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On this date: Pau Gasol sends Lakers to second round of playoffs

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As the 2010 NBA Playoffs began, the Los Angeles Lakers were going for a second straight championship.

However, Kobe Bryant wasn’t himself because of a troublesome knee.

Even as L.A. took a 3-2 series lead in the first round over the young and dangerous Oklahoma City Thunder, Bryant struggled to produce.

He got his knee drained prior to Game 6 in Oklahoma City, and he played more like his vintage self, scoring 32 points on 12-of-25 shooting.

But he still needed help to put away Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and company, as they stayed right on the Lakers’ heels.

L.A. trailed by one with seconds left in the fourth quarter, and it looked like both teams would be headed back to Southern California for a seventh contest.

Bryant missed a mid-range jumper, but his partner in crime, Pau Gasol, got the rebound and put it back in just before the buzzer to give the Lakers a 95-94 victory.

The Lakers would soon regain their mojo, sweeping the Utah Jazz in the next round and overcoming the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Finals, and Bryant started playing as well as he ever had.

The pièce de résistance came afterward, when L.A. outlasted the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to bring the city perhaps its most satisfying world championship.

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Lakers have asked for permission to interview Darvin Ham