Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 at 9:00 am  |  81 responses

Derek Fisher’s Latest Playoff Heroics

by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

Despite the Lakers’ relatively comfortable lead through the game’s first three quarters last night, everyone knew the Celtics had one final, furious push within them. And they did, at one point trimming the L.A. advantage down to just a single point.

What was unexpected — what is seemingly always unexpected, despite its mind-blowing frequency — was Derek Fisher saving his team in a critical Playoff game.


Fish made clutch shot after clutch shot in the fourth quarter (11 of his 16 points came in the period) to help the Lakers escape Game 3 with the series lead.

Fisher got a bit choked up in the postgame interview with ABC; when he had finally composed himself and faced the media contingent in Boston, Derek was able to better explain how managed to do what he did:

“Derek Fisher was the difference in the game,” Doc Rivers said. “He’s just a gutty, gritty player and he gutted the game out for them. I thought Kobe was struggling a little bit, and Fisher—he basically took the game over … I don’t know what he had in the fourth quarter … but most of them were down the stretch.”

“When he’s got an opportunity to hit a key shot, it seems like he’s always there and ready,” said Phil Jackson.

“That was just Derek being Derek,” said Kobe Bryant. “He makes big plays all the time. He never ceases to amaze me.”

“To come through tonight again for this team… after so many great moments, it’s always quite surreal and quite humbling to experience it again and do it again,” Fisher said. “But it’s like being a kid, man, you just never get tired of that candy … I think as you grow in this game and you put in the work that’s required to still be around 14 years later, you start to recognize that being in this moment, on this stage, it’s not a given. It’s not something that happens every season. Five or 10 years from now, when I’m long gone, I would have hated to feel like I didn’t just do everything I could have to help my team. Things have worked out well, and we have two more wins to get to really put a nice cap on it.”

There’s no telling how the rest of this series will play out. It could go either way. Both teams seem to have different heroes (and goats) each night.

One thing is certain, though. The Celtics will need to go back to L.A. in order to win this thing. Sorry, Paul Pierce.

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  • http://aspov.blogspot.com Cheryl

    Man, you gotta be happy for this guy, whether you like the Lakers or not. I really do hope he gets to spend the rest of his career in L.A. I can’t think of a reason why Buss & Co. wouldn’t do it.

  • BostonBaller

    I’m not reading the above article b/c i don’t need to. Fish has been a killer for a long time and I never understand why so many fans take it personally & hate him. Yes he’s a huge flopper but he’s always working the angles and using his brains. without him the lakers would not be as dangerous as they are. kobe’s game is a given and for the most part so is Gasols but then it gets 50/50. I don’t like Fish when they play us.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    That…was Horry-esque.

  • http://www.slamonline.com South Africa ’10

    He took the game on his shoulders – meaning, in the last few minutes, he was going to be the reason the Lakers won or lost the game, depending on the results of his shots. Just like any worker in a position of responsibility, wherein success lies squarely on one’s discretion, I hope the man gets paid this summer.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Ahh…..but wasn’t it just a few short months ago that Lakers fan everywhere said that Fish is garbage and should move on? Yeah….the best fans in the world.

  • silverselectjd

    Fish has been clutch for so many years. Doubters will doubt, Fish will just keep on playing. Go Lakers.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    Fisher has 2-3 Lakers bailouts in him every postseason. Thats why they keep him around. They certainly dont keep him around to be burned by all the young PGs in the league.

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    @Eboy Haha. Seconded.

  • K.a.

    I saw him choking up, that was cool. Its like even after all this time he still surprise himself, i guess the enormity of what he did just hit him then. He may be my fave laker ever. N i hate lakers.

  • jumpman3224

    DFish carried them in the fourth. Kobe had a bad shooting game (1 pt per shot), but he had his finger prints all over the game by leading the team in blocks, accounting for all the steals, leading the team in dimes and variuos hustle plays. This was a great team win. @Eboy yesterday made the point that the Lakers can sometimes fall in love with themselves. They can not do that going into game 3. Last night’s win will provide multiple teaching points, hopefully they can continue to do what they did well defensively and execute better offensively.

