Kobe Bryant’s top 100 games: No. 35

·1 min read

The one real obstacle standing between the Los Angeles Lakers and a third straight NBA championship in 2002 was the Sacramento Kings.

They trailed the Kings 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals, and things seemed somewhat bleak for them heading home for Game 6.

One reason Los Angeles was in that situation was Kobe Bryant’s up-and-down play starting in Game 2 when he suffered a serious case of food poisoning. He played a solid contest in Game 4, but other than that, he ranged between lackluster and very poor.

But in Game 6, he and Shaquille O’Neal brought their A games just when their team needed them to.

O’Neal exploded for 41 points and 17 rebounds while Bryant had his best game of the series (to that point) with 31 points on 10-of-20 overall shooting and 11-of-11 from the free throw line, 11 rebounds and five assists.

He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter with the Lakers’ season on the line and helped lead them to a nervous 106-102 win.

As they always seemed to do in the early 2000s, the Lakers had gotten themselves off the mat and put themselves back into a position where they could finish off an opponent.

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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire