Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant blows on his hands during Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Sacramento Kings on May 13, 2001.
(Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Lakers History: Kobe Drops 48 and 16 to Sweep Sacramento

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

A historically dominant team requires multiple once-in-a-generation players. The 2001 Lakers — owners of a 15-1 playoff record — had such weapons in Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.

When it came to closing out the Sacramento Kings in the Western Conference Semifinals, it was Bryant’s turn to deliver the knockout punch, pouring in 48 points and 16 rebounds to cap the Lakers’ sweep.

Bryant was absolutely ruthless, shooting 15-of-29 from the field and 17-of-19 at the foul line, while fighting for nine offensive boards.

Sacramento had absolutely no answer for the 22-year-old, who would cross over one King and posterize another on the same possession.

However, Sacramento did put up a fight and even took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

But Bryant scored 15 of his team’s 39 points in the final frame, as the Lakers earned a 119-113 win behind a player who could literally take on all five opponents on one play.

Bryant always considered the court a sanctuary, and this game was no different.

In between Games 3 and 4, he flew from Sacramento back to L.A. to be with his wife, Vanessa, who had been hospitalized due to pain in her side.

Assured that she would be OK, Bryant returned to the state capital ready to give his team everything he had.

“I was prepared to do whatever,” Bryant told reporters. “I was going to run and push myself to exhaustion. It doesn’t matter. Every rebound. Every loose ball. I think my teammates understood that. To us, it was a life-or-death situation. We just weren’t going to lose.”

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