The Lakers missed the playoffs in the 2004-05 season, only the fifth time in franchise history, and they did not want to miss two consecutive postseasons while Kobe Bryant was in his prime. The Lakers did not have a championship roster in the 2005-06 season, but Bryant led them to the seventh seed in the West and a first round match-up with the Phoenix Suns.
In Game 2 of the series, the Lakers were already down one game and were looking to steal home court advantage from the Suns. The Lakers were up by seven late in the fourth quarter, but there were still three minutes remaining and that lead was minimal to the Suns’ high powered offense. At the time the Suns were led by Steve Nash, and Mike D’Antoni was responsible for the “seven seconds or less” offense that gave the Suns the second best record in the West.
With 3:20 left in the game, Walton shot a jumper from the top of the key but missed badly and the Lamar Odom fought for the long rebound. Odom was able to get hold of the ball and was able to pass it to Kobe coming down the lane. Bryant exploded and posterized Steve Nash, who was trying to draw a charge, but the official called it a block which gave Bryant the bucket and a free throw.
The Lakers would go on to win the game 99-93, but would go on to lose the series 4-3 to their division rivals. However, that dunk on Nash will forever be one of Bryant’s most memorable dunks.
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