Kobe's Game-Winning J Beats the Bucks ... Twice

by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter

There aren’t many teams against whom Kobe did not hit game-winning shots, right?

The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t exempt, and since there isn’t a especially remarkable matchup between the two franchises that I can recall*, let’s take a closer look at two daggers he hit to beat Wisconsin’s team in 2009, and 2004.
*A potential Finals clash this season between the No. 1 seeds in the East and West would obviously take the cake!

The 2009 version came in my second season covering the Lakers, a campaign I remember most for – NBA championship aside, of course! – Kobe’s ridiculous SEVEN game-winning shots, the second of which came at Milwaukee. Here’s what I wrote at the time, on Dec. 16, 2009:

On the second night of a road back-to-back, the Lakers battled the Bucks for 48 minutes only to need an extra period when Bryant’s game-winning attempt over Charlie Bell rimmed out from 16 feet on the left side of the lane. The Bucks looked to have things well in hand when they jumped to a six-point lead (106-100) with 1:25 to go, but Kobe had other ideas. First came a jumper, then an and-1 layup, and finally a dagger jumper from nearly the same spot that beat the Bucks 107-106 at the buzzer. Kobe had scored the game’s final seven points, including the swished game winner over Bell, the Bucks unable to bring a double team since Phil Jackson had wisely chosen to inbounds the ball in the backcourt and let Bryant run up the floor and find his preferred spot.

Watching the play again, after he easily hits the jumper, it’s fun to see Kobe stick his two hands straight up in the air, triumphantly, before he was mobbed first by Shannon Brown, Lamar Odom, Josh Powell and Andrew Bynum. They’d need to get used to that, with five more game winners coming that season…

Back in 2004, Bryant’s game winner against Milwaukee didn’t come at the buzzer, but with 25.1 seconds on the clock, as he rose to drain a long two-point J over Keith Van Horn, who was switched onto Bryant thanks to a screen from Devean George.

Bryant, on the left wing outside the 3-point line, took a few dribbles to the top of the key, and after a hesitation dribble froze Van Horn, Kobe rose and buried a jumper over the top of 6’10’’ forward. It was Van Horn who’d put the Bucks up 103-102 by hitting a three with 42.9 seconds left, but on the next possession after Bryant’s jumper, Van Horn missed a 9-foot shot, and Shaq grabbed the defensive board to seal the win.

Kobe has hit so many big shots in his career that I actually didn’t remember that one, so, good thing we have Lakers-Bucks Day to bring that one back out!

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