After winning back-to-back championships in 2000 and 2001, the Lakers of the early 2000s sought to make history by becoming the fourth different team to “three-peat”.
The 2002 team advanced through the first two rounds in easy fashion after sweeping the hated Portland Trail Blazers in round one and getting past the San Antonio Spurs in five games in round two.
Naturally, the Lakers began to question their competition as any defending champion would. Was this truly the challenge that awaited them on their quest three straight rings? If so, then road wouldn’t be as strenuous as they anticipated.
Until they faced the Sacramento Kings.
The Sacramento Kings would provide a rude awakening to the utter reality that if the Lakers wanted to “three-peat” that it wasn’t going to be easy. The strategic coaching of Rick Adelman and the MVP-caliber play of Chris Webber would take the Lakers to their breaking point during the Western Conference Finals in 2002.
Through the first three games, the Kings took a 2-1 advantage on the Lakers, and going into Game 4, the Lakers knew that their season and championship hopes were on the line if they didn’t win. So naturally any fan would think that the Lakers would come out and play some of their best basketball in order to even the series up right? Not exactly.
Sacramento came out on a mission in Game 4, taking a 20-point lead by the end of the first quarter. The road to a win would be an uphill climb, but it was an obstacle the Lakers would have to get past if their desired another NBA title.
They would slowly grind their way back into the game, and ultimately allowing themselves one chance to tie or win on the final possession of the game.
Coach Nick at BballBreakdown gives a detailed video run-through on how the Lakers fought their way back, and ultimately winning on a Robert Horry game-winner.
NBA Trade Rumors 2014: Pau Gasol Responds To The Latest In Lakers Trade Rumors