Robert Horry didn’t have the best numbers. During his seven seasons in Los Angeles, the the 6-foot-10 forward never led the team in any major statistical category.
But whenever the Lakers needed it, Horry was ready to take the big shot. And more often than not, he delivered.
Horry’s biggest shot came in the 2002 postseason. Just weeks after making a game-winning three-point basket with 2.1 seconds left to end the Lakers’ first-round series against Portland, Horry came through again in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against Sacramento.
Trailing the Kings by two, the Lakers were on the verge of falling behind three games to one in the series after center Shaquille O’Neal missed a layup with three seconds remaining. But the ball was batted in the direction of Horry, who scooped it up and made a 25-foot straightaway shot to lift the Lakers, 100-99, and tie the series. With that, Horry and the Lakers were on their way to a third consecutive NBA title.
In 2009, Times columnist Bill Plaschke called it the fourth greatest shot in Lakers history.
Horry’s dramatic touch didn’t start in Los Angeles. An 11th overall draft pick by Houston, he made a last-second three-pointer in Game 3 of the 1995 NBA Finals against Orlando in an eventual series sweep that gave Horry and the Rockets their second consecutive league title.
He was traded to the Lakers from Phoenix in January 1997 and was seven for seven from three-point range in the conference semifinals against Utah, setting a playoff record for most three-point shots without a miss.
His best postseason with the Lakers came in 2002. In addition to his late-game heroics, he had a career playoff-high 20 rebounds against Sacramento and finished the playoffs with 9.3 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.74 steals, all postseason highs for his time with the Lakers.
But Horry’s postseason magic seemed to wear off the next season. In a conference semifinal series with San Antonio, he was 0 for 18 from three-point range and had a last-second potential game winner in Game 5 pop out of the basket. He finished the series with 24 consecutive misses and the three-time defending champions were eliminated in six games.
That off-season, Horry signed as a free agent with San Antonio, for whom he made a game-winning three-pointer in overtime in Game 5 of the 2005 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons. Only the second player in league history to win NBA titles with three franchises, Horry finished his 16-year career with seven championship rings.
Feb. 21, 2011