  • Klav

    And this is exactly why Jordan Farmar doesn’t have a starting job.

  • A l a n

    Amazing Fisher… again!!!

  • jumpman3224

    Never wanted Fisher to move on…I want him there for his career esp in the postseason. Truth be told, I would love to see #2 in the rafters (not likely due to the lakers strict number retiring guidelines).

  • ber

    If the Lakers win, Fish should be MVP.

  • Kap

    I agree with BER but that’s not gonna happen. Stupid fans are gonna vote based on stats and name.

  • BostonBaller

    @Eboy, yeah there were several Lakers fans wanting Fish gone and I was hoping they pissed him off and we could have gotten him instead of Nate. lol. There are fans like that in every city, just a few months ago we had fans here in Boston wanting Ray out of town (some WERE my friends. lol. Fans like that don’t really know the game in it’s true essence therefore they can not appreciate what guys like Fish/Allen bring to the table. I bet DFish is one of the top 5 Lakers in hitting big shots in big games. With that said I hope he goes into a shooting slump for the rest of the series. no lol.

  • KulchaKris

    @Eboy, yeah, and no other teams’ fans are like that? Wasn’t that long ago fans were calling for Ray Allen’ head. Shoot, there were rumblings of Rondo being traded as well. I know fans of your team who want Beasley deep-sixed, but will change their tune if he starts performing. Such is the way of the fan.

  • KulchaKris

    Oh, and co-sign BostonBaller

  • Kap

    Did anyone see Kobe kick Tony Allen in the head? That was hilarious

  • Seymour

    @ldr4 …for real..He gets burned often during the reg season. But the post season (Lebronze you listenin)is where it matters the most and he comes through at times when someones needs to. Plus it couldnt happen to a better guy. He doesn’t talk smack (aka Pierce), a family man, etc.

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    For anyone who cares to think: Ron Artest was loathed then loved with a thirty second span for his game 5 against Phoenix. Lamar Odom has made a career out of alternating between fan favorite and pariah. Derek Fisher is 35 years old and has stunk it up for the last two regular seasons But you’d be hard pressed to find a Laker fan/Stan who doubts him every spring. They’d even go as far to say that his will to win matches Kobes. Because it does. Guys f*ck up. They redeem themselves. They take the blame and the praise. It’s part of the game.

  • vtrobot

    ah, fish. you f*ckin’ kill me. this is why i “hate” you and kobe. nice job, though.

  • Nick the Quick

    Wouldn’t it be really hilarious if the series did not return to LA, just as PP loudly declared Sunday night — only that it ends in Boston in 5??

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Just might…

  • T-Money

    Whoa, slow down. LA gutted out a tough win but I can’t see them winning three straight at Boston. If they do win though, it’s going to be hard to not re-up Fish. It’s safe to say that Farmar and Brown are not going to start at the 1 for the Lakeshow anytime soon.. or ever. / BTW, Is Rondo a terrible defensive player? Sometimes I feel that he is a lockdown defender and then he goes and let Fish blow by him.

  • Kap

    To be honest…LA had a chance to win all three games so them winning two more in Boston isn’t unfathomable especially if they win thursday. All the Celtics confidence will be shot to hell.

  • SK6

    Great win for the lakers – who owe alot to Fisher, it is too bad after every thing Fisher did last night there was a comment by Jackson or Van Gundy about he is playing so well because KOBE makes him tougher or KOBE challenges everyone to make them better or Fish made taht shot because of KOBE having to pass him the ball because Boston started to shut him down. I totally agree that KOBE is a great player I am just sick about listening to how he is more focussed than anybody else or that he talks about how to win in the huddles and that is why the Lakers are where they are at. I wish the NBA would stop trying to pick a player and make every part of the game about them. No matter is happening in the game every third word is KOBE.

    I wasn’t at the start of the playoffs but I am now an “OFFICIAL KOBE HATER”

  • http://www.double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!

    Please, too all the people talking about how salty Laker fans were about Fish not performing during the regular season, think about what if the Lakers didn’t make it to the finals? Then would the hate be justified? I’m just saying, I was one of those people who were infuriated by D-Fish in the regular season because of he lackluster play. Shoutout to D-Fish for coming up clutch, but if the team hadn’t got to the finals, its all for naught. But then again, that’s what makes Phil Jackson one of the best coaches ever. He knows when and where to use people. I will not speak salty of D-Fish from this day forward.

  • http://www.double-technical.blogspot.com Zee!


  • namik

    @Eboy: So am I to understand that YOU personally decide how you feel about a player on your team at the start of a season, irrespective of their performances to come, and then stick to that opinion throughout the season, once again, irrespective of their actual performances? Because I have no idea how that makes any actual sense.

  • Sparker

    i watched the promos of ray getting all that attention, big grin on his face, and i thought: the celtics will lose tonight (though i can’t say i thought he’d go 0 for 13). you take it down just a notch in this series, and you open the door for the team with more pride on the line, more to prove on game night. expect a lot of d fish interviews coming up and win #2 for the c’s

  • http://www.twitter.com/dfrance21 dfrance21

    @T-Money Rondo is just too much of a gambler to be a solid defender. He likes to roam around and then hope he can use his length and speed to recover. Fisher is not quick by any means, but he knows how to hanlde to ball and pick his spots to get past his defender. All you can do is congratulate him on a job well done. But Rondo needs to buckle down a lot better.

  • Kap

    @ SK6, What are you talking about? No one on this discussion mentioned Kobe until you did. So its ironic when you say you’re sick of hearing about him every time someone does something and then you bring his name up while everyone is talking about Fisher.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    @Kap: Boston also had a chance to win all three games. while the Celtics aren’t a great home team, the Lakers certainly aren’t a great road team, and I really can’t imagine them winning two more in Boston, and I doubt they’ll even win one of the next two games. i know you’ll disagree with that because you’re a Laker fan, and that’s fine, you’re supposed to, but i’d be very surprised if a below average road team (they’re 5-4, I think) like the Lakers steals 2 out of 3 in Boston.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I’ve hated exactly one player on the Heat in the last 5 seasons, namik. Chris Quinn. Take that how you want to. I support all the dudes on the team. I may hate a guy for his play for one game, one possession, some sh*t like that, but to just turn my back on one guy (especially a guy like Fish who has been instrumental in many huge moments for the Lakers and their title wins)for “slowing down” just shows the lack of knowledge the majority of Lakers fans HERE (I don’t need to traverse other Lakers fan-boards since SLAM has that covered in spades)have about their team and it’s players.

  • Kap

    Record does not matter, they’re the defending champs and Boston had no chance to win Game 1. It’s not that I’m a lakers fan to why I’m disagreeing but the C’s set themselves up where the next two games are must win. This lakers squad has been in this situation for the past two years and they have fared well so I’m disagreeing based on their track records. I mean no disrespect or anything.

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Inredible stretch there by the master flopper and golden globe nominee for best simulation of a gunshot wound received on a b-ball court when caught in a screen. Truly inspiring offense from an unexpected source for the Lakers, especially since the Allens were harassing Kob’s into taking some pretty fugly shots. Glen Davis and KG showed up for this game, the other Celtics…. Not so much. C’s wasted what was KG’s best offensive game of the playoffs, one in which he made Gasol look like Yao out there, this will hurt since Kevin probably has only one of those in him per series. Incredible how Ray has these ups & downs during the playoffs (Cavs series in ’08 anyone?). There were at least 4 wide open 3′s he missed, 2 went in&out, crazy. As for Paul Pierce; time to shut down the mouth and ramp up the game on offense.

  • The Philosopher

    This man Fisher is going to be a coach or GM one day.

  • http://nba.com/cavaliers Stephon

    Just think by tomorrow everybody’s gonna say Fish is a snub so Fish if you’re reading these remarks enjoy them!

