Game 4, 2009 NBA Finals: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Orlando Magic
Everything that Derek Fisher brings to a basketball team goes beyond the box score. He can’t score, he can’t penetrate and he’s not a great playmaker. But he’s tough, he’s a leader, and he can hit a huge shot with a playoff game on the line. Sometimes, he can hit two huge shots.
Down 87-82 with 31 seconds left in the game, Kobe Bryant sliced through the lane and dumped it off to Pau Gasol for a dunk. On the ensuing play, Bryant fouled Dwight Howard to send the big man to the line with a chance to put his team up by five points.
He missed them both, and the Lakers called timeout. Phil Jackson chose not to advance the ball to give his offense more room. It turned out to be the right move.
They got the ball to Fisher, who dribbled up and saw Jameer Nelson (for some reason) on his heels and inside the three-point line. Fisher let his high-arching shot fly and got all net. That shot sent it into overtime, but Fisher wasn’t done yet.
With 34 seconds left in overtime and the game tied, Kobe Bryant worked his way into the post. Jameer Nelson came down for the double-team, leaving Fisher open at the top of the key. Swish.
He was 0-for-5 from three-point land before taking those two shots. He still had the confidence to take them, and the Los Angeles Lakers won the game and then the championship—Kobe’s first without Shaquille O’Neal.
You try telling Kobe that it wasn’t a big deal.