Moment # 8: What can you do in .4 seconds?
The 2003-2004 was a roller coaster one to say the least for the Lakers. In response to being defeated by the Spurs the year before, the Lakers brought in veterans Karl Malone and Gary Payton assembling what many considered to be a dream team.
Unfortunately for the Lakers this dream team did not work out according to plans, as Kobe faced sexual assault allegations and the other three future Hall of Famers all suffered through injuries.
Despite all of that the Lakers seemed poised to get Payton and Malone their rings with their main road block being the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, their opponent in the Western Semi-Finals.
The two powerhouses split the first four games of the series setting up a pivotal game five which will go down in history. The two teams slugged it out only as champions can, setting up a wild finish.
Down by a point, Spurs Forward Tim Duncan hit a near impossible shot with Shaquille O’Neal draped all over him, leaving the Lakers just .4 seconds to win the game.
We all know what came from that as Derek Fisher took a desperation shot that fell and seemingly saved the Lakers season. Jackson and the Lakers winning the title seemed to be just a formality now.
This was not the case though as the Lakers were humiliated in the Finals by the defensive savvy Pistons. This moment is still memorable though as we all learned that “one lucky shot deserves another.”
Moment #7: The greatest scoring performance on tape
As noted in moment number eight, Phil Jackson was given limited talent in his return to the Lakers during the 2005-2006 season. Jackson basically went to battle with Kobe, Lamar and pieces that most general managers wouldn’t touch.
This often led to Kobe carrying the Lakers on his back, often single handily carrying the Lakers, soon 40-point games were just common games for Bryant. Bryant’s scoring outburst on Jan. 22, 2006 was far from ordinary.
The Lakers went into their game against the lowly Raptors carrying a two game losing streak, it was imperative for the Lakers to win as they struggled to hold ground in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Lakers came out flat and trailed by double digits for much of the game, causing history to happen. The Lakers trailed by 14 at the half and Bryant had a not so surprising 26 points, then history happened.
Kobe went on to score a historic 55 points in the second half thanks to his ability to draw fouls and an amazing three point stroke. Bryant ended up tallying 81 points in the Lakers double-digit win.
Kobe’s historic 81-point game ranks second in NBA history, trailing only Wilt’s 100. For many of us this regular season game against the bottom feeder Raptors turned into the greatest scoring performance any of us will ever see.
Next:Moments number Five and Six of the Jackson era
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