Kobe Bryant attempts a layup against the Indiana Pacers during the NBA Finals on June 14, 2000.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Lakers History: Kobe's Overtime Heroics in the 2000 Finals

by Joey Ramirez
Digital Reporter

The most dominant player in the NBA fouled out halfway through overtime. The 21-year-old phenom carried the Lakers the rest of the way.

Shaquille O’Neal dominated Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals, piling up 36 points and 21 rebounds but picked up his final foul with 2:23 remaining in OT and the Lakers ahead by just one.

From there, Kobe Bryant proved himself on the NBA’s brightest stage, drilling consecutive jumpers, including off a crossover that shook Reggie Miller.

Bryant had missed most of Game 2 and all of Game 3 due to an ankle sprain, and only took jumpers in pregame warmups. But his most important play of the night came in the thick of the action at the basket.

Up by just one with six seconds left, Brian Shaw missed a runner. Yet Kobe had already boxed out his man and was in perfect position to grab the miss and immediately put it in.

“This is the game I’ve been dreaming about, to be honest with you,” Bryant told reporters. “I dream about it every day.”

Bryant finished the night with 28 points and a 3-1 series lead for the Lakers, who would soon capture their first championship of the three-peat era.

The young shooting guard had his struggles, needing 27 shot attempts to reach his scoring total. But he soaked up the pressure when the moment called him.

Indiana sent aggressive defensive coverages at him after O’Neal fouled out, but Bryant coolly scored six straight points to steer L.A. to a 120-118 victory.

Derek Fisher compared the performance to “those old NBA classic films, Magic and Kareem and others just taking over games in the Finals.”

John Salley said the plan was, “If anybody else shoots, call timeout and send them to the locker room.”

And Shaq relayed Kobe’s simple message to the team when he fouled out: “Don’t worry. I got it.”

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