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During a corporate American Express conference alongside his former head coach Phil Jackson, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal was asked how his 2001 Lakers squad would do against the current 73-win defending NBA Champion Warriors team. As expected O’Neal said that his 01 Lakers, which went 15-1 in the postseason, would beat the Dubs.
Shaq feels that they’d beat them under any circumstances, rule change or not. It’s hard to argue against him, as that was a dominant team which featured not only two of the top ten players of all-time, but two of the greatest physical forces the league has ever seen. Via Associated Press:
The Warriors’ 73 victories broke the Bulls’ 1996 record, but O’Neal said his 2001 Lakers would have beaten them.
That team set an NBA record by going 15-1 in the postseason for the second of three straight championships under Jackson, back when O’Neal could be an even bigger physical force before rules changes loosened the game for free-flowing offenses like Golden State’s to thrive.
“If you’re using those rules, we’d win. Now we use these rules these days, we’d still win, because you wouldn’t be allowed to touch me, you wouldn’t be allowed to touch Kobe (Bryant),” O’Neal said. “So yeah, that’s how I always look at it.”