The Intangible Mr. Fisher

Darius Soriano —  June 9, 2010

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This is the first post from long time reader Jeff Skibiski. Like the rest of us, Jeff bleeds forum blue and gold, and will be contributing more often here at FB&G. Jeff and I were exchanging emails last week and he said he’d be interested in putting together a post on Derek Fisher. And then last night happened – Jeff has good timing. So, join me in welcoming Jeff to FB&G and enjoy his first post.

Despite being treated like a dying dog all season long by fans and critics far and wide, Derek Fisher once again came through when it mattered most for his team in Game 3, proving that there is still plenty of bark – and a whole lot of bite – left in his 35 year-old body.

With Kobe unable to connect and the entire offense seemingly out of whack after a second half comeback by Boston, Derek almost single-handedly willed the Lakers to a pivotal Game 3 victory, scoring 11 fourth quarter points that doubled as giant exclamation points in an otherwise subpar season for the savvy veteran.

“He won the game for them,” said Doc Rivers. “Derek Fisher was the difference in the game. 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.”

Just like a slow building crescendo, Fisher’s Game 3 performance turned what was previously an unglamorous, but quietly very productive postseason – scoring almost 11 points a game and connecting on more than 44% of his field goals – into the latest entry on his greatest hits tour. Somewhere between the end of the season and Round 1 against  Oklahoma City, he found his shot again, even if it has been overlooked until now thanks to more flashy plot lines like Kobe’s 30-plus points streak, Pau’s last-second put-back against the Thunder and Artest’s instant redemption buzzer beater against the Suns. When it seemed like the majority of Lakers Nation was panicking about the state of the starting point guard slot for much of the season, Fisher maintained his composure.

“Sorry, I’m getting a little emotional,” explained Fisher, fighting back tears while being interviewed after the game. “We work hard in this game and sometimes things don’t go your way. I love this game, I love this team, I love this guy (Kobe) and I love what I do. Nothing means more to me than helping my team win.”

No apologies necessary, Derek. Not after two consecutive Finals where he has proven himself as a key difference-maker – lest we forget it was only last year when his three-point daggers deflated an upstart Orlando team in Game 4. And definitely not after 13-plus years of exemplifying the selfless, service-oriented work ethic that defines the everyday lives of many Lakers fans.

After Tuesday night’s game, Kobe said this was just another case of “Derek being Derek. He makes big plays all the time and it never ceases to amaze me.”

While Kobe trusts Fisher implicitly, it isn’t difficult to understand why many fans and critics were down on Derek after a career-worst season in which his field goal percentage dropped to only 38%, while his shooting from beyond the arc dipped to 35%. With those types of numbers and several big nights from opposing teams’ younger, faster point guards, it made perfect sense when Kirk Hinrich’s name surfaced prior to the February trade deadline. Even though most fans pleaded with Jerry Buss to go even deeper into luxury tax territory to accommodate the Bulls point guard, the organization opted to stay with their longtime trusted gun.

Once again, Fish has somehow managed to leave his indelible stamp on another title run, making Mitch Kupchak and Co. look like geniuses for the time being and calling into question the historical significance of his accomplishments. No disrespect to the timeless efforts of fellow role players such as Robert Horry and Byron Scott, but there is something to be said about Derek’s longevity with the team and his uncanny ability to step up in big moments with such incredible frequency. I think it’s easy to be overshadowed when you share the backcourt with one of the greatest players of all-time, but Fisher’s playoff dramatics should at least put him in the conversation of greatest role players in franchise history, if not the entire NBA.

Heading into free agency, it is hard to imagine next year’s Lakers team without him, even if in a reduced capacity. Critics point to his faults – often streaky shooting, slow-footed defense, forced layups – as reasons for letting him walk off into the sunset, but Game 3 should serve as a reminder that he is just as vital to this team as any player not wearing #24 on their jersey. Finding a player who can make shots in quarters one to three isn’t too difficult, but players who can look pressure in the eye and make tough shots, take charges and make hustle plays when it matters most don’t exactly grow on trees.

With the battle against Boston certain to intensify as the series moves forward, there is no player I’d rather be in a bunker with than Fish. After all, there is a reason why Kobe chooses to put his unconditional faith in Fisher as he does no other player; he earned that level of trust years ago. This latest clutch performance leaves no doubt that this old dog still has a few rings to win before he trades in his Lakers tag.

– Jeff Skibiski

Darius Soriano

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101 responses to The Intangible Mr. Fisher

  1. I think everyone here knows how surprised I am that Fisher could hit those shots………. with them grapefruit sized marbles hanging down between his legs!!!!! This wasn’t Fisher hitting a couple wide open spot up clutch shots as we’ve seen so many times from him before. This wasn’t Fisher taking the big time charge late in the game. This wasn’t Fisher getting the big steal (ala Artest knocking it off Big Baby). This was Derek Fisher taking over the entire last five minutes of the ball game like Chris Paul. He was taking it to the basket, coming off of pick and rolls, and pulling up for tough 15 footers. This wasn’t Fisher playing like a good NBA PG, this wasn’t Fisher playing like an All Star PG, this wasn’t Fisher even playing like a Hall of Famer. This was Derek Fisher playing like a legend. In one of the biggest quarters this historic Lakers franchise has ever seen… we saw Derek Fisher play one of the best quarters a Laker has ever played. At a time when Kobe wasn’t Kobe… Derek Fisher was.

    … I will never again say one bad thing about him… I was wrong

  2. Nicely done Jeff.

    I agree completely.

    In my opinion, it is not IF Fisher will be resigned, but merely a matter of for how much and at how many years. I suspect that Fisher knows his value, and will take the small pay cut the market will demand.

    If the Lakers could manage to carry Sun Yue last season, and Sasha this season, I am sure they can find room for a proven veteran. But it would be foolish indeed to not have Fisher on the team, in the locker room, in practices, and in the clutch.

  3. *reads the blog post*

    *sips his rum and coke*

    *clears his throat*

    This one is for me.

    *takes another sip*

    And this one is for Fisher.

    *indulges in a third sip*

  4. I liked the description of his shots last night by whatever announcer said it, that they were will shots. They were he basically willed the Lakers to a victory.

  5. 2.)

    That’s what I’ve been thinking, and it’s even more punctuated now. If we let the Fisher King walk, who knows the offense enough to run/teach it. Luke and Kobe, yes..but to a guard? Fish “needs” to be kept, even if to teach. Everyone now notices how stagnant the offense gets without Kobe or Fish on the floor (even when Pau is). If it’s Jordan/Shannon in the back, the O is never run properly. That is when I pray for Fish to get back in after a quick breather.

    To not have him going forward is a terrible move. This postseason has emphasized that even further. We need him, in every form he has to offer…teacher, leader, PG…legend.

