After trading for Pau Gasol at midseason, the 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers saw a dramatic change in their fortunes.
They had gotten off to a strong start but had struggled after center Andrew Bynum got injured in mid-January. However, after their Feb. 1 heist of Gasol, the Lakers suddenly looked like a championship team in the making.
They blitzed through the early rounds of the playoffs and advanced to the Western Conference Finals, where they took a 3-1 series lead over the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Returning home to Staples Center, the Lakers looked to conclude matters in Game 5, but they found themselves down 33-16 early in the second quarter.
That’s when Kobe Bryant started to turn things up.
He scored 26 of his 39 points in the second half, including 17 in the fourth quarter, to put his team on top, 100-92, and send it to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2004.
His fourth quarter was something to behold, as he kept coming at the Spurs offensively, and they seemed helpless in trying to contain him.
After what seemed like many years, the Lakers were officially back in championship contention, and it was only a matter of time before they reached the promised land again.