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Spurs are on the verge of beating Lakers too

A victory tonight gives them four titles since 1999, but Horry and Fisher have mixed feelings.

June 14, 2007|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

CLEVELAND — With the San Antonio Spurs on the verge of establishing themselves as the NBA's next dynasty, the question became a natural one.

Who had the more memorable run in the last 10 years, the Lakers or the Spurs?

Robert Horry and Derek Fisher, members of the Lakers when they won championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002, each weighed in on the topic with somewhat surprising answers.

They had their moments to savor as Lakers -- Horry with one big shot seemingly topping another in Lakers playoff lore, and Fisher with his stunning "0.4" fadeaway that helped stop the Spurs from another potentially long playoff run in 2004 -- but they each tilted toward the Spurs because of a longer string of successes.

Horry, now a reserve forward for the Spurs, was in Cleveland for obvious reasons, and Fisher, a starting guard for Utah, was present for a players association meeting.

Fisher thought the Spurs would overtake the Lakers on the list of dynasties if they turn a 3-0 NBA Finals lead over Cleveland into their fourth title since 1999, and their third in the last five years.

Game 4 is tonight in Cleveland. No NBA team has won a series after being down 3-0.

"I hate to say it, but they are probably surpassing us, to be honest," Fisher said. "We had that great four- or five-year period. You have to kind of step in the Bulls, Celtics and Lakers teams of the '80s that dominated a 10-year period. Teams that have been able to sustain that excellence over a long period of time, they've become the class in this league, no question about it."

Horry, who also won two titles in Houston, was a little more on the fence, but acknowledged that the Spurs' run was more impressive "to a certain degree."

"Each thing is remarkable in its own sense," Horry said. "To win three in a row is huge. To win like the Spurs have done for eight years ... is pretty remarkable. It's two different things, two different things to look at it."

Horry, 36, left the Lakers in 2003 to sign with the Spurs as a free agent. He could win a seventh championship ring as early as tonight, which would vault him past Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

"In my eyes, a dynasty is a team that dominates for 10 years," Horry said. "And of those 10 years you have to win like five or six championships. So the Spurs haven't done it yet."

Of course, Lakers fans will always wonder how many more championships the Lakers would have won if they had managed to keep all their pieces together.

Fisher, 32, left in 2004 to sign with Golden State as a free agent and was traded two years later to Utah, which lost to the Spurs in this year's Western Conference finals.

He acknowledged feeling a stream of emotions when he arrived in Cleveland to watch Game 3, saying it was the first time he had been in a city where the Finals were going on and he was not a participant.

"I was driving up in the cab [Tuesday] night and you see the big gold trophy on the corner, the signs. I could feel my jaw getting a little tight and there was some tension there," he said. "I had to remind myself how bad I wanted to be here. And even though I'm 11 years down and three championships in, my want to be a champion again hasn't diminished. I'm getting emotional now talking about it."

Fisher said he valued the past that much more.

"You see how hard it is to get to this point," he said. "They don't sell [these trophies] on the corner. You see a lot of the same teams year after year. The Spurs, the Lakers and the Bulls. Over the last 20 years that's all you can talk about. There is really not any other team that can enter that conversation any more over the last 20 years. If you think of it from that regard, it just makes you appreciate your time in L.A. even more."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Dueling dynasties

Since 1999, the San Antonio Spurs and the Lakers have met five times in the Western Conference playoffs:

*--* SEASON ROUND RESULT PLAYOFF FINISH 1999 Conference semifinals Spurs, 4-0 Spurs won NBA title 2000-01 Conference finals Lakers, 4-0 Lakers won NBA title 2001-02 Conference semifinals Lakers, 4-1 Lakers won NBA title 2002-03 Conference semifinals Spurs, 4-2 Spurs won NBA title 2003-04 Conference semifinals Lakers, 4-2 Lakers lost in Finals

*--*

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Source: NBA Los Angeles Times

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