Los Angeles Lakers survive Los Angeles Clippers on Derek Fisher's buzzer-beater
By AP FeedFoxSports
Clock ticking down, Derek Fisher has the ball, and he stops to launch a perimeter shot. It's a scenario the 36-year-old has executed to perfection over the years in the playoffs.
This time, Fisher did something different.
The guy who doesn't shoot a high percentage inside hit a layup on the left side at the buzzer to give the Los Angeles Lakers an 87-86 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night after the two-time defending NBA champions trailed most of the second half.
"I assumed most guys would play me to stop and shoot so I just wanted to try and leave a little hesitation in it," Fisher said.
Kobe Bryant scored 24 points, Shannon Brown added 16 and Pau Gasol had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who ended a three-game road losing streak as the visiting team in their own building.
"Yeah!" Bryant said he was thinking as the ball went in. "He just had the lane and took it."
Eric Gordon scored 24 points, Blake Griffin had 16 points and 11 rebounds, Eric Bledsoe had 11 points and DeAndre Jordan 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who blew a 12-point lead in the third quarter.
"Hopefully, it's a learning experience to us," Gordon said. "We lose basically on turnovers. In crunch time, we made a couple of bad plays and that is what gave them a chance."
Fisher dribbled into the paint and scored over Jordan, capping a wild final 41 seconds.
"My fingertip hit it. I just wasn't up high enough," Jordan said.
Fisher added, "Had his fingernails been longer, he probably would have got to it."
Bryant's fast-break running jumper drew the Lakers to 84-83 and his 19-footer put them ahead by one with 22 seconds to go.
The Lakers scored on two consecutive turnovers by Gordon before he found Jordan in the paint for a dunk that put the Clippers in front 86-85 with 15 seconds left.
But the Clippers were denied their sixth win of the season when Fisher, the wily clutch shooter in so many NBA finals, found his way into the paint for the winning basket in the first meeting of the season between the Staples Center co-tenants.
"It was a tough shot," Bledsoe said. "That's what he's there for. He has been doing it for years for them."
Lamar Odom finished with eight points before fouling out with 1:14 to play.
The Clippers played without Chris Kaman and Randy Foye. Baron Davis came off the bench despite a bad left hamstring. The Lakers were without Andrew Bynum, who is expected to return during the remainder of their seven-game road trip.
Griffin wasn't hanging his head after the loss.
"It says we're not going to back down from anybody," he said. "I'm confident with our team and with our talent."
Bryant scored the Lakers' first five points of the third before the Clippers took over.
They used a 23-8 run to take a 66-54 lead, with Griffin showing off a variety of moves, including a jump hook and a fast-break dunk. The Lakers repeatedly missed from 3-point range, with their only success a 3 by Bryant from 26 feet that drew ahhs from the crowd.
With the Lakers' offense in oblivion, Brown rescued them by scoring their final 11 points. Nine of those came on 3-pointers, including a heave from behind the half-court line at the buzzer that sailed cleanly into the net and left them trailing 71-65.
With Odom guarding him, Griffin had a couple of highlight dunks in the first half, when he was limited to four points and five rebounds at a time when he usually has double-digit points and rebounds.
The teams played evenly in the first half, when the Lakers' largest lead was eight before the Clippers led 43-41 at the break. The Clippers didn't take their first lead until 25 seconds were left in the second quarter when Bledsoe hit a pair of free throws to cap a 7-0 run that ended the half.
Notes: Lakers F Derrick Caracter sprained his left ankle in the first quarter and didn't return. ... Clippers F Brian Cook sat out the final game of his two-game suspension for a flagrant foul against Portland on Sunday. ... Gordon extended his streak of scoring 20 or more points to a career-high 10 games. ... The crowd of 19,614 was the Clippers' first sellout of the season. ... Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley sat courtside.