TDIKH: December 19

Dec. 19, 2003

25 years, 118 days

The ball left Kobe Bryant’s hands with one-tenth of a second left, but all that mattered was that it was out.

Tied with Denver at 99, Bryant had pump-faked defender Jon Barry and rose up from 21 feet away for the game-winner at Staples Center.

“Once I got him in the air, I knew he was done,” Bryant told the media. “I just had to get the ball off in time. When there’s two or three seconds left on the clock when you get the ball, you have an advantage because the defender really doesn’t know the clock.”

The Nuggets trailed by as many as 14 points in the fourth quarter, but rookie Carmelo Anthony (24 points) helped lead a 13-4 run, which tied it before Bryant’s heroics.

While Bryant finished with just 13 points on 5-of-14 shooting, the purple and gold had plenty of firepower to keep them going until their star hit the winning shot.

Shaquille O’Neal finished with 26 points (8-of-11, 10-of-17 free throws), 11 rebounds, six assists and four blocks, while Gary Payton provided 10 points and 11 assists.

As a unit, the Lakers were rolling offensively, shooting 41-of-82 from the field and handing out 30 assists.

Kobe performances on this day in history: