Derek Fisher: Leader, Legend And Laker For Life
No, Derek Fisher will never be The Logo, Jerry West. He’ll never be an all-time great point guard like Magic Johnson. And no, he’ll never be considered one of the great scorers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Kobe Bryant.
However, Derek Fisher certainly has a place in the Lakers’ rich and storied history.
Many came in the form of some seriously big-time buckets.
We’ll take a look at some of the most memorable, since there really are so many clutch buckets D-Fish has made over his career.
First up, who can forget the 0.4 shot against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals? With the series tied at two apiece, the Lakers desperately needed Game 5 to place the odds in their favor. After a miraculous shot by Tim Duncan, the unthinkable happened and Fisher drained an improbable shot with just 0.4 seconds on the clock! The Lakers would go on to win the series.
Next up, although he wasn’t with the Lakers for this one, it’s certainly one worth talking about. As mentioned earlier, Fisher’s daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma prior to the 2007 Western Conference Semifinals. After being in New York all day to be with her during an emergency surgery, Fisher flew back to Salt Lake City in time for the end of the third quarter of Game 2. Starting point guard Deron Williams was in foul trouble, and Fisher was desperately needed. He came up with a pivotal defensive stop on former Golden State Warriors teammate, Baron Davis. Then, in overtime, having not taken a shot in days, Fisher drained a huge three pointer to help seal the victory.
Next, we have some heroics from the following year. Back with the purple and gold in the 2007-2008 season, Fisher found himself facing a former team yet again. This time, he would face off against the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference Semifinals. Up 2-1 in the series, the Lakers found themselves down 100-88 with four minutes to play in the fourth quarter. You-know-who stepped up with three huge triples. He helped the Lakers get back into the game, who eventually took it to overtime, where they later lost.
Next up would be Fisher in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic. As many of us remember, he hit a huge three pointer over Jameer Nelson to send the game into overtime, and then another one in overtime to take the lead with 34 seconds left in the game. The Lakers were up 2-1 in the series leading up to this, and beat the Magic in Game 5 en route to their 15th championship.
(It’s best to start the video at the 2:30 mark.)
This is a special moment for me, as during that season, I would often go out with my Fisher jersey on — often times even after a loss. People would constantly come up to me and say, “Man, Fish is too old. He can’t guard anyone. He hurts the team more than he helps it. He needs to retire,” to which I would say “You’ll see.” After he hit those two huge shots, I threw it back in the faces of everyone I could remember that talked trash to me about Fish, and he certainly helped me shut all of them up — which he always did, time after time.
Anyway, another memorable moment was Fisher’s heroics in Game 3 of the 2010 Finals against the hated Boston Celtics. After being eliminated by the Celtics in 2008, revenge was on the Lakers’ mind. The Lakers were tied at 1-1 going into Boston, and Paul Pierce famously declared that the series wasn’t going back to L.A. Fisher responded by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter, boosting the Lakers to a 91-84 victory in pivotal Game 3. Fisher, known for his three-point shots, scored his most memorable points in that game by getting three points the old fashioned way — on a layup over three Celtics, with the foul.
Here’s his “vocal” and physical response:
He would go on to hit another critical three in Game 7 of the same series with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter. The Lakers would beat the Celtics in Game 7 and win their 16th championship.
After the Finals were over, Fisher revealed what fuels some of his, uh, “gutsy” play, on Jimmy Kimmel Live — much to Kobe Bryant and the rest of his teammates’ amusement and agreement.
If you’ve noticed, all of those big shots came in crucial playoff games. However, some of the final heroics D-Fish provided for the Lakers came in his final season with the purple and gold versus the Dallas Mavericks in the regular season. Fisher scored 9 points in the fourth quarter, including this beautiful go-ahead three point shot on an assist from The Black Mamba.
Kobe couldn’t help but smile at former teammate Lamar Odom, who could barely hold back a smile of his own.
Fisher has proved to be one of the most clutch players in NBA history when it comes to knocking down big shots in big moments. Some of those shots were extremely high-stakes attempts, and Fisher could seemingly never miss when given an opportunity like that.
No, Fisher will never be considered an NBA great or even one of the best Lakers of all time, but some of the heroics he displayed are nothing short of legendary.
Next, let’s take a look at Derek Fisher, the Laker for life.
Lakers Top 5 Derek Fisher Moments
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