January 15 2001: Lakers-Grizzlies OT thriller settled at the buzzer; Kobe gets triple double, Shaq has 30-15 game. Peak Frobe and MDE SHAQ here.This was the last season the Grizzlies were based in Vancouver, Canada. (The Grizzlies joined the league as an expansion franchise in 1995.) The Lakers entered the matchup with a 24-12 record. Rick Fox had a couple nice chasedown blocks. Shaq's kryptonite, Big Country Bryant Reeves, was on the Grizzlies. As was future Laker-killer (almost) Mike Bibby, who would be traded to the Kings after the season, with Jason Williams ending up on the Grizzlies. Shareef Abdur-Rahim led the Grizzlies in scoring, giving Robert Horry problems. The Grizzlies stuck with the defending champs for most of the game, and even took the lead midway through the 4th. Mike Bibby missed a contested layup at the buzzer to win it in regulation. Apparently Shaq only ever had 1 true game winning buzzer beater in his NBA career. It appeared for a moment that this was number 2. The ball was clearly in Shaq's hands as the clock expired. The refs actually counted the basket and said Shaq was fouled, so the Lakers, who had been down 1 as time expired, now found themselves up 1 with the Diesel on the line to go up 2. I don't know how the refs thought it made sense to add any time on the clock, but they did, and despite Shaq missing the free throw, they still won the game by 1. Maybe it was a make up call for the clean block by Shaq that was called a goaltend. The win would prove to be quite an important one for the Lakers, who finished 2nd in the West with a 56-26 record. The Sixers finished 1st in the East, also with a 56-26 record. Both teams would meet in the Finals and it was LA with homecourt advantage due to a tiebreaker. Had they lost this game, which it seems they did, Philly would've had homecourt, and that intro clip would've taken place in LA at Staples.
Shaq: 31pts (13-22) 15reb 5ast 3stl 2blk
Kobe: 26pts (10-24) 11reb 11ast 2stl 2blk
Abdur-Rahim: 32pts (11-27) 12reb 3ast 1stl
Bibby: 15pts 8reb 7ast 2stl
Big Country: 13pts 10reb
🎶: "One Minute Man" by Missy Elliot (really Timbaland) was released in June 2001, exactly 1 week after the Finals.