Kobe Bryant’s top 100 games: No. 58


After losing the 2008 NBA championship to the Boston Celtics, Kobe Bryant was on a mission to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy back to Los Angeles and prove he could win it all without Shaquille O’Neal.

He had to deal with that type of slander for years, and as he led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 65-17 record in the 2008-09 season and got them back to the NBA Finals, it looked like he was about to silence his critics.

In Game 5 of the championship series versus the Orlando Magic, Bryant finally got his chance.

The Lakers led the series 3-1 after a clutch Game 4 win, and Orlando had just about no fight left.

Dwight Howard and company made one last stand in the first quarter, taking a 17-8 lead, but once the Lakers turned it on, the outcome was no longer in doubt.

They tightened their defense in the second quarter, creating fast breaks and early offense opportunities, and suddenly, they led 56-46 at halftime.

When the Lakers extended their lead to 73-57 with 2:55 left in the third period, it was time for their fans to wait for the clock to run out.

Once it did, the team had won its first world championship since 2002, and Bryant was finally on top of the basketball world again.

The Black Mamba finished with 30 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and four blocked shots, and he made the Magic feel his presence all too much.

See also  DeRozan, Giannis erupt with huge performances

It earned him his first of two Finals MVP awards, the one individual award he needed to round out his legacy but didn’t have yet.


Kendrick Nunn’s injury recovery has been slower than expected


Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

Source link