Best Game of 2013
Lopez - I might be a little biased because I attended the game, but Lakers vs Raptors where Kobe hit not one, not two, but THREE insanely clutch and difficult three-pointers to take the game to overtime.
In the place where the Lakers die, the Rose Garden, the Lakers had to win to keep their playoffs hope alive. Only six games were left in the season. A couple of months earlier Kobe had predicted the Lakers would make the playoffs and true to his personality he gave it everything he had. He played every minute of the game against the Blazers. He had 47 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 blocks, 3 steals and 1 turnover. Pau Gasol had 23 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Dwight Howard had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. For the Blazers, Damian Lillard had 38 points and 9 assists and 3 steals. LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 16 rebounds. With 5 minutes left in the game and the Lakers season hanging by a thin thread the score was tied 100-100. Pau Gasol made a two point shot. Lillard turned the ball over and Steve Blake fed a streaking Kobe. Lilliard was called for a clear path foul. Kobe made both foul shots plus a 23 footer to give the Lakers a six point lead. Howard missed two free throws, Aldridge made a shot and the lead was four again. After a couple of misses by Lillard, Howard made a shot at the rim and the lead was six again in the final minute. The Lakers made 3-4 free throws, sealing the victory and keeping their playoff chances alive.
Rude - There’s so many great options, with so many Bryant-led comebacks. But it’s a game that Bryant didn’t play in that is my top of 2013.
The summer of 2013 was spent talking of the demise of the Lakers and the uprising of the Clippers. The Lakers had just lost their possible future franchise centerpiece, while the Clippers secured theirs without a hint of Chris Paul leaving. Add in a handful of keen personnel decisions for the Clippers (Doc Rivers, J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley) and the Lakers lack of superstar talent and the talk intensified. Everyone heard that the Lakers were done and this was the Clippers city all summer long. Clearly, even the Lakers themselves were listening.
Opening night was supposed to be a walk in the park for the Clippers, facing a far inferior Lakers squad. It couldn’t have went worse for the Clippers or better for the Lakers. In a night of emotions, the Lakers used all the talk of them being old news as fuel to the fire within, not only beating the Clippers but playing the bench the entire fourth quarter and running away with the game. In one of the best displays of team basketball in Laker history, the Clippers were left hanging their heads on opening night of the 2013-14 season.
Hicks - The best game of 2013 was the first game of the season against the Los Angeles Clippers. The pundits predicted a blowout and the Lakers showed grit, shooting and athleticism in a surprisingly big win. It also was a welcome reminder to Los Angelenos that the Clippers are still the Clippers. The energy from that night led to a surprising competitive jump out of the gates, but the season is long and NBA advanced scouts are legion. For a month the Playoffs looked possible