    I don’t know if 1.) is the real Aaron…but nicely said. ; )

  6. Nice debut Jeff. Amen.

    Fish deserves mention among the pantheon of great Lakers, not only considering the 5th ring appearing on the horizon (with 6th and 7th rings surely to follow, of course), but for his important role and heroic contributions to each of those championship seasons.

    He’s in Laker Legend territory. You re-sign him even if he loses a limb between now and next season, not just out of respect, but because of his leadership and what he means to Kobe and this franchise.

    BTW, wouldn’t Fish look good patroling the Laker sideline in a suit 4-5 years from now once Phil retires to Montana? Brian Shaw better watch his back…

  7. All hail the Fisher King. Well written Jeff. :)

    Another reason to keep Fisher on the team, that doesn’t come up nearly as often, but that is just as important:

    “He’s really the only one I listen to,” Bryant said. “Everybody else is a bunch of young kids. Derek, he and I came in the league together. We spent long nights together as rookies, battling each other, playing full-court one-on-one games. We’ve been through it. So he can come to me and say, ‘Kobe, you’re [messing] up.'”

    We need at least one player on the court that Kobe actually will listen to when that guy calls him on whatever he is doing that is hurting rather than helping the team, and right now that’s Fisher. Kobe respects and trusts him more than any other player on that team, and that in itself should be reason enough to keep him on the roster.

  8. @Aaron & Jeff,

    In the spirit of the Progressive’s vanishing deductible commercial.

    “Guys!, I just gagged….. ”

    Aaron, nice to see you are open minded. That’s what makes this site so great. Knowledgeable people and excellent writers.

    Jeff, nice write up… and a bit prophetic! could you maybe discuss with Darius about doing a write up about Odom? Strike while the iron is hot!

  9. J.D. Hastings June 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Screw letting Fisher walk, he’s Phil’s replacement (hopefully not for a few years). Even if he’s still playing.

    After 2 teams who sleep-walked through the regular season make the finals and a point guard with a 9PER dominates game 3, remind me next year not to put any stock in ANYTHING that happens from October-April.

  10. Also, good news on the Phil front. Avery Johnson looks to have reached an agreement in principal with the Nets. Coaching vacancies are filling up left and right. http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nba/news/story?id=5268483

    This, of course, is bad for Phil giving him less leverage during negotiations this summer with Buss, but great for Lakers.

  11. Fisher will be on the team next year. But Vujacic has another year on his deal and Brown has a player option, which I assume he will use. The team will need another G.

    But that is for later. Armageddon Part IV is what’s next.

  12. thisisweaksauce June 9, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Guys, the main difference between 2008 and 2010 (yes, besides Drew and Ron):

    The poise. Oh man, the poise.

    Somehow, that’s how I knew we would not relinquish that lead. I’ll say this: a 24 point meltdown will never happen again with this group.

  13. J.D. – I was thinking that earlier in the postseason…how do I possibly get so caught up in the regular season, get so animated…so upset and furious. This is where it matters.

    Also, JVG and the talking heads, I think in Game 2 had a discussion about Fish if he was a Celtic. They “argued” he might have his number hung in the rafters had he been with them his whole career. The arguement was based solely on number of rings, but we here, and those loyal Laker fans out there, know it would be for way more than just rings. It’s everything else he brings. And heck…maybe he would have gotten his number in the rafters. Let’s just be glad he’s a Laker!

  14. Fisher’s perspective is refreshing and he also exemplifies that Lakers’ decision not hanging Pacific Division “champions” and Western Conference “champions” banners in Staples Center. Sure, we all defamed and bemoaned Fisher’s performance during the regular season, but just like the Lakers, Fisher doesn’t hang “champions” banners (i.e. make it all about the regular season) unless they are NBA Champions banners. He makes it count when it really counts.

    His life after basketball, whenever that comes, will undoubtedly be as bright as his basketball career. And for the future, sure, we will re-sign Fisher and bring in another PG with our MLE, but I don’t see Fisher aging ungracefully (see TMac, Iverson, etc.) and causing a furor about playing time. His post-game interview said it all; it’s about perspective and I’m glad we a person who understands it.

  15. 3) Jim C, That reminds me:
    We need some drinking games for the rest of the Finals. Any suggestions? I don’t think Mark Jackson has said “Hand down, man down” once, so that’s probably not a good choice.

  16. @exhelodrvr
    I’m on it. I’ll see what I can whip up for tomorrow (daiquiris, anyone?). :)

  17. Great first write up Jeff!

    Aaron has now posted that same post I believe 3 times, and they have been on point everytime!

    That’s why I love this site and everyone here. We can agree to disagree about so many things, but in the end there is only one love.

    2 mo’

  18. Remind me again why so many ‘knowledgeable’ people put so much stock in John Hollinger and his PER rating?

  19. @Craig
    Group think?

  20. Um. Fisher’s contributions last night were very tangible last night. You know, 11 points in the fourth quarter. I’m not sure you know what intangible means.

  21. Aaron – Thank you! It’s nice to see you realize what most of us have for a while – this guy just has a knack for making good things happen when we need it most. Fish may age but his heroics and character will endure. And way to man up! Go Aaron and Go Lakers!

  22. I don’t know. Fisher’s playoff PER rating must be significantly better than his regular season rating. And his 4th quarter stats last game were particularly impressive. ie, his recent performance will be reflected in his stats.

    I mean, PER is a stat. It tells part of the story, but not all of it, and it relies on things that show up in a box score. It says what a player’s done, on average, over many games. I’m a believer in advanced statistics, but they tend to tell averages. In the playoffs, games always seem to come down to key possessions, and being able to see the hole in the defense or make the right pass or execute under pressure counts for SOO much. When the pressure mounts and mounts, effort, savvy, and an indomitable will to win can overcome mere things like physical limitations.

    Is Fisher a 10 PER player in the regular season? Maybe, but that stat isn’t saying what he’s going to do in the NBA Finals when the going gets tough, and I think it’s wrong to presume that it does and then criticize it for that limitation.

  23. Note: don’t know what Fisher’s regular season PER was, just threw that number out there.

  24. #20. Ricky,
    Did you actually read the piece, or did you just see the title and then write your comment? No one argues that Fisher’s points were the intangible part of his performance. However, I do think it’s fair to say that many of Fisher’s contributions to the team could be classified under the intangibles label. You know, he with the low PER and below average shooting %, but also the guy that steps up in big moments and is an inspiration to his teammates. Please add something useful to the coversation. Otherwise, take your dictionany and thoughtless criticisms somewhere else. Thanks.

  25. Does anyone here think Fish has a shot at getting his #2 retired?

    I’d say no right now, but assuming we re-sign him and Phil finishes his obligatory 3-peat, do his chances improve at all?

  26. #25. Pat,
    I believe the Lakers custom is to only retire the jerseys of players that are in the hall of fame and also had significant Lakers careers. This is why great Lakers that did a lot of winning (Cooper, Scott, for example) don’t have their #’s retired. So, I think it’s likely Fish will never have his #2 retired by the Lakers.

    This is why SVG and Mark Jackson were saying that Fish would definitely have his number retired if he’d had this same exact career but with the Celtics. They retire all of their great “winners” jerseys – even if they didn’t get elected to the HOF. They have some 15 or 18 jerseys retired in Boston. The Lakers have, what, 7, 8? Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Wilt, Baylor, West, Goodrich…am I missing someone (besides Chick’s ‘mic’ jersey)?

  27. The article is great, but I think you incorrectly quoted Fisher. He didn’t say, ” . . . I love this God . . .” He said, “I love this guy.” He was referring to Kobe who was standing with him. I raise this only because I think it is telling about how close these two have become. Much is written about how Kobe is not a good teammate, and to hear Fisher proclaim his love of Kobe in the sincerest of fashions is telling of both of them and their relationship.

  28. What was Ray Allen’s PER in game 2, and what was it in game 3?

  29. anyhow ricky, it’s the intangibles that make the player. it’s the intangibles, things that don’t fill up the stat sheet and things you won’t find on court because it happened in the weight room and the drawing board, that can also tell whether a player will make a mark or not.

    so give me good intangibles to draw from over good stats any day of the week…so as long as the intangibles lead to the tangibles that count somewhere else. GO LAKERS!

  30. In the big game, great players will show up, Kobe, Fisher, Gasol, Bynum. Fisher is 6-1, but he played liked a power forward 6-10. You can talk about his age, but you can’t question his mental toughness, that’s the different between Fisher and Odom. Without Bynum, no way Lakers can win in Boston, Gasol and Odom can’t defend the baskett, why don’t Phil try DJ Menga, because he is big and strong, Menga can guard big baby Davis. With 5 min left in the 4th quarter, Bynum went out and Odom came in, i said oh no, the trouble will begin. Gasol and Kobe were tired at the end, but Fisher saved Lakers, Lakers should hang his jersey up in Staples center in the future.

  31. Funky Chicken June 9, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    First off, I love Fish. Always have. His role in the Lakers’ title runs cannot ever be forgotten or overstated. Last night was probably the best game of Fisher’s illustrious postseason career. In fact, strike the “probably”. Without him, the Lakers lose the game, no doubt in my mind.

    However, I think we need to have an appropriate amount of perspective here. While this is one of Derek’s best postseason runs, it comes on the heels of what was unquestionably the worst regular season of his career.

    Based on this, and his age, I think it is clear that the Lakers need to do something to address the point guard position. I had high hopes for Shannon, but over time he has begun to show signs of having Jordan Farmar’s decision making skills, and I think he has shown himself NOT to be the guy going forward at the point. Farmar, of course, is long gone, but if SB does not opt out of his contract, how much money is Jerry Buss going to be able to give to Fish and still be able to sign a guard for the future?

    I very much want to see Fish return, but unless he is willing to take a big pay cut, it isn’t clear that re-signing him is the right move if it means not being able to address the PG position. I think that Fish can reasonably demand a contract comparable to what he his currently working under, and get that kind of deal somewhere else. But is that the right move for the Lakers?

    If Miami can re-sign Wade and add another maximum contract guy, I can see them (or another strong playoff team) offering the MLE to a proven vet like Fish, but notwithstanding last night’s heroics, I don’t think the Lakers can justify that kind of money for three years. This is going to be a tough call for management, because they obviously love the guy, but they know that he is not the long term answer. It’s just a shame that Jordan has been such a disappointment….

  32. #27. Perry,
    Thanks for the heads up. I spoke with Jeff, he found some video, and I’ve gone in and changed it.

  33. ThatGuyRyeRye June 9, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Great work Jeff! I’m looking forward to your future contributions to FB&G.

    I didn’t think too much of Fisher’s regular season struggles, mostly because of posts here on FB&G that reassured me that Fish wasn’t as terrible as it seemed and that it was almost certain that he would be stepping his game up come playoff time.

    However, I did have a bit of doubt. I’m glad that Fisher’s physical ability hasn’t really killed us this postseason. I’m glad Fish went and did what he did last night and I’m glad that he showed his emotions the way he did.

  34. Again, I’ve said this many times: Fisher’s intangibles make even Chuck Norris cry.

  35. Hmmm…what’s Kobe doing to Ric Bucher’s hair? LOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRJfbgw5VJo

  36. #24 Darius
    “Did you actually read the piece, or did you just see the title and then write your comment?”
    I read the entire piece. Though you’re correct. I could’ve just read the title and still written my accurate comment. Fisher’s primary contributions last night were his 11 points in the fourth quarter, which sealed the win. Those points are tangible. That’s the point.

    “No one argues that Fisher’s points were the intangible part of his performance.” Thank you very much for proving my point. The points were TANGIBLE not intangible.

    “Otherwise, take your dictionany and thoughtless criticisms somewhere else.” Burn. What would I ever do without my “dictionany.” And I only had one criticism, not “criticisms.” And it wasn’t thoughtless. It may have been slightly rude, but it certainly wasn’t thoughtless. Thoughtless would be thinking that 11 points scored in a fourth quarter to win a finals game is somehow intangible.

  37. 31

    Didn’t Fisher leave money on the table to move to LA?

    What concerns me is how to replace Farmar with someone who can play 25 solid minutes a night. Fisher will probably be able to produce moments like last night’s until he’s 50, but at this stage of his career it’s unfair to expect him to produce at a high lever over the course of 82 regular season games.

  38. Doc rivers complained about referees. Seriously, how many fouls did Rondo get away with last night? One on Fisher and one on Odom for sure near the end of a tight game. This guy is the biggest whiner. Just like paula pierce

  39. Fish has been a convenient scapegoat all year, but he just always comes up big. The Lakers will need to look for a replacement in the offseason, if nothing but someone for Fish to hand the reins to eventually. He isn’t worth more than the Lakers’ biannual exception, which they have this year. Add the luxury tax to that and his effective salary will be what he is worth to the team. I’ll miss him.

  40. Coffee is For Closers June 9, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Q, seems to me Doc Rivers and the Celtics employ a strategy also used by Utah – push alot and hope the refs get exhausted calling all those fouls. He’s working the refs already in hopes of more allowance for that kind of play for Game 4.

    I actually think in this series, so long as both teams are allowed to D-up physically, it may play into the Lakers hands. The Lakers are the more physical team, stereotypes aside. If you allow both teams more leeway in the way they make contact with the opposition, that gives guys like Bynum and Artest nice advantages.

  41. amen to that from a fellow tesoro alum..

    Who else likes the idea of fish as the eventual successor to Phil

  42. I respect Derek Fisher for what he is: a champion. He proved that last night.

    Now this team has to ensure that yesterday does not become some meaningless win by taking the next two in a row. You want revenge for 08? Bring the title home at the Garden and wipe that silly arrogant smile from the Boston jerks.

  43. Amen MannyP13.

  44. #36 ricky. He’s called “The Intangible Mr. Fisher” in the title because he is full of all the intangible qualities that can make someone overcome adversity, step up when it matters most, give his all for the team (not for himself or any other reason), and be a true leader.

    Is there really something wrong with the title, or are you just begging Mommy and Daddy to spank you for some attention? Let it go buddy.

  45. Doc Rivers crying foul over moving picks was the best. If refs start calling it, we’d be playing their small-ball lineup all night.

    As for Fisher, we still need an heir. As reliable as he is, he is a liability during the regular season, which does count to some degree.

    Not saying we need to get rid of him, just saying that we still need to be looking for post-fisher PG, and I’m not seeing that in Farmar or Brown.

  46. Great work, Jeff – thanks for taking the time to contribute to FB&G.

    What a night. I don’t think anything else has to be said about Derek Fisher, other than I offer one more token salute to the man and his ginormous balls.

    Loved the fact that we took a true ugly, grind-it-out game. Defensively, I thought we showed how far we’ve come since 2008. Offensively, I thought the Lakers had no business winning last night. Our offense didn’t look any better to me at all. Overdribbling, overdribbling, overdribbling. There’s a reason Kobe had to force up heaves with the shot clock winding down. (And yes, a lot of that overdribbling came from Kobe himself).

    I loved the win, but our offensive execution has to get better. I love what Luke did out there in his limited playing time. No, he’s not the most athletic guy, but here’s what he brings:

    …Walton has been pushing to play in the series since it began. He said he has been studying Boston’s defense and thinks he can help facilitate and create plays for his teammates if he can get on the court.

    “I’ve been watching all the tape and watching from the bench and I’ve been dying to get in and get a chance to play,” Walton said. “I know how they load their defense and in my mind’s eye I had an idea of how to move the ball from one side to the other and getting into the middle and making some passes and getting some guys some easy looks.”

    In a lot of ways, he’s the anti-Artest. Weak defender, but high basketball-IQ. They can both play a part in our success.

    Why hasn’t Sasha gotten more playing time? I’m interested to hear some opinions. He was the 1st guard off the bench in Game 1, and I don’t think he played any worse than Shannon (better, even). And he was made to chase Ray Allen around screens. Why is Phil benching him?

  47. I expect the refs to call the game lopsided in Boston’s favor in game 4 given doc pepper’s whining and how Stern wants to extend this series. Hopefully Lakers can overcome 5 on 8 again.

  48. Actually, ricky, his best contributions were on defense. Not as tangible as the points, but if you pay attention you can pick up on those nuances.

  49. Darius, I think that the next retired number up there will be 24 (8?)…

    And, in the Chick Hearn vein, does Jack get Sunglasses up on a banner? I would think so, but not sure…

  50. Funky Chicken,
    As mentioned above, Fish took a substantial drop in salary to come to LA (where his daughter could get appropriate treatment). While his daughter is better, she still needs regular checkups and probably will for the remainder of her life. While this does not tie him to LA, it does make it unlikely he will just go follow the dollars.

    I also don’t see another team offering him the MLE. He is a system player and in another type of offense it would be harder to cover up for his shortcomings. It would also reduce his chances of winning another championship.

    Finally, the Lakers take care of their long term players. Fish has a place in this organization, if he wants it.

    I wouldn’t spend much time worrying about Fish leaving the Lakers after this year.

  51. Here’s my opinion.
    Fisher stays on the active roster for as long as he wants to. He has enough intelligence to know when he should hang it up. He is all about team and he wouldn’t hurt his team’s chances of winning in ANY way so I TRUST HIM enough to know when he needs to retire.

    Fisher should be the starter next year until someone actually beats him out for the position with smarts and athleticism. Neither Shannon or Farmar is the starter on a championship caliber team. They are role players.
    The Lakers would need to bring in a younger guard that is smart, puts defense first, plays team ball on offense and is capable of hitting bigtime shots in crunch time. Let me know if anyone knows of one of those.
    We don’t need a Nash, Chris Paul or Deron Williams. (A Westbrook type would be perfect)
    Until then Derek starts and he finishes.
    He’s earned it.

  52. And if Gail Goodrich’s jersey is retired then Derek Fisher’s Jersey should be retired.
    I’m done.

  53. Wow, talk about exaggeration! You guys need to calm the heck down with all this Fish love. Fisher played a great game, but in the end, it was a role players game. He scored 16 points, shooting 6 for 12 (50%), while grabbing 3 rebounds with 1 assist. He went 0-3 from 3 point land, had 2 TOs and played mediocre at best defense.

    Of course the 11 points in the 4th quarter on 5-7 shooting were important to no end. But let’s not over-exaggerate this mans talent level or his importance to the team.

    If a team is going to win a ring, then unsung heroes must appear. The role players must step up and play big. Heck, even Nate RObinson did it in game 2 in very limited minutes. Does that mean that Nate should be a hall of famer? No. Does it mean that Boston should sell off Rondo and just promote Nate to the starting job? Of course not.

    Fisher’s performance doesn’t change the fact that he is still the weakest link on this team. That if an above-average PG were on this team instead of Fisher, we would have swept the Celtics.

    I understand that emotions are running high. But take a look at it with some rationality. For the Lakers to get better next year, they need a new point guard and they also need to relagate Derek Fisher to the BENCH. That’s how this team gets stronger.

    Fisher still cannot play defense, cannot rebound, cannot pass, cannot run the offense efficiently, etc.

    He came through big in this game. But that’s just because our offense was not being run at all, and it was necessary for him to hit impossible (for him) shots. Perhaps instead of needing these heriocs from Fisher, we should have ran the offense correctly and gotten high quality looks for our more talented players?

    I mean seriously, does anyone want the game to come down to fisher heriocs?? Of course not. Don’t let your emotions rule you. Look at things rationally if you want to look at things correctly.

  54. I think Fish’s last shot over Davis, Garnett, and Allen while being pummelled is going down as one of the great shots in Laker Lore, moreso because it was against the hated Celtics.

