Ice Fisher: In early rounds and early in Game 4, Fisher couldn’t shoot fish in a barrel, but with ice-water in his veins, he reels in Orlando ice-holes, sinking a three to force O.T., and another one in O.T. to win the game, as Lakers hook a commanding 3-1 series lead
FISH GUTS THE SOLE OUT OF ORLANDO —
It’s O-Fish-el — Phil Jackson knows whom to trust, and Kobe Bryant is not a one-man team.
The Orlando Magic attended The School of Fish on Thursday night, and they flunked out… probably right out of the Finals. The Lakers’ much-maligned Point Guard Derek Fisher overcame a slow start to hit the two biggest shots of the game, as L.A. took control of the best-of-seven series, 3-1, with a 99-91 Overtime victory.
Some fans (including some Bruin/Jordan Farmar fans) were calling Jackson an idiot for not replacing Fisher in the Lakers’ rotation. Fisher had been slumping miserably since the Playoffs began, and Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown were showing flashes of big potential. But Jackson showed total faith in Fisher, giving him lots of minutes as the Finals began. And Fisher did not disappoint, making very valuable contributions on both ends of the court during all 3 Finals games.
But in Game 4, Fisher, like the rest of the Lakers, was struggling. Orlando had a 12-point lead at Halftime, with Dwight “Superman” Howard on his way to a Finals Record NINE blocks, and 21 points, and 16 rebounds. But in the 3rd quarter, Trevor Ariza exploded. That’s right… that was not a typo… NOT Kobe Bryant, but Trevor Ariza took over the game. The Bruin star scored THIRTEEN of his 16 points in the quarter, including 11 in the make-or-break first 5 and a half minutes after Intermission. During Ariza’s barrage, the Lakers cut the lead from 12 to 1, and it was close the rest of the way.
Kobe was the MVP as always, with 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists, but he needed plenty of help. And he got it, from Ariza (who hit a huge three with just over 2 minutes to go in regulation), and Pau Gasol (16 and 10). But it took Fish to scale the mountain.
The Lakers fell down by 5 with a minute to go. They cut it to three, and then fouled Howard, who missed both potentially-game-clinching Free Throws, with 10 seconds left. (Who knew the foul line was painted with Kryptonite-based paint?) So the Lakers had a chance, down by only 3, but of course, Orlando will foul intentionally, so the Lakers can’t get a three off. Right? Well, Stan Van Gundy is not the Hall of Fame coach in these Finals. Jackson is, and he fooled Orlando, by not advancing the ball to halfcourt. Then, as time ran down, defender Jameer Nelson inexplicably laid off Fisher, who received the ball from Ariza, and Fisher confidently stuck it. And it wasn’t the only Fish Stick of the night.
After Orlando’s last-second play in regulation ended with a low-percentage brick from a non-starter, Kobe came out in O.T. and hit the first two Laker shots. But the Magic came right back and tied it up. Then an Ariza hustle play that made the announcer say Trevor “wanted it more than anyone in white jerseys,” and “Give me FIVE Trevor Ariza’s any day,” set it up so that it was once again up to Kobe. But Kobe was smothered, so he fed it to Fish, who stuck another long-distance three, this one, with 31 seconds left.
On the play, Kobe caught Nelson in the jaw with an elbow, but apparently since Nelson was so “in his face,” no foul was called. For the whiners: One play does not make the Lakers “lucky” to win. The Magic shot tons more foul shots (plenty on questionable calls, including one on Fish with 90 seconds to go in O.T.), they missed two crucial Free Throws, and they missed the defensive assignment of the decade.
And Orlando still had plenty of time, in a still-one-possession game, but Hedo Turkoglu missed a tough leaning three-pointer, the Lakers rebounded, and got a fast break for a 5-point lead. Orlando missed another three, and on the ensuing fast break, the Magic showed their frustration, by acting like ice-holes. As Gasol was laying the ball in the hoop, Mickael Pietrus — the non-starter who missed the crucial shot at the buzzer — flagrantly fouled him, and words had to be exchanged.
Not a smart move by Pietrus, because until that moment, the Lakers would have been likely to give something less than 110% in Game 5, knowing that they have Game 6 and 7 at Home coming up. But now, with a little bit of bad blood, and poor losing, maybe the Lakers will develop that killer instinct, and polish off the Magic on Sunday. Even though 2 of the 3 Laker wins have been in O.T., there is no one outside of Orlando who thinks the Magic has a chance.
Right now, they just know that something smells Fishy in Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, and it ain’t Ariel, it’s the Magic allowing those two Fisher aerials. Were they THAT shocked — after playing LeBron’s team — that someone else besides the Star player could beat them?