Fisher Resurrects Himself, Lakers In Finals

Derek Fisher isn’t as fast as he used to be, he gets beat more on defense. His shot isn’t as consistent.

But he has a veteran presence the Lakers needed in overtime of game two, and he provided it with a key steal of a J.J. Redick pass that he then dribbled the length of the court and drew a foul on Hedo Turkoglu in a play that helped seal the Lakers win and a 2-0 series lead.

“I read J.J.’s eyes and knew he was going to make that pass back to Howard behind him,” Fisher said. “You know, I’ve made that play myself a couple times.”

Veteran wisdom — you need that to win a title. Phil Jackson knows that, which is why never wavered in his support of Derek Fisher.  Even when the Lakers nation was calling for Fisher’s head — or at least his benching — against Houston, he stuck with his veteran point guard. Fisher had been struggling to stop Aaron Brooks and suffered through a 15 for 57 shooting stretch. His minutes were cut back as Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown got more

But Jackson defended Fisher at every turn and kept him starting and playing. Sunday night, that faith was rewarded. Big time.

On the first play of overtime Fisher stripped the ball out of Dwight Howard’s hands as he went up for a sure dunk, a play that set the tone for the extra period. Overall, Fisher in the Finals is 8 of 17 from the floor — and he has just two turnovers.

That play has earned Fisher minutes — 41 minutes in game two. Jackson said that is by design.

"Derek has been playing 24 to 28 minutes during the course of the season," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, "so that he could have this type of minutes during the playoffs. We know how valuable he is just because of his heady play out there and his ability to organize our game and keep everything in flow."

While Orlando decided it was better to just go without a point guard for the final nine minutes of play rather than put Rafer Alston or Jameer Nelson out there, the Lakers had Fisher. They had the steadying influence of the redeemed veteran.

And they have the 2-0 series lead.

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