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Lakers edge Clippers on buzzer beater, 87-86

Lakers steal a victory from Clippers when Derek Fisher beats the clock on final drive to add to his big shot resume.

December 08, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

He had 0.4 and now he had 0.1.

This might not have been San Antonio and Game 5 of that playoff series in 2004, the Western Conference semifinals.

This was December and the Clippers.

But the Lakers' Derek Fisher, rest assured, will take the driving, banking layup as time ran out, giving them an 87-86 victory against the Clippers on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

It was the sort of drama capable of igniting a Lakers' season relatively void of spirit on the court, almost bordering on malaise at times.

The Lakers had to wait out a video review of the final play, enduring a few tense moments. The Clippers' Blake Griffin stood with the basketball, looking like a little kid who didn't want to go home just yet.

Let it be noted that Fisher scored six points. Quality, not quantity, right?

Fisher's winning shot, after Kobe Bryant was denied the inbounds pass with 3.1 seconds left, went floating over DeAndre Jordan's outstretched arm. So close, yet so agonizingly far.

Said Fisher: "Matt [Barnes] made a judgment call and trusted I'd make the right play with the ball -- not necessarily shoot it, but at least be able to make the right play from there. I obviously quickly just tried to assess the situation once I caught it. …

"I assumed most guys would play me to stop and shoot, so I just wanted to read it, make a little hesitation, and if I go and I could get head and shoulders by him, just keep going to the cup."

The Lakers finished with a flurry of points, outscoring the Clippers, 8-3, in the final 2:45, and the Clippers kids had their usual litany of mistakes late in the game

"It was a grind-it-out game to the end," said Eric Gordon, who led the Clippers with 24 points. "It was a heartbreaker, but we just have to live with it."

Griffin started slowly and picked up momentum in the second half. He finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, recording his 10th consecutive double-double.

Said Griffin, who was playing in his first regular-season Clippers-Lakers game: "They just played real tough. It wasn't anything special that I haven't seen.

"Yeah, I got hit in the face a couple of times. They can get away with it. Some teams have the luxury of playing like that.

"The little mistakes at the end of the game that kill you."

Messy, sloppy, ragged.

Those words didn't apply to only the Clippers, who had a 12-point lead in the third quarter.

Those were the Lakers until the final couple of minutes.

Until then, it was one of those nights. They lost rookie Derrick Caracter because of a sprained left ankle in the first half. Lamar Odom fouled out late in the game and Pau Gasol looked lethargic, making four of 13 shots in 40 minutes.

"We can't ask him to carry that type of load, night in and night out," Fisher said of Gasol. "It's a lot to ask of anyone. We're obviously counting the days to Andrew [Bynum] gets back…. Pau will be OK."

Fortunately for the Lakers, Bryant was Bryant. He finished with 24 points, making big shots in the final minute, and looked generally annoyed with the proceedings when he wasn't having a lively battle with Gordon.

Shannon Brown was a major boost of energy, scoring 16 points and making all four of his three-point attempts, including his own buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter from 47 feet.

"They're good," he said of the Clippers. "They're good."

Rivalry, resumed?

Well, that would assume one had actually been in progress at some point in tight living quarters at Staples Center with the Lakers and the Clippers residing down the hall from one another.

That would be assuming too much.

But a flicker of interest caught hold Wednesday night and was officially ignited.

At least until Fisher put it out.

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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