Los Angeles Lakers

This Date in NBA History: Kobe Bryant's memorable game-winning buzzer-beater in overtime vs. Phoenix Suns in 2006 Playoffs & more

On April 30th in 2006, Kobe Bryant knocked down a couple of clutch shots at the STAPLES Center - one, nearly a buzzer-beater, in regulation to force overtime and one in the extra session which was the game-winning buzzer-beater.

With Bryant's game-clincher, the Lakers won Game 4, 99-98 and took a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2006 Playoffs.

The first shot came as the Lakers were down two points (90-88) with 7.9 seconds left. The Suns, coming out of a timeout, inbound the ball to Steve Nash but Lakers' point guard Smush Parker steals it. Off the deflection, the ball ends up with Devean George, who hands it to Bryant for the game-tying floater.

The shot in overtime came off a jump ball at center court between Nash and Luke Walton with 6.1 seconds to go. Walton tipped it in the backcourt and Bryant gained possession. He sized up his defender Raja Bell and got to the right elbow, draining the game-winning buzzer-beater over Bell and Boris Diaw.

Here's a look at that shot:

Bryant finished with 24 points and eight assists for the game on 9-of-14 shooting from the field in 38:30 minutes. For the Suns, Diaw was the biggest contributor with 21 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists while Nash had 22 points and 11 assists.

This was the Lakers' third straight victory in the series, however, the Suns bounced back to win the next three and become (then) the eighth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit.

A couple of years earlier, Bryant had pulled off a similar game in Portland where he had two such shots - one nearly a buzzer-beater to tie the game in regulation and the other a buzzer-beater in double-overtime to win the game.

At the time of the game, this was Bryant's fifth game-winning buzzer-beater. He finished with eight for his career.

Other notable events on April 30th

  • In 1956, the Celtics traded for the No. 1 overall pick from the St. Louis Hawks in exchange for "Easy" Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. With that pick, they selected Bill Russell.
  • In 1971, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson starred in the only NBA Championship in the Milwaukee Bucks' franchise history. The Bucks swept the Washington Bullets 4-0 in the championship series en route to the title.
  • In 1975, Larry O'Brien was named the third commissioner of the NBA, succeeding J. Walter Kennedy.
  • In 1988, Sleepy Floyd (42) and Hakeem Olajuwon (41) combined for 83 points in a 119-108 Game 2 victory in the first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks. This was only the second instance in NBA Playoff history that teammates surpassed 40 points in a game.
  • In 2002, Gary Payton, then the point guard of the Seattle SuperSonics, became the second player in league history after Michael Jordan to be named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times. Nine All-Defensive First Team selections is still the most by any player in league history and four players are tied for that honour (Jordan, Payton, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Garnett).
  • In 2009, Ray Allen scored 51 points in an epic triple-overtime Game 6 of the Boston Celtics' first-round matchup against the Chicago Bulls. While the Bulls clinched the game 128-127 and forced a Game 7, the Celtics advanced to the Conference Semifinals by winning Game 7, 109-99.

Notable playoff eliminations on April 30th

  • In 2017, the Utah Jazz defeated the LA Clippers in Game 7 of their first-round matchup. It was the franchise's first Conference Semifinals appearance since 2010 which included just one playoff appearance (2012).
  • In 2010, Pau Gasol grabs the offensive rebound off a Kobe Bryant missed shot and banks it in with just 0.5 seconds in Game 6 of the Lakers (then the defending champions) first-round matchup against the OKC Thunder. Gasol's tip-in would be the eventual game-winner as the Lakers won 95-94 and eliminated the Thunder 4-2.
  • In 2004, Kevin Garnett records 28 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves win Game 5, 102-91 against the Denver Nuggets for the franchise's first and to-date, only Conference Semifinals appearance.

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