When 0.4 Is Possible

Photo via Silver Screen and Roll
Photo via Silver Screen and Roll

Arguably the most clutch shot in Los Angeles Lakers’ history is former point guard Derek Fisher’s buzzer-beater in Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs.

After falling down 0-2 in San Antonio, the Lakers won games three and four at home in Staples Center to even the series at 2-2, so, the pressure of winning Game 5 was tremendous as a Game 6 in Los Angeles would be come a close-out opportunity, should the Lakers win.

Trailing 71-70, under 30 seconds remaining, Kobe Bryant made a pull-up jumper with 11.5 seconds on the clock to give the Lakers a 72-71 lead.

Then, with 5.4 seconds remaining and the Spurs with possession, Manu Ginobili inbounded the ball to Tim Duncan at the right elbow. Duncan could not get the ball back to Ginobili so he took two dribbles towards the top of the arc and made a fadeaway jumper, falling down, over Shaquille O’Neal with 0.4 seconds left.

The entire Lakers’ team was stunned as their body language and facial expressions conveyed the game was over and they had just lost.

Coach Phil Jackson called a timeout to set up one final play to give the Lakers a chance to win the game.

Everyone knew the ball was going to Bryant.

Gary Payton was inbounding the ball for the Lakers on the sideline opposite the team benches.

As he received the ball from the referee, Bryant made his attempt to get open going away from the basket and was double-teamed.

He was not getting the ball.

Payton threw the ball into Fisher who caught it about five feet away from the left elbow.

Fisher, with Ginobili guarding, turned over his right shoulder, shot the ball and sank it, nothing but net.

He quickly ran to the locker room with his right hand up, pointing up towards the rafters.

The referees reviewed the play and confirmed Fisher got the shot off in time.

The Lakers stole Game 5 in San Antonio, 74-73, and took a 3-2 series lead.

That day, Derek Fisher made 0.4 possible.