The 2003-04 season was a tumultuous one for Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, but by playoff time, it looked like they had regained some of their former mojo.
However, they fell behind 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinals to the San Antonio Spurs, the team that had eliminated them the prior year in the same round and ended their run of three straight NBA championships.
Even after Los Angeles won Game 3 to get on the board, it looked like the team was up against it and about to be knocked out of the playoffs again.
To make matters worse, Bryant had a court hearing in Colorado on the day of Game 4. He woke up very early in the morning, flew to his hearing, and he only made it back to Southern California about two hours before tipoff.
Plus, he was tired. Very tired.
But he wasn't too tired to put together a masterpiece.
Bryant scored 42 points, 24 of them coming in the second half, along with six rebounds, five assists, three steals, one blocked shot and no turnovers. Shaquille O'Neal added 28 points and 14 boards, but it was Bryant who was the driving force behind the Lakers overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to win, 98-90.
What Bryant did that evening was as much mind-over-matter as anything else he had ever done in his career.
It was now a brand new best-of-three series, and Bryant's backcourt mate Derek Fisher would make a game-winning shot for the ages in Game 5, setting up a close-out victory back at Staples Center in Game 6.
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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire