April 4, 2003
24 years, 224 days
With 3.3 seconds left and down by one, the Lakers knew who to give the ball to.
Robert Horry inbounded to Kobe Bryant, who almost gave it back to his teammate cutting to the rim. Instead, Bryant simply rose up from 21 feet away and buried the game-winning buzzer-beater.
“After I missed (Horry), I just had to pull the ball back, regroup, check the clock, make sure I had enough time, and then operate,” Bryant told reporters after the Lakers’ 102-101 win.
Everything had been going Memphis’ way, as it ended the third quarter with a half-court shot to take an 89-66 lead.
But the Lakers weren’t buried yet.
After whittling the Grizzlies’ lead down to 94-77, the Lakers exploded for a 21-4 run to tie it up at 98 with 1:39 left.
After the teams exchanged free throws, Bryant was set up for his heroic, last-second bucket over Shane Battier.
“(He) just hit a good shot,” Battier said. “I tip my hat to him and move on to the next city. I thought we did a pretty good job of containing him for 47 minutes and 58 seconds.”
The fourth quarter scored 36-12 in favor of Los Angeles, which was led by 10 points from Bryant. He finished the night with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal hauled in 33 point and 19 rebound — 14 of which came on the offensive glass — to thwart Memphis’ Jason Williams (18 points, 12 assists) and Pau Gasol (18 points, 11 rebounds).
Kobe performances on this day in history: