Inside the Lakers locker room: Fisher comes through in the clutch

Following one of the toughest losses in Orlando Magic franchise history, it was tough to saunter into the Lakers locker room following Game 4. As expected, the Lakers players were feeling good after all but clinching their first NBA championship since 2002, and the praise was being spread pretty thick all around. Trevor Ariza drew high marks for his second half performance, Pau Gasol got some love and Kobe is Kobe, but almost every single Laker brought up one man’s name — Derek Fisher. After all, it was Fisher’s shot with less than five seconds left in the fourth quarter that tied the game up, and another huge three in overtime that sparked an 8-0 Lakers run to end overtime. “After that big shot we just thought that we go this far, we didn’t come this far to lose,” Ariza said. “They gave us an opportunity to win the game and that’s what we wanted to do.” Before Fisher’s two clutch three’s he was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc in the game. “I have a responsibility to my team that if I’m going to be on the floor then I have to make a difference,” Fisher said. After getting torched by Houston’s Aaron Brooks in the conference semifinals, many national media pundits said Fisher was too old, and his defensive deficiencies make him one of the weakest links on the Lakers roster. Bryant said his confidence in Fisher’s ability has never waned. “He’s been there and done that,” Bryant said. “In the locker room I was kind of teasing him a little bit because he was 0-for-5 on three-pointers until he made those last two. That’s Derek though, he just has supreme confidence, and I think those shots at the end of the game are actually easier for him than the other ones.” On Thursday night Fisher silenced his critics by doing it on both ends of the Floor. Magic point guards Rafer Alston and Jameer Nelson scored a combined 13 points in 52 minutes. “I’ve heard different versions of it,” Fisher said of his criticism. “Now it’s age, before it was other things… I’ve always used those things as motivation to work even harder and try to be better than I was before.” Fisher said he’s always known that his teammates believe in him, and it’s that confidence that allows him to take big shots without worrying about looking over his shoulder. “They ride with me, good or bad,” Fisher said. “I’ll just continue to want to really thank them or reward them by continuing to show the confidence that I need to show when I’m out there on the floor.”

Philip Rossman-Reich

About Philip Rossman-Reich

Philip Rossman-Reich is the managing editor for Crossover Chronicles and Orlando Magic Daily. You can follow him on twitter @OMagicDaily