    I think it is up there with Magic Johnson’s baby hook over the outstretched arms of McHale and Parish (though i think Magic’s shot was in a series clincher?) What year and game was that? — my memory fails me…

    I never expect it from Fish, but he continues to amaze me as a true champion.

  55. #49 raymeister- Magic’s junior, junior skyhook was in game 4 at Boston in the 1987 Finals. It put LA up 3-1. Boston won game 5, but the Lakers wrapped it up back home in game 6.

  56. Funky Chicken (31),
    I understand your point. But I think you might be misconstruing our praise of Fisher for lack of perspective. And I do understand that. Nobody here is saying that the Lakers don’t need to upgrade the PG position this offseason. My post (which I reposted several times because I wanted to somewhat make up for all the times that I have said that Farmar and Brown should be starting over Fisher this season) was simply stating that Fisher was the PG on this roster who this season should be starting and playing and I was wrong for thinking otherwise… solely based on his fourth quarter performance last night. I can’t imagine Farmar or Brown could have done what Derek did considering Kobe, Artest, Lamar, and Gasol couldn’t even give 15% of what Fisher gave down the stretch. I can’t recall reading one post on this site stating that the Lakers shouldn’t try to upgrade their weakest position (PG). I might be wrong though. In my defense, which is looking pretty thin right about now, Derek has never played a game like that before. But Phil again made the right choice somehow knowing Derek had this in him. D Fish is a special competitor with a special confidence. And he has put the Lakers in a great position to win yet another championship. I can’t overstate last game enough… if we lose it… we probably don’t win this series.

  57. I’m not going to worry about next season’s personnel until our guys are celebrating #16 on the parquet floor at the end of Game 5.

    Edit – and even then, I’m going to wait until after the parade

  58. I just realized that last night the Lakers didn’t make any stupid fouls closing out a quarter!

  59. Thank you Keveh. Fisher is a good clutch player based on his history and experience. He still was last in starting point guards in assists in the NBA and 2nd to last in shooting percentage. We love the guy but as hard as he works on defense he hurts the bigs who draw fouls trying to cover for him.

    We want Fish back for his knowledge next year but this team needs a starting PG that can hold his own on defense and lead a fastbreak. The shot he took at the end was a amazing shot. It also was a amazing stupid shot. One on three at that time of the game could have cost us the game.

    The last guy who took a shot that silly was Artest and his 3 point barrage with time running out.

    What would we be saying if he bricked that shot unstead of holding it and taking it back out. That was a hero shot and we already of Kobe hero, Ron wanna be hero, Farmer wish he was hero and Shannon thinks he should be hero.

    Enough with the hero’s, How about fundemental smart basketball. Can you imagine what the great Wooden would have said about that shot?

  60. Lakers are going to need Fisher to keep reaching into his bag of tricks, whenever the Lakers are in a fix in order to close out this championship with a win!

  61. Just a thought. Fish is the hero of game 3. He is also 11 for 28 in this series and o for 5 in 3 pointers in the series.

    He also has 11 fouls and 8 assists.

    Yes he was the hero but lets not hand him the MVP quite yet. I imagine Boston fans were chanting MVP for Allen after game 2.

    Take it one game at a time my fellow Laker fans.

  62. 53, “Fisher still cannot play defense, cannot rebound, cannot pass, cannot run the offense efficiently, etc.”

    Wait a second. Ray Allen shot what… 0-13 last night, Fisher grabbed arguably the biggest rebound of the game and took it coast to coast for a game clinching lay-up, he’s one of the best entry passers on the team, and he’s really the only person who runs the offense efficiently. I don’t think you could be any more wrong.

    And it’s weird that you’re thinking about next year, considering we’re in the middle of the Finals and all. You know when’s a good time to think about next year? July. Until then, who gives a shit about your rationality. This is about expressing our joy and appreciation of Derek Fisher, the same way we do for any player. We can worry about our roster for next year during the off-season.

  63. One of the reasons why Fish became so emotional after the game was because he feels and knows how many people have written him off, hearing all those stuff about being “the worst starting PG in the league” to the need to trade for Kirk Hinrich during the trade deadline. He never shot back or tried to prove himself that went beyond the team concept, just staying as the class act that he is, and stepping up when all the chips were down and our top two options on offense couldn’t rescue the team.

    I really feel those emotions had been bottled up since the season started

  64. Zephid Yes we want to show our joy of the hardest working man in purple and gold. But really. When Allen set a new record for 3’s and had 27 points in the first half that was someone else’s fault. When Allen goes 0 for 13 and 8 were wide open shots that is Fisher defense.

    You should work for the government or work the PR Department at BP Oil.

  65. @ kaveh,

    is 50% shooting a bad percentage for you? is going around screens to be in Ray Allen’s grill most of the night “mediocre at best” defense?

    How is he the weakest link of this team? Please explain. Because, time after time, his peers (you know the guys he actually plays with) praise him for what he brings. Kobe even says he doesn’t listen to anyone else on the team. Sure, one on one, Farmar or Brown will be able to take him. But are you 100% certain that Fisher is the WEAKEST link of this team?

    He may have shot pretty crappy during the regular season, but guess who is still in the finals? The Lakers. Your assumption that we would SWEEP THE CELTICS IF WE HAD AN ABOVE AVERAGE POINT GUARD is laughable at best but just basically absurd. I don’t think Hinrich has ever proven that he would have the balls to take the shots that Fisher took. And name me another point guard who would have the balls to take over a game when they have Kobe beside him? You really can’t.

    Sure hate him for getting old and a step slow. But we’re in the Finals, up 2 – 1, with the HELP of D. Fish, not in spite of him. And if he is good enough for Kobe and Phil Jackson, maybe you should open your eyes to real basketball and not statistics basketball. I mean trade him if you want in your NBA 2K10 video game, but I’ll take Fish over all but 6 point guards in the league.

  66. Sometimes you guys are like the government. Just printing what serves the moment. No Fisher thoughts that show both side of the story. Just happy thoughts.

    Allen scores 27 in first half its other fault.
    Allen goes 0 for 13 its Fisher defense.

    Come on guys your better then that.

    Go ahead edit me out. But I am a 40 year Laker fan and played college ball so I might know somethings about the game. I love the guy but that last shot in a 1 on 3 was a really bad shot.

  67. I think somebody should be moderating themselves. A little harsh dont you think, I know D. Fish is getting lots of love after last night, but taking it to a personal level is a little much. Count to 10 backwards, breathe in through your nose and out your mouth.

  68. AWESOME article on our man D. Fisher. Brilliantly written. As fans we are so fortunate to have such a veteran who plays with ALL HEART. He’s quite the humanitarian off the floor too. I can share many stories about how he contributes to the community. The man truly has a heart of gold.

    The FB&G editorial team are nothing less than stellar, congrats on joining the elite Laker bloggers around Jeff.

