(Republished from February 6, 2014)
Through the first three games of the Western Conference Finals in 2002, the Sacramento Kings had taken a 2-1 series lead over the Lakers.
Dateline: April 27, 2002
Going into Game 4, the Lakers knew that if they lost, their season and three-peat hopes were virtually on the line. Behind 3 games to 1 with two of the next three games in Sacramento would likely be an insurmountable obstacle.
The Kings came out on fire in Game 4, taking a 40-20 lead after the end of the first quarter. They shot the ball at an otherworldly percentage, making it that much harder for the Lakers to have any shot at a comeback.
The road to a victory would be an uphill battle for the Lakers, but it was an obstacle they would have to embrace if they desired another NBA title. They would slowly grind and chip their way back into the game, and would ultimately give themselves one chance to tie the game or win on the final possession. As the clock wore down Robert Horry found himself behind the three-point line with the loose ball and the rest is history.
Check out Horry’s game-winner in the Game 4 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals:
Though the Kings would go on to win Game 5, Horry’s historic game-winner would be the turning point in the Lakers 2002 playoff run. The Lakers went on to win Games 6 and 7, defeating the Kings in a classic series and advancing to their third straight NBA Finals where they would eventually three-peat.
In the end, without Horry’s heroics, the Lakers likely aren’t champions in 2002.