Los Angeles defeated the defending champion Golden State Warriors, 122–101, in Game 6 to advance to the Western Conference Finals. The 7-seeded Lakers hit the road to play the West's top-seeded Denver Nuggets in Game 1 on Tuesday.
The Lakers started the season 2-10 under first-year coach Darwin Hamm and completely overhauled the roster midway through the year thanks to the trade of vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka.
According to Elias Sports Bureau research, they became the fourth team in league history since the conference began in the 1970-71 season to go that many games under .500 and reach the conference finals.
"I felt like if we ever got a chance to upgrade our roster and put some more balance around myself and (Anthony Davis), I felt like we could make a run," LeBron James said, looking back on L.A.'s rocky start. .
James had 30 points on 10-for-14 shooting, 9 rebounds and 9 assists as he snapped a personal streak of 18 straight playoff games scoring under 30 points.
Along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar -- the man James passed as the league's all-time leading scorer in February -- James joins Abdul-Jabbar as the only other players 38 or older sitting in the second row at Crypto.com Arena. At least 30 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in a playoff game.
"I just wanted to come in and make some plays and be efficient and defend at a high level and help (Davis) rebound," James said. "Help our team make winning plays. And I've made a few of them."