5. 2000 NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers
As still somewhat of an unproven team, the Los Angeles Lakers entered Game 4 of the 2000 NBA Finals with an opportunity to take command and put themselves in the driver’s seat to win their first championship since 1988. However, Game 4 was everything but a walk in the park for Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Los Angeles Lakers. And in this game, we saw the best of Kobe and what would become the start of a special postseason career.
After missing most of Game 2 and all of Game 3 with an ankle injury, Kobe stepped up in a huge way in Game 4. Even more so in overtime when Shaq fouled out with a couple of minutes left in the game. It was a game that Kobe toughed out and proved that he could be a foundational (and dependable) figure for the Lakers franchise.
With five seconds left in the game, Kobe hit a tip-in shot to give the Lakers a three-point lead and secure the win to take a 3-1 series lead. Shaq scored 36 points and 21 rebounds and Kobe finished with 28 points, five assists, and four rebounds in the game.