    Go Lakers! Hey Pierce, you just might not be coming back to L.A. after all!

  69. All I can say is that I am glad we have Fisher on the team. Very blessed.

    Just when some will say he should retire, trade him, etc., he goes and proves he’s worth his weight in gold during playoff time.

    How many times do we rag on other team’s players that choke and can’t man up during the playoffs or pressure situations *cough* Lebron *cough* Carter *cough* Howard *cough*.

    We are lucky enough that when Kobe can’t do it all in clutch situations, there is still Fisher.

    Quite frankly this team does NOT have another like that.

    From Kobe to Fisher. No one else knows how to be clutch on the team.

    Fish, when you hang them up in a year or two, I will be sad and happy at the same time.

    Hard to think he won’t be an assistant to the team in the future.

    Bye.

  70. I’ve seen posts on the positive and negative side here. Some of the positive ones have gone way overboard on the love… but its understandable, Fish turned the tide of the series and probably this season in our favor. On the negative posts, I must tell you that Fish belongs to a special breed of players. He is a winner, in every sense of the word. Talent doesn’t equate to being a winner. He may not be as athletically gifted as others, but to come up time and again and delivering when it matters most, is a special gift.

    Those who have played in high-level competitive sports in their lifetime will have a greater appreciation of what Fish brings to the Laker organization, and that cannot be measured thru PER’s or PPG, APG RPG, or any offensive or defensive ratings created by man.

    Fish HAS to be re-signed this off season, but I feel that he has to be relegated to the bench just so that we can save him for the postseason. With that, we have to look for a worthy starter next season (Fish may still be the closer) that will log most of the minutes in the regular season and be the understudy of Fish. I’m still not sold on Farmar and Brown. They make too many boneheaded plays on offense and defense. One of them may have to be traded this off season.

    How about trading up early in the second round and picking Greivis Vasquez of Maryland. He’s a 6’6″ PG that has Fisher-like qualities, not athletically gifted but uses his smarts and his heart.

  71. Ken,

    Fisher was ahead of the pack, 3 guys trailing him, not in front of him. And even Phil said, they have a clear path ok. and that was a bad shot?? really?

  72. Ken, not so sure if the last shot was a bad shot, it was a near certainty that he would get fouled, and if it went in, it would’ve been a back breaker.

    Oh it did go in, so yeah, back breaker.

    Surely we all know that Fish leaves much to be desired. Not even sure if the young Fish would cut it here, let alone 35 year old fish. But he IS an upgrade over Parker, and from what we’ve seen from Farmar, Brown, and Crittenton, can’t say he is the worst thing that could happen to us.

    As for Sasha not playing… I know I’m being mean, but I can picture Sasha fouling Allen, bailing him out, and helping him regain shooting rhythm by shooting FTs.

  73. Zephid,
    Luke and Kobe also run the offense pretty well.

    Well, we are fans, so I guess we can swing too far in either direction. Too much love for Fish – no we shouldn’t be talking about retiring his number. Or too little love – his intangibles do count for a lot.

  74. First off, I want to thank all of you guys here for what has been a great season in FB&G (or Lakerland in general) thus far. I rarely post here but I do always read everything.

    Second, it seems it hasn’t been mentioned ’bout what’s being said on the C’s front. From espn, a day after all praises for Fish, Doc says Fish flops! Seeesh…Always thought Doc was a class act. Now I don’t think so.

    I don’t have work by the time Game 4 unfolds (Friday morning here in the Philippines). I’m a LSOB (compared to others with problems on the time zones) so I hope everyone enjoys the game too!

    GO LAKERS!

  75. I love DFish. Nuff said.

    On to other topics, does anyone else find it hysterical that Doc is complaining about the Lakers settinng illegal screens? That’s comedy right there. High comedy.

  76. harold – Agreed, that’s the one thing I fear with Sasha. He’s far too handsy on defense and picks up pointless fouls. But other than that, I think he was made to guard guys like Allen. There’s no chance he’ll leave Allen the way Shannon Brown did. And he’s played in control enough offensively to warrant more PT, in my opinion. But Phil knows what he’s doing, I guess. And it’s not like Sasha’s played so well that this is an egregious error.

  77. It’s ironic, sad, and hysterical. For 3 years the Celtics have been the bullies pushing, holding, grabbing, doing whatever it took to win. They bullied the Magic and the Cavaliers with a bruising defensive style.

    When a team actually starts fighting back, Doc Rivers gets indignant and bawls to the media. Beyond Fisher’s ‘tangibles’, what I love about him is how physical he is. Aside from Artest, he punishes players. Doc wasn’t complaining about Artest grabbing last night, he was complaining about Fish. Fish played an effective, physical style that worried Doc enough for him to whine about the refs.

    Typical bully behavior. It’s great when you’re doing the punching. But when you get punched in the nose, cry about it.

  78. RE Perspective: There are times and performances that deserve that extra bit of recognition. Fisher’s game 3 – specifically his 4th quarter – is on of those. For those that want to tear him down or bring him back to earth for past performance, I can slightly understand, but barely. Fisher’s a player that has the respect of his teammates and of opponents. If he doesn’t get it from all fans, I think he can live with that because as he said post game “all (he) cares about is helping his team win”. In game 3 he did that; he was the difference in the end.

    Perspective also means that you must take everything into account when judging the player. To say things like he still “can’t play defense” is an interesting statement because he does many things well on defense and some things he’s still deficient at. As far as his defense on Allen, I think he played well in both games 2 and 3, but in game 3 there was much better team support and a more refined scheme. I also think Allen just missed some shots that he made the game before. As it goes in this game.

    I don’t think anything about Jeff’s post was overboard. I think fans should feel good about Fisher because his performance swung a crucial game in the Lakers’ direction. I also think this series isn’t over and much like some of Ariza’s performance(s) in 2009, we should celebrate the moment while keeping our eyes on the bigger goals that are still not quite reached.

    One last note. Ken brought up an interesting point about Ron’s missed 3 against Phoenix and Fisher’s made lay up vs. Boston. One is universally praised as a good play (Fisher’s) and one is universally trashed as dumb (Artest’s). I think this is a good question and it’s actually one that came up today in an email with some good friends and smart fans of the team. This is what I told them in my email response.

    “We’re a results based society. Fish got ‘em, Ron didn’t.

    However, I will say that context is king. Fish was having a masterful quarter, playing King Midas. Ron, in his game, was having a poor offensive contest – Phil even called that shot a redemption type of shot where he was trying to make up for past failures with a single bucket (the one he got later would be that shot). So, while I see the comparison, I also see enough difference where I think Fish did the right thing.

