L.A.’s greatest sports moments, No. 15: Robert Horry game-winner
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We asked you to send in your picks for the greatest sports moments in L.A. history, and 1,181 ballots later we are unveiling the top 20 vote-getters. Each weekday we will unveil a new moment until we reach No. 1.
No. 15: Robert Horry’s game-winner against the Kings (2,786 points)
Vlade Divac called it a lucky shot. Chris Webber called it a lucky play.
Whatever, it was the luck of the Lakers to have Robert Horry on their side in the closing seconds of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Sacramento Kings on May 26, 2002.
Trailing 2-1 in the series and 99-97 in the game, the Lakers set up a final play. Kobe Bryant drove to the basket and missed a short jumper. Shaquille O’Neall missed a putback and before he could get another shot, Divac, the Kings’ center, tipped the ball out.
With 1.5 seconds left, Horry picked up the ball 25 feet from the basket. With no hesitation, he put up a shot with 0.6 seconds left over an onrushing Webber and swished a three-pointer to give the Lakers a 100-99 victory at Staples Center.
Instead of being down 3-1 in the series, the Lakers were tied and eventually won the series in seven games. They then beat the New Jersey Nets for their third straight NBA title.
“It was just a lucky shot, that’s all,” Divac said. “You don’t need to have skill in that kind of situation. You just throw it. If it goes in, it goes in.”
Horry, who made a career of big shots, shot back.
“A lucky shot is one of those guys who has no form,” he said. “If you look at this shot, it was straight form. Vlade shouldn’t have tipped it out there. It wasn’t no luck shot. I’ve been doing that all my career. He should know. He better read a paper or something.”
While Webber said it was a fortunate play, he knew better than to disparage Horry.
“Horry’s shot, that wasn’t luck,” he said. “That was a big shot, and that’s a big-time player.”
— Hans Tesselaar