Sure, there’s more than one mind-boggling closer. In fact, the Lakers' second option was the savior—better than Superman saving the night. Besides Kobe, there’s another hero suited for late action, and even though he vanished during the playoffs, he proved last night he can still make huge shots in critical situations.

Derek Fisher has definite swagger, finishing miracle shots based on what he described as “faith,” following a thrilling finish in another dramatic game. He revealed that his shooting mojo remains.

The Fish was frying and burning the nets at the end of regulation, and, in overtime, he reminded us of one big, indelible shot in a hostile 2004 playoff atmosphere, when he hit the most gratifying shot in Lakers history.

With 0.4 seconds left in a game that defined epic proportions, Fisher capitalized on the biggest shot of his career to beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.

In recent memory, Fisher was criticized for poor shot selection, slowing down as his game started to deteriorate, which left many wondering if he still had the deep fryers.

Alas, the Fish was cooking Thursday night.

At first, it hardly seemed like Fisher would be the game-changer, but he suddenly rose to the occasion, with shots that were expected from someone other than him—someone such as Kobe Bryant or Trevor Ariza.

This time, it was the veteran who stunned the crowd, who was sporting blue apparel, with Superman logos to represent the big man in the middle, Dwight Howard.

This time we got a glimpse as to why Fisher is the much-beloved Laker—besides Kobe—a humble man who knows how to shoot in pressure situations. He's an inspiring man who plays with a heavy heart, a man with dignity, and a man who makes big-time shots.

Logic tells us that Fisher might have not been in a Lakers uniform if he didn’t ask Utah to void his three-year, $22 million contract to tend to his daughter, Tatum, who was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer, returning to the Lakers and Los Angeles for better health care.

That’s an archetype of a bravery, caring, and unselfish veteran.

Fish is the oldest on the team, the most experienced, and the most appealing player in the late minutes. Sure, struggles exemplified the type of game he would have.

Of course, these exemplifications gave off the wrong impression, as the Magic underestimated Fisher’s three-point touch. They preferred to trap Bryant, without unleashing a Fish net to catch No. 2 launch two late prayers that dictated this win.

What was Jameer Nelson thinking? That he would miss? Perhaps, giving Fisher enough space, and enough confidence to muster the heroics. Indeed, the mission was accomplished.

But it was puzzling as to why Nelson quit defending. Doesn’t he remember the 0.4 “One Lucky Shot Deserves Another” footage?

When he bombed in his first desperation three-pointer with 4.6 left in regulation, Amway Arena turned into dead silence, as if there was a delay in the shot clock or a fire in the building. Guess it was a fire, as Fisher heated up the nets, and sent Magic fans home in disbelief, wondering why the defense vanished.

An explanation came in overtime. And, yes, as anticipated, Bryant was heckled and threw an elbow at Nelson’s chin, which forced him to find another alternative. He dished it out to a wide-open Fisher, who fired the uncontested shot from beyond the arch, leaving 31.3 on the clock, and summarizing a 99-91 thriller.

The Lakers took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. History is now working against the Magic. No team has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Finals.

In fact, history favors the Lakers to a greater extent, as Bryant is on track to win his first championship without Shaquille O’Neal on his side.

Phil Jackson will win his 10th title all-time, becoming the greatest coach in the history of the NBA. And the Lakers will hang another championship banner in the rafters, making it No. 15. Of course, the fans will embrace a historic moment, with their Lakers flags waving above automobiles, and with festivities down Figueroa.

Besides Fisher's heroics, a few other players played key roles in the Game Three comeback. The Lakers' turning point came in the third quarter, as the intensity sizzled. And they knew the importance of stepping up to help a weary and frustrated Bryant.

The L.A. native, Trevor Ariza, came to the rescue in the third quarter, keeping them from avoiding another meltdown that would have changed the momentum in the series.

Ariza was productive, arguably playing the best game of his career, though he was issued a technical foul for slamming the ball to the floor. Still, he gave a solid performance, with 16 points, two steals, major hustle, and established a defensive presence. He also hit clutch three-pointers, as if he were a member of the Magic’s three-point shooting cast.

Pau Gasol also played aggressively, attacking the boards and getting inside, which resulted in 16 points and 10 rebounds.

And, sure, everyone knew Kobe’s approach—bounce back from two horrific shooting nights, produce 32 points, grab seven rebounds, and make eight assists.

By virtue, Phil Jackson acknowledged that Fisher is a man of great character, and instills positive sportsmanship. Indeed, that seems to be Fisher’s forte, along with hitting classic shots.

With Fisher and others coming through, it takes a great weight off of Bryant’s back. In much of the series, he has shown signs of fatigue. So with a killer shooter like Fisher, it can only mean positive implications.

For much of the series, frustration has been a recurrent feeling. Dwight Howard and Bryant, U.S. Olympic teammates, started a trash-talking altercation at mid-court after Howard grabbed Bryant around his chest. But it’s mostly fun and games, as both of them are competitors, seeking the same dream—a title.

But this was Fisher's night on the grand stand, heating up before our very eyes. This morning, I’ll tell you that it’s Fish deep-frying in the Lakers' skillet.


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