    On a side note, being a guy that played point guard, when I saw Fish’s play developing I thought “you need to push to see if that stays open” and when he did and *it* did, it ended exactly as it was drawn up in my head (though the finish was amazing considering the guys that surrounded him). On Ron’s play – and also thinking as a PG – the only advantage that existed was the fact that he was open. There wasn’t any momentum carrying him towards the basket; there was nothing to build on except for the fact that he had possession. In that instance, my PG mind said “pull it back, reset the offense” and that’s why I was upset with his play. If Ron had grabbed that offensive rebound himself, been on the move towards the hoop, and had an open lane to attack the bucket, I can honestly say I would have been more okay with the play (even if the result was the same).”

    Now, some may disagree with my logic, but that’s how I saw it.

  79. Darius,

    I definitely agree with you on the Fish/Artest comparison. I too thought that if that layup didn’t go in (also without a foul being called) then we would be questioning his judgment. But if Fish didn’t seize his opportunity at a lay up, then we should really question his confidence. To have the angle and momentum on a drive to the hoop and not take it would just not be Fish.

    I wanted to ask you (and anyone) what they thought about the 2-3-2 format for the finals. This topic has probably been beaten to death, but I was talking to a friend about this and we both agree that the team w/o home court advantage shouldn’t get the opportunity to have their 3rd home game before the team with HCA. Any thoughts?

  80. re: 2-3-2: I disagree with much of what is usually accepted as the established gospel on this: I think it’s a huge advantage to the team with HCA as, essentially, it exchanges an unlikely close-out game (5) for a likely close-out game (6). Sure, it means one’s more likely to return home 2-3 rather than going on the road at 3-2, but I’d rather play potential elimination games at home than on the road. Also, it’s so tough to sweep the middle 3 that I think it’s an additional advantage for a home team that can win its first 2 at home (as we did every round but this one). Had we started 2-0, even winning 1 out of 3 means we’d be returning to staples 3-2 with 2 closeout games.

    If memory serves, 2-3-2 was the brain child of red auerbach who argued that it would cut down on travel time (since the Finals is east v. west), but secretly thought it would give his team the advantage, something he later said that he thought was a mistake. Given that we have HCA this year, I’m loving the 2-3-2, but I must say I think it’s unfair and in any event obsolete in an era of team-owned planes. Also, I would be enjoying it a lot more had we won our 1st two games at staples. I really do believe it’s a crushing advantage if a team can win the first 2 at home, immeasurably more so than 2-2-1-1-1. Damn Ray Allen!

  81. A well-deserved post in praise of a man whose performance made many ‘fans’ eat crow. As a season-long believer in (and a lifetime fan of) Derek Fisher, I can do nothing but try to imitate his wide smile.

    To all those singing praise – it’s all deserved, but don’t forget this series is not over. Time to reset and gear up for the next game.

    To all those trying to take away from the moment – get a life. This post is in recognition of an amazing performance by a good player and a great man. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

  82. #1 Great post on Fisher; he deserves it.

    #2
    New Kobe commercial… “The Kloser.” Worth watching on the humorous side, not so much the dunkalicious 2001 Adidas commercial side.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rRlSKuoNck

  83. I’m so desperate for Finals news I actually read Tim Legler’s ESPN writeup. He does not disappoint:

    “The Celtics would sweep the Lakers if Rajon Rondo, the best player to this point in the 2010 NBA playoffs, had a consistent 18-foot jumper.”

  84. The people that are trying to bring all the Fisher love back down to earth are simply doing it because they have be griping about the man all year. So it’s not going to stop now.
    You hear that? That’s pride messin with you.
    Who have been the “point” guards that have won for Phil Jackson? There’s not an all star point guard in the bunch.

    And I’ll say it again. Fisher deserves to be the starting guard until somebody comes along that can actually outplay him for the position.
    Someone that can run the Triangle properly, play tough D and hit big shots.
    That’s what Triangle “point” guards do.

  85. The main story line here was not that he was great in the 4th, although he really was.
    It was that he works his butt off every time he comes to the floor, and he settles everyone else when they are on panic mode.

    This is how you win ball games. He is not as quick as Russ Westbrook, not as skilled as D-Will, not as great as Steve Nash, not as crafty as Rondo, but he knows when to pull those altogether at the right time.
    He used all the four points of them on the fourth quarter, and used it when it mattered most.

    Now, I’ve been a Fish supporter all my life, and I guess you know it, too. I gotta agree he was not even average the whole regular season, but he knows when to use his tank, and he uses it on the most important stages of the NBA, the playoffs.

    So, if you are with me, may we sign a point guard this season and play D-Fish ONLY in the playoffs.

    I’m kidding ;)

  86. @79. Sedale

    I agree. If the series was cut short (i.e., the team W/O HCA somehow managed to win the series via 4-1) to 5 games, then that would’ve meant the HCA team was only able to play 2 games on their floor. The other (and less seeded) team gets +1 game on their turf. A major disadvantage for the HCA team, me thinks. But that’s just me. I’m no one. So what do I know?

  87. to a laker fan… it means something… to have a chance to beat THE boston celtics. We, with Vladamir Radmanovic.. in ’08, defending one of the big 3, andrew bynum inactive and james taylor singing the game 1 national anthem were plum out of luck. When Lenny Bias passes, the horror was felt and the chance to witness ‘a thing of beauty’ passes for us also. Although we would cheer against him and his team, we would respect the gr8 ness with humility.
    They ‘willed’ a victory in 2008, so much, they beat us by 300pts the first half. Now it’s our time to ‘will’ a victory. Now. ray breaks record in #2 and goes 0 for in next game.. Phil ate his wheaties. Kobe reads the blogs and ‘realizes’ , if he moved mo’ w/o the ball he could / would / should easily score his 42 and have grey poupon w/ caesar’s salad. Jordan Farmar is better than Rondo. The wizard is in him and he’s fast. Sacha can hit the open 3. MJBenga can go toe to toe with Perkins. Adam Morrison is smooth and knows how 2 score.
    .04Fish is smart enuf to take it 2 the hole and let the chips fall where they may. If only Adam could utilize his brass like fisher did. It takes huge glen gary to ‘go 2 the hoop’ it ‘that’ situation. HUGE. big ones. think. If he failed…. and boston got the rebound …and scored… and got fouled.. and missed the free throw and …got the rebound …and scored and …. welll… whatever.. IF ? then fisher is boo’d.. thrown out of town with his bs free agency and laker’s sulk and boohoo and argh: but no !! He willed it in.. got fouled and his team mates / fans : said ‘o yeah’ : put his number up with wilt / lew alcindor / melanie et al. .04 fish. Kevin Durant is the closest thing to lenny bias as there ever was. Lakers can’t lose point blank. We might split the next two but LA has the stars aligned this time around. Trivia question for the people of 2166. Who was the last team to win the nba finals 2010 b4 the oil ‘on THE ocean’ caught on fire and the world burnt? answer: LA Lakers when Jordan Farmar got 16 in game #4. Lakers gave ‘em game 5, just to celebrate @ home. Wake up people. stop ray. lakers can’ lose.

