December 17, 1997 – Jordan and Pippen save the day as Bulls narrowly beat Lakers
This game marked a major milestone in Kobe’s career as he faced his idol, Jordan, for the first time. Led by O’Neal, the Lakers took an early advantage, but the Bulls rallied in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. In overtime, O’Neal and Rodman nearly clashed, but were stopped by Jordan and Pippen. In the end, the Bulls narrowly defeated the Lakers 104-102.
This game showed the great leadership of Jordan and Pippen as they led their team to victory in the face of adversity. The game also showed the talent of Kobe, who despite being a rookie, was still able to compete with superstars such as Jordan.
LA got off to a fast start behind O’Neal and Nick Van Exel. It led 36-33 after the first quarter and headed into the second half with a 72-57 lead. Jordan, Pippen and Rodman led the comeback as they put on a sizzling display in the fourth period to force overtime.
It was in extra time that Shaquille O’Neal and Dennis Rodman nearly got into it. The Lakers trailed 125-123 with 20.7 seconds left in the game, when Rodman grabbed a crucial rebound following a big defensive stop. Elden Campbell fouled “The Worm” before they got into a shoving match.
O’Neal wanted to confront the Bulls power forward who was held and eventually wrestled to the ground by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Jordan and Pippen prevented what might have been a technical foul called against Rodman and possible ejection.
Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, had a quiet night. He played 10 minutes as Eddie Jones’ back up and finished with five points, one rebound and one block.
Jordan finished with a game-high 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and one cap in 47 minutes of action.
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