Lakers > Celtics

Eugene Adams

The Los Angeles Lakers are the 2020 NBA Champions. It was a very weird season. The season was stopped in the middle due to Covid-19. It was then restarted in a Bubble. Through all the difficulties, the Lakers persevered. Here is a quick recap of the Laker's path through the playoffs.

First Round

Believe it or not, many so-called analysts thought the Lakers would lose in the first round. Those "experts" got even louder after the Lakers lost 100-93 in game one. However, that was the only game the Trailblazers managed to win. The Lakers won 4 straight to get out of the first round with little trouble.

Second Round

The second round brought an exciting test. The Houston Rockets were an excellent team led by two outstanding players (Harden and Westbrook). The reason the Rockets were an interesting test was they played with a "small ball" lineup. Small lineups are nothing new, but Houston took it to an extreme we have never seen before.

Once again, the Lakers lost game one 112-97, and the "experts" began to wonder if the Lakers had any answers to Houstons unique line up. Once again, the Lakers won 4 in a row to close out the series. None of the games were particularly close. In the end, the Lakers size was too much for the Rockets.

Conference Finals

Due to the Laker's cross-town "rivals" ineptitude, their next opponent was the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets managed to come from behind 3-1 in the first two rounds.

The Lakers managed to win game one comfortably, but the feel of the series changed from there.

The Lakers only won game 2 because of an amazing buzzer-beater. They lost game 3. Game 4 was close until the very end, but the Lakers managed to win.

The closeness of games 2-4 and the fact that the Nuggets already came back from down 3-1 twice in these playoffs made things interesting. The Lakers 3-1 lead did not feel safe.

In the end, the drama was for nothing. The Lakers won game 5 to make it to the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals

The Miami Heat completed a fantastic run through the Eastern Conereand to face the Lakers. The series started with the Lakers up 2-0 after 2 double-digit wins.

However, the next 3 games showed why the Heat made it to the finals in the first place. The Heat won game 3 by 11. They then fought until the very end before losing a tough game 4. Then manage to win an extremely competitive game 5.

Suddenly, the series that seemed to be an easy win for the Lakers after the first two games was anything but.

Once again, the Lakers took all the suspense out of an elimination game. They destroyed the Heat in a game that was nowhere near as close as the final score suggested. (106-93)

Whose 17 is better?

When does 17 not equal 17?

The Lakers recently won their 17th Championships, which tied them with the Celtics for most of all time. The Lakers win has opened up the fun debate about whose 17 is better.

In my opinion, the Lakers 17 is clearly better. (but I am a Lakers fan, so of course, I think that)

Here is why:

All-Time Winning Percentage

Lakers: 59.5%

Celtics: 59.1%

The Celtics were founded in 1946, and the Lakers were founded in 1947. This means the Celtics have won 17 titles in 64 years, and the Lakers have won 17 titles in 63 years. Winning percentage makes sense as a tiebreaker because it considers all the years the teams did not win the title. (which are a majority of the years).

This is pretty simple 59.5% > 59.1%. Although, as Celtics fans will rightfully point you, it is close.

All-Time Playoff Wins

Lakers: 450 (60.1% winning percentage)

Celtics: 381 (56.9% winning percentage)

The regular season is important, but the playoffs are where legends are made. Playoff wins are much harder to come by than regular-season wins.

This is where the Lakers really set themselves apart from the Celtics. 69 playoff wins is a huge gap. A gap that big is unlikely to be made up anytime soon.

Decades With a Championship

Lakers: 7

Celtics: 5

Consistent greatness counts for a lot when it comes to all-time greats. The Lakers have been more consistent. The Lakers have won a championship in every decade from the 1940s until now except for the 1960s. The Celtics, on the other hand, regularly go for entire decades without winning a championship.

The Celtics did not win any titles in the 1940s, 1990s, 2010s, or so far in the 2020s. Greatness doesn't win every time. That is impossible. However, greatness really shouldn't take so many decades off.

Finals Appearances

Lakers: 33

Celtics: 21

This is another category where the Lakers dominate the rivalry. 12 more finals appearances are mindboggling. It is a testament to how much more consistent the Lakers are than the Celtics.

I know many people will point out that this stat means that the Lakers have also lost more Finals series than any other team. However, those people miss the point.

Yes, winning the Finals is better than losing. However, losing in the finals is significantly better than not making it at all.

Losing in the finals means that you won your conference title. The Lakers have won the Western Conference 12 more times than the Celtics have won the Eastern Conference.

Since the 1940s, the Lakers have never let a decade go by without winning their conference. The Celtics failed to win the East in 3 of those decades.

Championships Won in my Lifetime

Lakers: 6

Celtics: 1

I was born in the 90s. That means that I have witnessed 6 Laker championships and only 1 by the Celtics. In that same period, the Lakers have won 9 conference titles compared to the Celtics 2. During the modern era, there is absolutely no competition. The Lakers have been consistently great while the Celtics were good twice in the last 30 years.

That is not to take anything away from the Celtics in the 1950s-1980s. They were terrific in those decades. The Celtic's run of 11 championships in 13 years (1957,1959-1966,1968-169) is a feat of dominance that will probably never be seen again.

However, at some point, the Celtics need to stop living in the past and win some championships this decade.


As a lifelong Lakers fan, I will always take any opportunity possible to troll the Celtics. It is all in good fun, though. Larry Bird and Bill Russell are two of my favorite players of all-time. Red Auerbach's 16 championships as a Head Coach and an executive is a standard of greatness that even Phil Jackson can't match.

All joking aside, it’s mind-boggling that the Lakers and Celtics have 17 titles apiece while the next closest teams only have 6.

To be perfectly honest, it does not matter whose 17 is better. Both 17s are great, and greatness deserves to be celebrated.

Note: All stats are accurate as of the end of the 2020 NBA Finals.

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Certified Personal Trainer | Certified ESL Teacher |I mostly write about all things Southern California, but I also cover national topics.

Los Angeles, CA

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