The Lakers-Spurs game was over pretty quick on Sunday. Once you see Lisa Salters interviewing Bob in the front row about his encounter with Ron Artest, you knew that game was over. It also allowed Jeff Van Gundy to grace us with a few bonus sessions of his pointless rants.
As the commentators jumped from topic to topic, I began thinking about the 2004 conference semi-final series between LA and San Antonio. You know? The series that Derek Fisher hit his famous Game 5 winner with .4 seconds left in San Antonio.
As a Lakers fan, it was one of those historic moments that you will remember exactly where you were watching the game, exactly who you were with, and exactly how you celebrated. Feel free to leave your experience in the comment section below.
Me? Well, I was watching the series as I was on vacation in Guatemala. I lived there for a few years in college and when I had returned I told my parents that I would take them back down at some point. It turned out we also had some good family friends living in Guatemala at the time, so we figured it was a good time to go.
I saw the first three games before I left the country. The Spurs led the series 2-1, winning the first two games at home before heading back to Staples Center. Finding yourself in a two-game deficit leaves little room for hope. I actually remember flying out to LAX and seeing Staples Center from my window seat and thinking “This all might be over by the time I get back here.”
I really didn’t think I would see much of the remainder of the series, if any, because I was traveling to a third-world country for the next week and I had no idea how much access I would have to see score updates or even a television with American cable. Low and behold I was able to watch Game 4 in my hotel room at Hotel Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua Guatemala. Granted, it was in Spanish, but I got to see the game nonetheless.
For those that may not remember, some termed this game as Kobe Bryant’s “Colorado Game”. He had touched back down in LA about 2.5 hours before tip-off after a full day of court proceedings. He started the game 1-2 at the free-throw line. The entire Lakers’ fanbase, and the NBA as a whole, was curious as to how Bryant would play after flying out that morning, spending such an emotionally and mentally taxing day in a courtroom, then traveling back a time zone only to switch mental gears and be fully engaged in an NBA playoff game.
He had performed phenomenally in a similar situation in the first round against Houston – 31 points and 10 assists in a 21 point victory.
Bryant got going early with an early three-ball to put LA up by 4. Lakers lost the lead, but in the 2nd quarter Bryant had a drive and two-handed slam down the middle that let everyone know he was completely involved in the task at hand. And for all the skeptics, late in the 2nd quarter Bryant made one of his patent circus shots followed by the and-one on the foul. In the third, He drained a long fadeaway 2-ball as the shot clock expired to keep LA on San Antonio’s heels. He followed that up with another impossible finish on the foul. After a long day and 42 points by Bryant, the series was now tied 2-2.
Next: Game 5