  • http://Www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Gotta add, Fish choking up with his eyes tearing up was absolutely fantastic. I might dislike his oncourt demeanor but that kind of desire to win, that is something i will always respect. Fantastic moment.

  • The Philosopher

    co-sign Darksaber.

  • Robb

    @letsmotor told ya. Ray Allen 0-13. Hate me now.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    We felt like we was playin Robert f*cking Horry out there.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    He’s basically got a laker front office job locked by now, imo. Second favorite laker.

  • james

    @Eboy shut the f*ck up! damn your opinions are so annoying.

  • namik

    Eboy: Most, and I mean MOST, Laker fans never asked for him to be traded. All we wanted, and still want, is a PG who can keep up with the superstar PGs in the L physically. As great as Fish is, it’s ridiculous for him to be playing starter minutes at 34 for 82 games plus playoffs. It would be great if the Lakers could get a young athletic PG who could learn under Fish and then when its game time, you let Fish play his role as team leader and clutch performer. It worked great for Horry and its an even better role for Fish because he actually enjoys the competition and WANTS to be out there no matter what. I don’t think this demand should change no matter what kind of game he had.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    @Kap: fair enough. nice to have a debate here that doesn’t result in childish name-calling. @Robb: i can’t remember what you told me exactly. ray did have an awful shooting night, but it happens to the best of them. looked to me like he was having leg problems (did he have a cramp or something when he went down early in the game?). the lakers did a good job of closing out on a few of those shots, but for the most part, he’s still getting open, and i don’t care if he went 0-100 last night, if he’s getting open frequently, that’s bad news for the lakers. he’s one of the best shooters of all time, and those shots will start falling. oh, i don’t hate you. do you hate me?

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    james….go f*ck yourself. How’s that opinion? namik, I think you are shooting yourself in the foot….Fish has matched up with 4 of the premier pg’s in the league in each of their series this playoffs and hasn’t been busted by any of them too badly, so I’m not sure exactly what else he is supposed to do to impress you guys and he’s outclutched ALL of those guys so far, so if he’s the potential starting point guard for a 5th title team, where’s the dropoff?

  • Kap

    I like the Fisher shout out to Hill & Nash. The guy is very classy. I see him as Lakers coach or executive. I also liked when Kobe said Fish is the only guy he listens to and can tell him he’s f*cking up.

  • KulchaKris

    My question to all the commenters here (except E-boy, since his analysis will be clouded by his hatred of the Lakers and Kobe), are the Lakers the better team? The Lakers were in position to win all 3 games. It took a historic effort from Ray Allen to garner a Celts win. Not sure if Ray has another of those performances in him this series.

    Also, Gasol’s stamina is amazing. He plays big minutes, and never appears winded. Finally, Bynum is playing better than I could have imagined, bum knee and all.

  • http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:OzhW3M1GBSKkgM:http://fashionsensei.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/jackie-moon.jpg Jackie Moon

    @KulchaKris Are the Lakers the better team? Magic 8 Ball says, “Signs point to yes”

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    KulchaKris, I’ll throw out an answer without much hatred…..the Lakers have more talent, currently more desire to win and the ability to closeout slightly better. They ARE the favorites in the series, yes? They should be the better team. The Celtics were supposed to be the more physical, but they haven’t shown that yet. The Celts season comes down to one game…we’ll see what type of team THEY are tomorrow.

  • Ronald

    The fact that Fish gets lit up by bigger/faster guards is undeniable. You have to take the good with the bad. And with Fish, the good is pretty darn good. It’s kinda the same situation with Horry during the Spurs final few years. But, despite shooting bad Kobe DID play well.

