The clock ticked down, the Lakers trailed and you-know-who had the ball.
Kobe Bryant dribbled to the far perimeter. He squared up. His shot dropped through the basket. And the 18,997 fans at Staples Center cheered ecstatically for Bryant nailing the eventual game-winner in the Lakers' 88-85 victory Saturday over the New Orleans Hornets.
We've seen this play out before, as Bryant's 26-foot jumper gave the Lakers an 86-85 lead with 21 seconds left. But Bryant's clenched jaw, the Lakers' sense of relief and fans' giddiness over the shot came in a different context. Bryant scored seven points on three-of-21 shooting from the field, missed his first 15 attempts and had gone zero of seven from three-point range before his final, game-winning shot.
"All scripted," Bryant said with a laugh. "I'm stubborn. That's probably what it is. If I would've missed that shot, everybody would've killed me. It's a two-point game. He could've easily thrown the ball to Drew or Pau or something like t...