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Derek Fisher makes the most of open shots

When other players are guarded, the veteran point guard has connected recently.

February 25, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

OKLAHOMA CITY — Kobe Bryant rings up the stats that crawl across the cable-TV tickers all night long, Pau Gasol has been a triple-double threat lately, and Lamar Odom has been scoring and rebounding with abandon.

It doesn't leave much room in the box score for Derek Fisher, but he still manages to get in his points.

"I try to, man," he said, smiling.

Fisher has been on a late-game roll, adding a pair of jump shots Tuesday that helped the Lakers turn a wobbly lead into a 107-93 victory over Oklahoma City.

Bryant had 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, but Fisher hit from 22 feet and then from 19 feet under a minute later to turn a seven-point edge into a 100-89 lead with 2:44 to play.

"By that point in the game, Kobe and Pau and Lamar had killed them so much, that they had to leave somebody open," said Fisher, who finished with 12 points. "I've been the beneficiary of some good ball movement and those three guys have just been phenomenal, so somebody has to be open and it's been me a few times lately."

Last Friday, Fisher's three-pointer with 14.6 seconds left in regulation forced overtime against New Orleans, a game the Lakers eventually won.

He also made a three-pointer with 1:44 left to play Sunday against Minnesota, giving the Lakers a late boost in a game where they needed every point.

"It takes a true professional to not necessarily get touches all night long but then step up at a key moment and knock down a key shot," Bryant said. "That's tough to do."

Best record?

The Lakers (47-10) want to own the best record in the league to secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

There's also that other motivating factor: cash.

Players on the team with the top record will receive about $50,000 each from the league as part of the NBA's annual playoff pool.

"There's some money sitting on the table, and these guys are always good for that," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said wryly.

Boston is 46-12 and Cleveland is 44-11.

Not the Clippers

Jackson was asked by an Oklahoma City reporter if the young, athletic Thunder reminded him of a team he used to coach.

"I'm not going to say the Bulls because I'm not going to compare them to that," Jackson said. "But what I don't want to see them remind me of is the Clippers, who have a lot of draft picks over the years and then you get all these young kids together and they can't function together."

One of the young members of the Thunder is rookie point guard Russell Westbrook, the fourth pick in the 2008 draft after his sophomore season at UCLA.

"He looks like an exceptionally gifted athlete," Jackson said. "His shooting has been something that people have said in the past he still has to work on. Obviously, that takes time, but with his speed, quickness, defensive abilities, he should be a really good player."

Westbrook didn't shoot too well against the Lakers, making only five of 13 shots on the way to 14 points.


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