The 2005-06 season was a turning point for the resurrection of Kobe Bryant, as the lone franchise player for the Los Angeles Lakers began his tear in the NBA. With his deadly skill set and sheer determination, few players in the NBA had any chance of slowing Bryant’s dominance.
On this day in Lakers history, Bryant took things into his own hands and helped guide the team to an improbable victory. Jan. 27 provided a showdown between two Pacific Division rivals, as the Lakers hosted the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.
Bryant was coming off of an all-time performance, as it was his first game since an 81-point onslaught against the Toronto Raptors.
The Warriors were led by Baron Davis, who had become a revered talent at the point guard position for his passing ability. While many point to his legendary dunk over Andrei Kirilenko in the NBA playoffs, Davis meant much more.
He not only helped the rebirth of that struggling franchise, but also provided a show for their fans every night with the Warriors’ exciting style of play.
The contest at Staples Center started out in favor of the Lakers, as they jumped out to a 31-28 lead after the first. After outscoring the Warriors by five in the second quarter, the Lakers took a 55-47 lead into halftime.
However, from here the game would take a twist in favor of the Warriors. Head coach Mike Montgomery helped reset his team’s mindset and come out of halftime with a renewed energy. They out-hustled Los Angeles from the get-go, holding the Lakers to 11 points en route to taking a seven-point lead into the final quarter.
While Davis was the orchestrator, Troy Murphy, Mickael Pietrus, Monta Ellis and former Laker Derek Fisher all provided some much-need help. Pietrus, who was regarded as an elite defender at the time, had managed to limit Bryant to just 2-for-12 shooting through the first three quarters.
However, as all Lakers fans know, Bryant always emerged in the fourth quarter with his killer instinct. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter, pulling the Lakers to within just two points.
Fisher, Bryant’s former backcourt mate, then committed a huge mistake as he was called for an offensive foul shortly after. No. 8 was then fouled with under 10 seconds, sinking two free throws that sent the game into overtime.
The game would then turn in favor of the Lakers, with Bryant gaining his rhythm and finishing off the Warriors. He scored another nine points in overtime, cementing the Lakers 106-105 victory.
The future Hall-of-Famer knocked down four clutch free throws in the final 10 seconds of overtime, lifting the Lakers to 23-19 on the season. Bryant had 30 points, eight rebounds and five assists, while Lamar Odom contributed nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks.
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