This Day in Laker History: January 1st

Now with basketball back in action, Laker Nation has decided to continue to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise.

JANUARY 1, 2010

Let’s set the scene: To be honest, we should just consider renaming “This Day in Laker History” to “This Day in Kobe Buzzer-Beaters”. We honestly couldn’t remember if we had run this game yet, because it’s not the first time that Kobe Bryant has made huge plays against the Kings. A year before this game in 2009, Bryant had sprained his elbow in the third quarter, yet drained two three-pointers in the double-overtime period to escape Arco Arena.

Though the Kings were missing their two best players to injury  (Tyreke Evans with a sprained ankle and Kevin Martin with a fractured wrist), the Lakers still trailed the Kings 108-106 when Ime Udoka, a 78.6% free-throw shooter, went to the line to shoot two baskets. Missing both, the Lakers were still alive and called a time out. Coach Phil Jackson, sensing the sluggishness of the Lakers on the night, skipped past the two-point plays and looked to take the win with a three-point shot. When the ball was inbounded to Pau Gasol, Kings guard Sergio Rodriguez slipped and fell, leaving Bryant wide open in the corner to shoot the basket as time expired. The Lakers would escape Staples Center after an official review with a 109-108 victory, moving them to 26-6 on the season.

Quote of the Night: “Just a reminder that this is a team that wanted to go out and challenge the win record, 72 wins.” – Former Laker coach Phil Jackson, sarcastically, on his team’s performance in a 109-108 win over the Sacramento Kings. – From the LA Times, Jan. 1, 2010

James Cypert is a news and feature writer for When he's not perfecting his ill-advised Kareem-style sky-hook, you can find him on Laker Nation or follow him on Twitter.