1995–96 Los Angeles Lakers season
The 1995–96 NBA season was the Lakers' 48th season in the National Basketball Association, and 36th in the city of Los Angeles. It was also the highlight of All-Star guard Magic Johnson making a comeback. The Lakers played around .500 in the first few months before Johnson's arrival in late January. The team won ten of their twelve games in February. However, in March, after a game against the Seattle SuperSonics, scoring leader Cedric Ceballos missed the team's charter flight to Seattle without explanation. The Lakers were scheduled to play the Sonics again. Ceballos went missing for a few days, and was suspended without pay. Their troubles continued as Nick Van Exel shoved a referee in a game against the Denver Nuggets on April 9, and was suspended for the final seven games of the season. The Lakers finished second in the Pacific Division with a 53–29 record.
In the Western Conference First Round, the Lakers lost to the 5th-seeded Houston Rockets in four games. After the defeat, Magic decided to retire for the second time and for good. Following the season, Vlade Divac was traded to the Charlotte Hornets for Kobe Bryant, Anthony Peeler and George Lynch were both dealt to the Vancouver Grizzlies, and Sedale Threatt was released.
|1995–96 Los Angeles Lakers roster|
In the 1995–96 NBA season, Johnson made a short-lived second comeback as a player from January 1996 to May 1996. In this time, he had bulked up from his self-reported weight of 235 lb in 1992 to 255 lb in order to play power forward, a much more physical position than his usual point guard role. At age 36, Johnson played the last 32 games of the season, averaging 14.6 points, 6.9 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game. The Lakers lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round of the playoffs, and Johnson retired for good. Johnson explained his comeback with the words: "I am going out on my terms, something I couldn't say when I aborted a comeback in 1992."
Record vs. opponents
West First Round
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game|