8. 2006 Western Conference first-round Game 4: Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns
The 2006 Western Conference first-round playoff series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns was one of the strangest seven games in NBA history. After Game 1, even considering how good the Suns were, it was clear that the Lakers were going to give them trouble. Even if the Suns would end up winning, it was going to be a battle.
And that’s exactly what happened. However, after Game 3, as the Lakers took an unlikely 2-1 series lead, the Suns were heading into a must-win Game 4 on the road.
Instead of the Suns coming out firing, they looked a step slow and once again found themselves struggling at the hands of the Lakers. The Lakers smelled blood. And Game 4 ended being one of the most entertaining games in recent Lakers playoff history.
Kobe hit two huge shots that would end up deciding (and defining) the game. He made an acrobatic layup with less than a second left in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Then, in overtime, he made a mid-range jump shot as time expired to give the seventh-seeded Lakers a commanding 3-1 series lead.