Joe Ingles Reveals The Mentality the Utah Jazz Had Before Facing Kobe Bryant in His Last Game

Published 04/14/2021, 6:30 PM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the second quarter in game 3 of the first round of the NBA playoffs Friday, May 4, 2012 at Pepsi Center in Denver Colorado. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


Picture having to play against one of the greatest players in the history of the league and knowing that it was the last game of his career. Wouldn’t you also be all fired up to sabotage it? Joe Ingles had the same mindset entering the game on April 13, 2016. But against Kobe Bryant, there is no way that could have been possible.

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Kobe’s last game turned out to be one of the best performances of his career. A night neither the Utah Jazz can forget, nor the Lakers and their fans.

Joe Ingles and the Utah Jazz’s mentality entering the game

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Three of the Utah Jazz players, Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, and Derrick Favors, who were part of that historic night, are still on the roster. On the anniversary of Kobe’s last game, Ingles opened up about what was the mentality going into this game.

“I think going into the game we knew there was going to be a volume of shots that was going to be some type of record,” Ingles said. “It’s gotta be a record of something.” Ingles also recalled that right before the tipoff, the Jazz already knew they were not part of the postseason. However, that did not mean that winning that game wasn’t important.

“I think spoiling his last game would’ve been really fun for us,” Ingles said. “We knew how hyped up and excited they were going to be as well. It was a special night. To be a part of it was something I’ll always remember.”

Jan 21 2009: Kobe Bryant during the 108-97 Los Angeles Lakers victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif. (Photo by Darryl Dennis/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

How did Kobe Bryant wind up with 60 points?

By the fourth quarter, Kobe had only 37 points, and the Lakers were still nine points behind. They tried to make a comeback, but the Jazz answered with a 10 point lead. With just three minutes left for the game to end, Kobe took over.

Dropping all five of his drops from the field, and every single one of his free throws, Kobe was able to add 15 points himself. Under 14.8 seconds, his free throw landed him to a big fat 60. It was game over at 101-96.

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“I think early on we realized like in the first quarter he was going to get enough attempts up (that) if he made a few of his attempts, he was going to have a big night. I don’t think we envisioned what kind of happened,” stated Ingles.

He explained that there was so much hype around watching Kobe play one last time; the media had surrounded the place. There was hardly any left for Utah to do a pre-game warmup. The Lakers legend made every second of the game worth watching. A perfect end to a near-perfect legacy.

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Read also- ‘Motherf*** Got 60’- When Kobe Bryant Outdid Shaquille O’Neal’s Request For His Final Game

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Yashima Bhatia

1321 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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