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Kings’ Buddy Hield pulled off historic comeback to honor Kobe Bryant

Buddy Hield, Kings, Kobe Bryant

Like many other NBA players, Sacramento Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield was determined to honor the memory of Kobe Bryant in his first NBA game since his idol died on Sunday in a helicopter crash.

Bryant was the hero that made the impossible possible, and Hield was determined to do the same for the Kings, even if they trailed the Minnesota Timberwolves by 17 with less than three minutes left in regulation — something most viewed as a done deal.

“You’re going to call me crazy, but before the game I felt like a miracle is possible,” said Kings teammate Nemanja Bjelica, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Buddy told me tonight he will play like Kobe.”

And that he did.

Hield scored 20 points in the fourth quarter and made all six of his fourth-quarter field goals, going a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor, including five 3-pointers.

The Kings’ comeback was as improbable as it gets, as NBA teams were 0-8,378 when trailing by 17 or more in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime — basically the NBA version of “Mission Impossible.”

Yet Hield, who found a way to channel his inner Mamba, helped the Kings to a 133-129 overtime victory.

“He was his idol,” said Bjelica of Bryant. “I know we won this game as a team, but [Hield] won this game for us. We weren’t going and he turned us on. He was making some crazy shots.”

“It felt great man, I’m not going to lie,” said Hield. “It was really emotional. Everyone knew what was going on in the atmosphere. A tragic loss. The greatest of all time, in my opinion. Growing up in the Bahamas, Kobe was that guy that made you believe, man.”

Hield also became the first player since Bryant to score 20 or more points in the fourth quarter without a miss, making it all the more special for the Kings shooting guard.