Derek Fisher has won five championships with the Lakers and made many big plays along the way. But his most memorable play did not come during a championship season. It happened during a Western Conference semifinal game in 2004, a year in which the Lakers were defeated in the NBA Finals.
And it all played out in .4 seconds. That’s how much time was left on the clock when San Antonio’s Tim Duncan made a shot to give the Spurs a one-point lead.
Fisher followed with a winner. He took an inbound pass from Gary Payton and in the same motion turned and fired an 18-foot shot over Manu Ginobili before the horn sounded.
“As it got closer,” Fisher said, “I knew the ball was going in.”
The shot, which Times columnist Bill Plaschke deemed the second biggest shot in franchise history, established Fisher as one of the most clutch performers to wear a Lakers uniform, a reputation he has lived up to many times.
Fisher was drafted by the Lakers 24th overall in 1996 and won three consecutive NBA titles with the team. During the third title run, he set a league record with 15 three-point baskets in the Lakers’ sweep of the Spurs in a conference semifinal.
He left as a free agent in 2004 and spent two seasons with Golden State and one with Utah. During the 2007 off-season, Fisher was released from his contract with the Jazz so he could help tend to his then-1-year-old daughter, Tatum, who had eye cancer.
In a matter of weeks, he was a Laker again and on his way to NBA titles in 2009 and 2010. He entered free agency again in the summer of 2010 but ended up signing a three-year contract to remain with the Lakers and close friend Kobe Bryant. Fisher always seems to come up with new ways to help the Lakers:
-- He made a score-tying three-point shot with 4.6 seconds remaining in Game 4 of the 2009 NBA Finals against Orlando, then sealed the victory with a three-pointer with 31.3 seconds left in overtime.
-- His three-pointer with 28 seconds remaining in Game 3 of a 2010 conference semifinal against Utah gave the Lakers a 109-108 lead with 28 seconds remaining. The Lakers won, 111-110, and Fisher finished with 20 points.
-- He had 11 fourth-quarter points in Game 3 of the 2010 NBA Finals against Boston, including a coast-to-coast layup that ended up being worth three points because he was fouled.
-- After the Lakers had rallied from a 13-point deficit in Game 7 of the 2010 Finals, he made a key three-pointer midway through the fourth quarter to tie the score and prevent Boston from pulling away again.
-- On Dec. 8, 2010, his layup with .1 second to play lifted the Lakers to an 87-86 victory over the Clippers.
Fisher, who serves as the NBA Players Assn. president, is second behind Bryant on the Lakers all-time in three-pointers made (822) and attempted (2,181). He is tied with Michael Cooper for sixth on the team in games played (872), 12th in three-point percentage (.377%) and 18th in points scored (6,971).
He is 55th on the NBA’s all-time list for three-pointers made (1,053) and is the league’s active leader in consecutive games played (495 at the end of the 2010-11 season).