Don’t lie, did you stop watching? Did you angrily turn off the Sacramento Kings game in the fourth quarter thinking that they had lost another game to the Minnesota Timberwolves?
If you did, you missed a moment. You missed Buddy Hield harnessing the Mamba Mentality and helping his Kings pull off an improbable comeback.
Down 22 with 5:43 remaining in the fourth quarter, coach Luke Walton left his rotational guys in the game and they responded. First Nemanja Bjelica hit a three ball. And then Bogdan Bogdanovic. And then Hield hit the nitro button.
The Kings’ leading scorer dropped in 20 of his career-high 42 points in the fourth, including 12 in the final 4:34 as the Kings tracked down the T-Wolves.
A huge Kobe Bryant fan, Hield matched the legend with an obscure nugget dug up by ESPN’s Stats Info.
Buddy Hield scored 20 points on 6-6 shooting in the 4th quarter tonight.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 28, 2020
He joined Kobe Bryant (Dec. 6, 2002 vs Mavericks) as the only players in the last 20 seasons with a 20-point, 100% shooting 4th quarter in a game where his team overcame a 25-point deficit to win.
Following the Kings' emotional 133-129 overtime victory, Hield stopped by and spoke to NBC Sports California’s Grant Napear and Doug Christie to discuss the game and what Bryant, who passed away on Sunday in a helicopter accident, meant to him growing up as a kid in the Bahamas.
“It was tough,” Hield said of preparing to play the game after Bryant’s death. “Just knowing where I came from and knowing what Kobe instilled in my life, everything was Kobe Bryant.”
Buddy did it for Kobe tonight. pic.twitter.com/ckGedjIYe2— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) January 28, 2020
With only nationally televised games available to watch, Hield was drawn to Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers. He’s modeled his game after the 18-time All-Star and adopted Bryant’s work ethic as his own.
“Kobe was always that guy for me,” Hield said. “He made me believe, man and that’s why I’m here today because I wanted to chase what he’s chasing.”
Hield knocked down 14-of-24 from the field and 9-for-14 from behind the arc. His 42 points surpassed his previous high of 41 that he set earlier in the season.
[RELATED: Walton reflects on Kobe's death]
“In the overtime, I didn’t want to score no more,” Hield said. “I had 42 points, I had five rebounds, three assists. Turn 42 around to 24. Five and three assists is eight points.”
Bryant wore No. 24 and No. 8 during his time with the Lakers. He made a tremendous impact on an entire group of young players, including Hield.
“It’s all Kobe, man, it’s all for Kobe,” Hield added.