Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Opponent: Philadelphia 76ers
Result: Lakers over 76ers, 4-1
Finals stats: 33.0 PPG, 15.8 RPG, 4.8 APG, 0.4 SPG, 3.4 BPG
The Lakers rolled into the 2001 Finals without losing a playoff game, which made the 76ers' upset in Game 1 all the more stunning. While Shaq certainly couldn't be blamed for that one (he had 44 points and 20 rebounds, including 18 in the third quarter), the big man came back with a vengeance in Game 2. Implored by Phil Jackson to assert himself down low, Shaq narrowly missed out on a quadruple-double as he tallied 28 points, 20 rebounds, nine assists, and eight blocks as the Lakers retook control of the series. The momentum boost Shaq's performance provided propelled the Lakers to three consecutive wins on the road in Philadelphia to seal their second consecutive title.