  • Kap

    I’m scared to say this but this series may not be as close as people thought. The lakers only played well one game and they lead the series 2-1 with game 2 winnable if it wasn’t for turnovers. But Bynum is hurt again, so the series could easily swing back in Celtics favor if they win tomorrow.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Rondo wasn’t playing horrible defense. The Lakers ran a 1 and 2 pick roll trying to get the Lakers to switch Rondo on to Kobe so Kobe could post up. The Celtics didn’t want to switch, so Ray allen was doing a half hearted show on the pick, and trying to stay attached to Kobe. Rondo was stuck trying to fight over the top of the pick because you can’t go under with Fisher and just give him open jumpers, and they couldn’t switch it.
    Celtics didn’t provide good help on the Fisher after the pick and he often got deep into the defense before someone would show. Yes, rondo could have played the pick better, but really it was a smart move by Phil.
    The real problem for both teams was their attempts to pressure in the backcourt to prevent early offense, which often turned into semi-fast breaks.

  • Ronald

    @Allenp: RR’s defense was okay throughout the game. But the 95ft layup that Fish had made me puke. Rondo pretended to guard him, hit a screen and started jogging back. For god’s sake it’s the freaking finals! Show some grit! Rondo was supposedly contending for the finals MVP if Bostons wins the series. He can’t take plays off in the 4th quarter like that.

  • namik

    Eboy, he did not out play Westbrook or Deron offensively or defensively. He outplayed Nash offensively in 1 or 2 games, but in the last 3 games, could not guard Nash effectively. Kobe is taking turns guarding Rondo (who can’t shoot). How is it shooting myself in the foot if I’m asking for a younger, more athletic guard who can replace an aging, if clutch and experienced pro? The fact is that for most of the season, any one, not just Laker fans, pointed out that the PG was our weakest spot. Which is a fact because someone that old should not be starting on a championship team. Sure he picked it up the last 2 rounds but then why burn him out for the entire regular season, when instead he could be rested and fresh so he can keep contributing for a couple of seasons more? Again, he had a great game, and he will definitely be back on the Lakers, but we need a younger replacement. If thats hate, so be it.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    I don’t think it’s hate, namik, but in the triangle, I’m not sure a higher-powered point is going to be the answer. The reason: for all of Phil’s championship teams, there has NEVER been a top flight point guard in place. Why? It’s not needed. The backcourt in the triangle is all about the 2 guard spot and that players ability to get shots and create offense. It would almost limit a guy with D-Rose/CP3 type skills from producing at their highest level.

  • UnRel

    Fisher is the greatest.. he’d always have a spot on my team.. he’d never be an all-star.. won’t be HOF.. he should be given a shot at a gold medal..

  • http://Badnewzb8ller Badnewzballer

    Cosign namik. We never wanted fish traded. I am in favor getting rid of Sasha’s lame game, farmar’s inconsistent game, and Browns over-hyped game. I wouldn’t mind having someone like Kirk hinrick on our team. Ohh and for those who think we(lakers) have a deep bench, y’all trippin! It’s just the lakers starting 5+odom, the end!

  • KulchaKris

    @Eboy- The Celts are supposed to be the more physical team. However, they haven’t been able to show that physicality, partly because of the refs (they are all over the place with their calls), and partly because of their front-line depth (or lack thereof). Rasheed runs hot and cold (much like the rest of the Celts, quite frankly), and Big Baby works hard but is too small to match up well with the Lakers front line.

    @Ronald- Are there any “lock-down” defenders at the pg position in the entire NBA? My guess is, on most nights, teams have a tough time contending with the bigger/faster guards that Fisher struggles with.

  • javy

    Game 1: Lakers were up by 20 at one point.
    Game 2: Lakers were up and then bad decisions at the end cost them. Kobe being out most of the game.
    Game 3: Lakers win it. Even when Artest having 2 points and Gason not being that great.
    I am amazed this is not a sweep!
    Is Perk playing at all????
    Haven’t seen an elbow lately, would it be because of the 7th technical.
    Like JVG said, Scalobrini will go back and get that cash left at Staples to pay for the rent.

  • Robb

    @letsmotor not at all man, basketball is a game, I don’t hate. Well I hate the Celtics a little bit I cannot lie!

