The 2002 Western Conference Finals five highlights feature some classic moments from both the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers. The series was very competitive, especially over the last four games. The Lakers eventually won the series in seven games. Here are five highlights from the series.
- The first highlight marred the 2002 Western Conference finals series in controversy. In 2008 referee Tim Donaghy alleged that game six of the series was fixed. Sacramento was a win away from a birth into the NBA Finals. The allegations further alleged that it was in the NBA’s best interest for the series to have a game seven as it would bring in large television ratings. The Lakers eventually won game six 106-102, but the controversy will live forever.
- Game four was a pivotal game for the Lakers. Down in the series two games to one the Lakers had their backs against the wall. The Kings were ahead most of the game but with time winding down the Lakers had an opportunity to send it to overtime. After a series of misses the ball was tipped out to Robert Horry who nailed a three point shot at the buzzer giving LA the 100-99 win.
- Game five saw a chance for the Kings to regain the lead in the Western Conference Finals. With the game being played at home it was their chance to put some pressure on the Lakers. The game was a series of lead changes that saw the game go down to the wire. Sacramento guard Mike Bibby hit a jump shot with just seconds left giving the Kings a 92-91 win. More importantly it gave them a three games to two edge in the series.
- Game six was a must win for the Lakers. Shaquille O’Neal took the team on his shoulders, scoring 41 points and dominating the paint. His play led the Lakers to even the series with a 106-102 win.
- Game seven of the 2002 Western Conference Finals resembled the rest of the series. It was a back and forth affair that saw the first overtime in the series. The Kings fell apart in overtime as O’Neal and Kobe Bryant were able to take over. O’Neal finished the game with 35 points. Bryant finished with 30. The Lakers won the game 112-106 and emerges as Western Conference champions.
The Lakers would sweep the New Jersey Jets in the NBA Finals to win its third consecutive NBA Championship.