In the lockout-shortened 1999 season, nothing seemed right for that long when it came to the Los Angeles Lakers.
There was the firing of head coach Del Harris, the trade that sent Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell to the Charlotte Hornets for Glen Rice and a brief experiment with Dennis Rodman.
Once the die was cast and Rodman had left the team, the Lakers regressed to being a good but unsatisfying team, despite the presence of Shaquille O’Neal and an ascendent Kobe Bryant.
Rice was a good shooter, but he wasn’t the lethal bomber he had been earlier in the decade, and some fans hated the fact that the team had sent Jones, a fan favorite, to get the over-the-hill Rice.
But on the last day of the regular season, for at least a minute, things seemed alright.
L.A. hosted the Portland Trail Blazers, who would finish first in the Pacific Division and were considered true championship contenders. The Lakers, at best, were pretenders.
But Rice turned the microwave to the highest setting and went 14-of-20 from the field and 8-of-10 from 3-point range, scoring 40 points and leading the Lakers to a 119-91 rout.
It would take just one more year for the Lakers to win their first of many championships during the Bryant era, and they would do so by handing those same Blazers a humiliating defeat in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals.