The NBA careers of Myles Turner and Kobe Bryant overlapped for just one season with the 2015-16 campaign being both the former’s rookie season and the latter’s final campaign. The two also only actually played once that season with Turner missing the first matchup between the two teams early in the year.
And yet, the one showdown in Indianapolis was a memorable one for both reasons on and off the court.
Turner recently appeared on the Run Your Race podcast and talked about his one game against Kobe, which actually turned out to be a pretty exciting one. A really bad Lakers team that featured Kobe fully in his retirement tour mode came to Indianapolis to play a Pacers team that was vying for a playoff spot.
The game played out as expected for much of the contest with the Pacers largely in control. Kobe, though, tried to muster up one last magical moment and led a comeback in the fourth quarter that was eventually for naught as the Pacers earned an 89-87 win.
As was the case for much of the 2015-16 season after he announced it would be his final season, road games for the Lakers often resembled home games. And, well, they didn’t take too kindly to the Pacers not allowing Kobe to add to his storybook career with one late chapter.
"I remember we were playing against Kobe Bryant my rookie year... It's like crunch time now and we're starting to get down and Kobe leads an entire comeback by himself. It's a single digit game— we're up double-digits the entire game. He scores like 4 or 5 possessions in a row,… pic.twitter.com/I4qzJQF8Hl— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 14, 2023
To Turner’s credit, his recollection of the game is pretty spot on, which isn’t always the case with former teammates and opponents telling old Kobe stories. After seeing this clip, I went and found the highlights of this game it was a fun ending, even if Kobe largely struggled in that game.
And be sure to stick around in the video after the highlights for Paul George to throw a shot at his home fans.
After going 2-14 across the first three quarters, Kobe came alive in the fourth, or at least as much as he could in that stage of his career. He scored 11 points on 11 shots in the period and only made four shots.
However, all four of his makes came in a span of 1:45 with three of them being 3-pointers to turn a 77-71 deficit into an 82-79 lead after the final 3-pointer. Unfortunately, 0-5 in the final two minutes of the game, a pretty fair microcosm of his abilities at that point in his career.
If nothing else, it’s a fun reason to look back on Kobe’s final run and a fun story while also getting the chance to laugh at Paul George, a win-win scenario.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.