Let's take a (brief) break from the Lakers head coaching search and the Russell Westbrook trade rumors. Back to when the Lakers were a dominant franchise with a front office that inspired confidence and a superstar tandem the likes of which the NBA had never seen.
In 2002, the Shaq and Kobe Lakers were vying for a three-peat. Their biggest obstacle wasn't in the weak Eastern Conference, but a few hundred miles north in Sacramento.
The Kings owned the best record in the NBA and were a number one-seed worthy of going toe-to-toe with the dynastic Lakers. The teams locked horns in a Western Conference Finals for the ages.
The two teams split the first pair in Sacramento before heading to Los Angeles. The Kings won Game 3 103-90. All of the pressure was on the Lakers heading into Game 4. 20 years ago to the day, LA was down 80-73 at the start of the fourth quarter and trailed until the very end.
Kings center Vlade Divac hit one of his two free-throws with 11 seconds left to give Sacramento a two-point edge. Phil Jackson called a timeout to draw up a play. Kobe missed a floater in the key. Shaq missed the put back. Divac swatted the ball to the top of the arc right to Robert Horry. Horry drained a three-point buzzer pointer to even the series as Staples Center exploded.
Happy 20th anniversary to Big Shot Rob hitting one of the biggest shots in Lakers history. If Horry doesn't drain that three, it's not out of the question that LA would've lost the series and never had the chance to secure their place among the NBA's greatest dynasties.
The Lakers would go on to win the series in seven before sweeping Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets in the 2002 Finals to complete the three-peat.