times.
The two teams have never met in the playoffs. Instead, Davis joined the Lakers and won a championship with Los Angeles in his first season.
New York Knicks 170-124 (Regular Season), 16-13 (NBA Playoffs)
The two biggest cities in the United States feature a long history against each other. The Lakers won three different nine-game winning streaks against the Knicks. The Lakers haven’t lost more than five straight games to the Knicks since Bryant entered the league in 1996. Before that, dating back to 1958. The longest losing streak to New York was four games.
In the playoffs, the two teams haven’t met since 1973, which is the last time the Knicks have won an NBA championship. The Knicks won the Finals in five games. The year before, the Lakers got the best of New York in the 1972 NBA Finals. When the Knicks won the 1970 championship, it went down to a seven-game series. The world is due for another tough New York-Los Angeles NBA Finals.
Oklahoma City Thunder 150-109 (Regular Season), 26-15 (NBA Playoffs)
When the team was new in Seattle, Jerry West had his way against the SuperSonics, winning as many as 13 straight. When Magic Johnson and Kareem were paired together, the two went 17-2 at one point. However, Gary Payton once led the team to a 12-1 record against the Lakers, but Kobe doubled down in his years by winning 10 straight. Then, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook beat the Lakers nine straight times.
The Lakers typically got the best of the team in the playoffs, but the Thunder won the last series. In 2012, the young trio of Durant, Westbrook, and Harden upset the Lakers to make a run towards the NBA Finals. Before that, the Lakers had won six straight playoff series.
Orlando Magic 41-23 (Regular Season), 4-1 (NBA Playoffs)
When Shaq played for the Magic, the Lakers were better. When Dwight Howard played for the Magic, the Lakers were better. The ironic part is that both players eventually joined the Lakers one day. For some reason lately, the Lakers have had a tough time beating the Magic, losing seven of the last 13 games.
In 2009, Howard led the Magic to the NBA Finals for the first time since the Shaq years. The Magic lost two overtime games and Bryant won his first Finals MVP since Shaq left town. Eventually, Bryant and Howard became teammates for one season.
Philadelphia 76ers 146-139 (Regular Season), 20-14 (NBA Playoffs)
During the 50s, and 60s, the Lakers had a tough time winning against Philly, but then the 70s saw the team win 15 straight. Then, in the late 80s, the team won 10 straight matchups from 1985 to 1990. Since then, the series has been fairly competitive with most win and losing streaks going up to three games maximum.
The Lakers have met the 76ers in the NBA Finals in 1954, 1980, and 1982, in which the team defeated them to win a championship. However, the 76ers got the best of the Lakers in 1983 to win their last championship. Then, the two teams met in 2001, led by MVP Allen Iverson, but the Lakers won their second straight title, a series win.
Phoenix Suns 146-110 (Regular Season), 40-28 (NBA Playoffs)
The Suns historically are a sneaky good opponent against the Lakers. The longest winning streak for the Lakers is eight games, which happened in the mid-90s. The longest losing streak the Lakers own was in the mid-2000s when Steve Nash led the team during his MVP years. Since then, the Lakers and Suns have gone back and forth, but the Lakers have won 11 of the last 16 games.
When the Lakers make the playoffs, the Suns are a frequent opponent. Since 2000, the two teams have met five times in the playoffs. Four of those five times have come in the first round, while the other was in 2010 when the two teams met in the Conference Finals. During that time, the Lakers made and won the 2010 Finals.
Portland Trail Blazers 123-111 (Regular Season), 36-17 (NBA Playoffs)
Say what you want about Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s place in NBA history, but they are Laker slayers. From 2013 to 2019, the Lakers once lost 16 straight to the Trail Blazers. Historically speaking, the Lakers struggled against the Trail Blazers, owning two other seven-game losing streaks. It might be payback for when the Lakers won the first 17 games of the series when the series began in the 70s.
The playoffs are a different story. The team has won 11 of the last 12 games in the playoffs. Nine of the 11 times the two teams have played, the Lakers have won the playoff series. All but four times were first-round appearances.
Sacramento Kings 279-160 (Regular Season), 26-11 (NBA Playoffs)
The overwhelming punching bag to the Lakers has to be the Kings. From 1988 to 1992, the Lakers won 17 straight games. From 1982 to 1988, the Lakers won 24 straight. This series is also one of the oldest as the two teams have battled back and forth since the franchise was once referred to as the Rochester Royals in 1948.
The last time the Kings beat the Lakers in the playoffs was in 1951. The last time the two teams played, the 2002 Western Conference Finals, was the most controversial. The seven-game series remains debated as a “fixed” series. In the end, Kobe and Shaq won their third straight championship, while the Kings have been terrible for years.
San Antonio Spurs 89-90 (Regular Season), 34-22 (NBA Playoffs)
Even before the Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili years, the Lakers struggled to be San Antonio. Outside a stretch led by Magic and Kareem, the Spurs have been a formidable opponent. The longest winning streak the team owns is five games while losing as many as eight consecutively at one point.
Before Duncan entered the fold, the Lakers owned the Spurs in the playoffs. Then, the two teams met with NBA Finals hopes on the line. In 1999 and 2003, the Spurs won and won the title. In 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2008 the Lakers either won the title or made the NBA Finals. The last time the two teams met followed that format, which was in 2013 when the Spurs swept the Lakers and made the NBA Finals.
Toronto Raptors 29-20 (Regular Season), 0-0 (NBA Playoffs)
At the beginning of the franchise’s tenure, it didn’t matter if it was Chris Bosh or Vince Carter, the Lakers were going to win. During the team’s run in the 2000s and early 2010s, the Lakers predominantly won. Then, when Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and Kawhi Leonard joined, the Lakers were held to 11 consecutive defeats from 2015 to 2019.
The two teams have never met in the playoffs. The first meeting of the two teams didn’t come until 1995. The Raptors hadn’t made the NBA Finals until 2019, which was the team’s first championship as an NBA franchise.
Utah Jazz 111-78 (Regular Season), 17-14 (NBA Playoffs)
The 60s, 70s, and 80s predominantly belonged to the Lakers. That included multiple eight or nine-game winning streaks. Then, the Karl Malone and John Stockton years made it murky. From 1990 to 1999, the Lakers went 18-23 against the Jazz. Then, after years of getting beat by Kobe, the Jazz defeated the Lakers 11 of 12 times during the rebuilding years. Overall, this has been a very competitive matchup, which will continue this season.
The playoffs are evidenced by that statement. Magic was pushed to seven games in 1988 before winning. Malone led the Jazz past the Lakers in the Conference Finals in 1998. Bryant got the last laugh though, leading the Lakers past the Jazz in 2008, 2009, and 2010 on route to making the NBA Finals.
Washington Wizards 120-76 (Regular Season), 4-2 (NBA Playoffs)
Dating back to 1961, the Lakers bested the Bullets by going 96-56. Then, when the team changed their name, the Lakers continued their success, winning as many as nine games straight early on. With that said, the Wizards have defeated the Lakers 13 of the last 18 games dating back to 2013.
The two teams have met each other only one time in the playoffs. That was in 1965 in the divisional series. Unless two teams meet in the NBA Finals, that drought will continue for a very long time.