  88. I continue to be very grateful for the many contributions that Derek Fisher brings to the Lakers on a game by game basis. I’ve been watching Derek for a long time, so I know what to look for. It’s a special treat when he openly reveals some of those talents that otherwise discerning Lakers fans have completely missed–and even continue to miss in game 3 of the NBA championship in Boston.

    I remember games in which Derek had spectacular “game 2 Ray Allen like” 3 point shooting. I remember nights when Derek led the Lakers in rebounding. I’ve noticed an instance nearly every Laker game in which Derek sacrifices his body and takes a charge to manufacture a turnover.

    The world has seen Derek make unforgettable individual plays for the Lakers on the way to NBA championships before, but never a whole selection of plays and shots over an entire fourth quarter with the NBA championship at stake.

    Well, they’ve seen it now.

  89. I agree that you can put D Fish in the same conversation with Chuck Norris. You could even paste Derek Fishers face on the movie poster of the Charles Bronson “Death Wish” movies.

  90. And this is why I have never bashed Derek Fisher. He knows how to win. Just like a leadoff hitter in baseball, I want him there for the first six minutes to set the tone, and I want him there for the last six minutes because when others get tight, he doesn’t. In between, I don’t care what he does. That is why I would not trade him for almost anyone. He knows how to win.

  91. 83) Haterade,
    ““The Celtics would sweep the Lakers if Rajon Rondo, the best player to this point in the 2010 NBA playoffs, had a consistent 18-foot jumper.”

    Legler’s a real tool sometimes. If they want to talk about “what ifs” with these two rosters, the first one on everyone’s list should be “what if Bynum was healthy.”

  92. 2-3-2:
    Let’s say that the teams are fairly evenly matched, and the home teams win the first four games, so it’s 2-2. Who is more likely to win game 5? Seems to me that it is pretty clearly the home team. That would then give the team without HCA two shots at winning the title. I think that takes away some (not all) of the benefit of HCA. I also think that decreased travel works in favor of the team without HCA.

  93. ken,
    You are (apparently) ignoring the amount of time left in the games (and the probable necessity of additional scores for the Lakers) when comparing the wisdom of the Fisher and Artest shots. In addition, considering the positions of the defenders, there was an almost guaranteed foul involved on the layup. So Fisher’s shot made sense both strategically and tactically. Artest’s shot made sense tactically (he was wide open), but not strategically.

  94. In theory 2-3-2 should help the visiting team, but only 2 underdog teams have won all 3 games at their place. Detroit vs. us and Miami vs. Dallas in ’04 and ’06, and in retrospect Detroit and the refs (*smirk*) were clearly the better teams in their respective series.

    By contrast, the favored teams have won 3 straight on the road thrice. We were on the good end in ’01, the bad end in ’91, and there was also Detroit in ’90.

    It could be said that if a team is good enough to make the Finals with HCA, it’s good enough to win one of the middle 3 on the road.

    This probably isn’t news for most readers here, but the 2-3-2 format was implemented in 1985 largely at the request of Red Auerbach. In keeping with a hallowed tradition of hypocritical whining from the Celtics, he later groused about it after the Lakers beat the Celtics later that season in the Finals, perhaps in part because we had game 5 in L.A. thanks to 2-3-2

  95. Doc spent most of his press conference complaining about the officials. He clearly wants it both ways, to be physical and grab on defense and not to be called for it.

    Celtics people are now saying they are too old – I hope the Lakers don’t fall for that trick.

  96. For all those who are discussing our guard options for next season, consider this alternative:

    1) Start Vujacic at PG; Zephid et al. has debated this enough, and while I agree, I’ll let them back it up.

    2) Re-sign Fisher and play him as backup SG. The rationale here is that Fisher must still be kept fresh during the regular season and the limited minutes he plays behind Kobe will ensure that. Also, this relieves us of Shannon Brown if he decides to opt out and leave.

    The other reason is because Fisher while slow and still good at funneling quick PGs towards help, is definitely strong enough to bother SGs on defense (not just Ray Allen, but most SGs in this league), and I believe will do a more-than-competent job there.

    In the playoffs, if necessary, he can also return to PG for long stretches (if our PGs fail, obviously) – especially since he’s not the type to be confused about his role even when everyone else loses their marbles.

  97. If you want to know why Fish needs to be be re-signed, check out the following.

    http://bit.ly/aYT70Q

    And by the way: all the criticism of him being slow, etc., is crazy. No one can stop Aaron Brooks, Steve Nash, Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Rajon Rondo. Not even one of the players I just named has had any real success stopping any one of the others. Fish ain’t one of those guys but if it wasn’t for him Kobe would be jacking up 30 shots a game right now AND we’d be getting swept. Fish is the only person, as KB said himself, who can get through to 24. Otherwise we’re on Bryant Island, where everyone gets their head torn off daily and no one else gets to shoot.

    Peace.

  98. #95

    I pray to everything and all that is holy that Sasha Vujacic is never a starter at any postition for this Lakers team. I’m really hoping some team is dumb enough to take on his expiring contract in a trade. Please, please, please get that guy out of here.

    I have no idea what’s going to happen in tonight’s game but I do know I can’t wait for 4:00PM when I get off of work and go buy 2 tall cans of Coors light to enjoy the game.

  99. @79, 85

    A popular train of thought is that this actually makes it harder on the non-HCA team. As we’ve seen in various series this year, plenty of teams can win 2 in a row and hold home serve in a 2-2-1-1-1 series. However winning 3 in a row is pretty hard at any level, so basically the HCA team is going to be allowed to steal one of the road games at some point, giving them the advantage.

  100. Great post! But some of the fisher criticism I’m reading makes me think doc rivers and ray allen are posting here. the lakers would be short a couple rings without him and would be seriously lacking in team chemistry and leadership. If Farmar, Shannon or Sasha could handle the job, they would have gotten it and fisher probably would have played a smaller role in most regular season games. If anyone here has watched these guys play in person, you’d have seen plenty of signs that they just can’t handle the starting job. Farmar and Sasha are like the old 7-Up jingle – “Never had it. Never will.” Shannon has not had enough time to absorb the system, so we’ll see if he’s around next year. I think Fisher’s presence off the court is almost bigger than is court play. Robert Horry was never a leader like Fisher. Give the guy his props. He’s earned them!

  101. This is very moving. Great work here!