Kobe Bryant made a career out of hitting clutch shot after clutch shot for the Los Angeles Lakers. The future Hall-of-Famer has sunk many teams with his late game heroics and one team that is very familiar with what he does is the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings were the Lakers’ biggest foil throughout much of Kobe’s career and both sides waged war on numerous occasions. As the years went on, the Kings fell off, but that didn’t stop Kobe from torching them, as he did on New Year’s Day in 2010.
The Lakers trailed by 15 at the half, but would climb back into the game late. They were forced to foul Ime Udoka, down two, but the Kings forward missed both free throws, giving the Lakers the ball back with just four seconds left.
Head coach Phil Jackson drew up the perfect play. The ball was inbounded to Pau Gasol and at the same time, Kobe would set a brutal back pick on Sergio Rodriguez and then flare to the corner where he was wide open.
Kobe caught the pass, set his feet, and launched a perfect 3-pointer just before the clock ran out, to give the Lakers a 109-108 victory over the Kings.
Bryant finished with 39 points, five rebounds, and five assists while also hitting five 3-pointers. The Lakers were also helped by their huge frontcourt.
Both Gasol (17 points, 16 rebounds) and Lamar Odom (20 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles while Andrew Bynum also added 16 points of his own. The Kings were led by Spencer Hawes’ 30 points and 11 rebounds as well as 19 points and 13 assists from Beno Udrih.
In the end, this game was all about Kobe, who added another clutch shot to his highlight reel. The Kings should have known not to leave him open, but Kobe always finds a way.