  • Smh

    Laker fans.. think about this… look how close the game was with Paul and Ray playing like sh!t.. you shouldn’t be bragging lmao

  • KulchaKris

    @Smh- every game is going to feature one or more stars not playing as well as they can or should. Or some key player(s) being impacted by foul trouble. So, that argument doesn’t mean much. In the end, teams just have to find a way to win.

    @Javy- This series is highlighting just how limited a player Perkins is. He brings defense, toughness, and rebounding, but when he is on the floor, the Celts are playing 4 vs 5 on offense. Plus, as you noted, the prospect of a 7th technical limits just how physical he can be.

  • javy

    @Smh:Pierce sure knows what bragging means. Anyways, Artest and Ariza are different defenders.
    One is defense on the run, reaching, cutting the lanes, the other is stand up, tough and straight one-on-one defense. I think Pierce is being affected more by Artest than he was with Ariza.
    Pierce relies a lot on faikes and flops and Artest doesn’t jump high so that’s a plus for us because he will not jump to block.
    I’ve never seen somebody talk so much smack and get shut down like that. Kind of Embarrasing!!

  • http://slamonline.com JL

    @Smh – are you saying that the lakers won because Pierce and Allen plays like crap? well damn right that’s a big part of the reason! Not sure what your point is. they didn’t play well and lost. that’s not a good thing.

  • Kap

    Besides Westbrook, Fisher has done an ok job playing defense throughtout the playoffs. I say bring in fisher clone mo williams or kirk hinrich to come off the bench if they wanted to improve the pg spot.

  • truthteller

    All I know is that the Lakers better retire Fisher’s number when he calls it quits! that man has come through for that franchise so many times, it’s the least they could do!

  • chingy

    @KulchaKris: Ever since Lindsey Hunter, I don’t recall any PG that is a lock down PG (maybe Billups but he struggles with fast PG’s).

  • http://slamonline.com J Dizzle

    LOL, eboy likes the heat… LOL.

  • UnRel

    @truthteller.. although that would be awesome if they retired his number… i don’t think so.. that wall is sacred.. if they retire his.. then horry, coop and b.scott should be up there also.. but it should be for the legends..

  • JoeMaMa

    as a spurs fan, I’m legally obligated to say that Fisher’s 0.4 shot shouldn’t have counted. that is all. Oh….fine. dude’s clutch.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Eboy, you are my boy but I want to see you say something postive about the lakers without throwing a sly jab at the same time. When the celtics win, I give them credit without hating. I also HATE the celtics with a passion but I don’t let my hatred get in the way of seeing whats what.

  • http://www.kwapt.blogspot.com KobeWearsAPurpleThong

    Who’d have thunk the first 3 games would have Allen shooting the lights out one night and missing everything another, DFisher being the hero and Paul Pierce being a….*gulp*…zero. Sorry P, but c’mon dog-this is The Finals. Still say it’s going the distance though.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Lakers have played well to me. Boston is a great defensive team. Boston is the best team defensive Kobe will play in his career since Detroit Pistons, but this time Kobe got a Gasol and not an out shape Shaq, and old timers like Gary Payton and Karl Malone. To me game 4 is a must win game for the Lakers. Hopefully their Hollywood ways will not show up. If Lakers don’t win game 4 this is a seven game series.

  • http://www.springbored.net letsmotor

    @Robb: cool. and i won’t lie–i hate the lakers! but it’s never anything personal, it’s just about basketball, which is just about fun.

  • The Philosopher

    @lets motor: YOU HATE THE LAKERS?!?! DAMN!!. That’s cool, though. As you said, it’s about fun.

  • KB24

    For those comparing Ariza’s defense & Artests’ defense on Pierce: Ariza didn’t play in the 2008 Finals you dummies, he had a broken leg, him & Bynum didn’t play.

  • http://www.shawnkemp.com JACO

    This series has been very unpredictable its usually been a diffrent person stepping up in each game btw big lakers fan since birth GM1: Pau Gasol (dont care what you say) GM2: Ray and Rajon GM3: D-Fish GMS 4-7:???

  • Q

    I think pierce is right. they won’t go back to LA…LA will close it out in Boston lol