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NBA Playoffs Greatest Games: When Derek Fisher Buried The Spurs In 0.4 Seconds

NBA Playoffs Greatest Games: When Derek Fisher Buried The Spurs In 0.4 Seconds

The 2003-04 NBA season was an interesting one, to say the least. The most interesting story all season long belonged to the Los Angeles Lakers.

First, the NBA world was shocked to learn about sexual assault charges that were brought against one of the game's biggest stars, Kobe Bryant. This occurred over the summer, before the start of the season, and the news would be followed for the remainder of the season.

Then, the Lakers brought in two aging stars in Karl Malone and Gary Payton. After winning three consecutive titles, the Lakers lost to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2003 NBA playoffs.

The Lakers were looking to rebound from their failures and get back to their championship ways. Would the Kobe distraction mess up the Lakers' plans?


The 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers had some problems during the regular season. The Kobe case was an eyesore, but Kobe's sometimes selfish play on the court truly angered Shaquille O'Neal.

The Lakers also had to get used to playing with the additional two legends. There were some chemistry issues early on during the season.

Even with these problems, the Lakers still finished with a 56-26 record, good enough for the second seed in the Western Conference. In the playoffs, the Lakers seemed to come together, and they defeated their opening-round opponent, the Houston Rockets, 4-1.


The Los Angeles Lakers vs. The San Antonio Spurs

The Lakers would play the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in the previous year, in the Semifinals. This team was the San Antonio Spurs.

The Spurs took the first two games in the series, which were played in San Antonio. It looked like the Spurs were on their way to an easy series victory.

The Lakers would bounce back, winning the next two games in Los Angeles. This set up a crucial Game 5 in San Antonio.

Game 5 would be a wild one. The Lakers took control of the game early on and they looked to be in for an easy win.

With 3:48 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Lakers held a 61-45 lead. The crowd in San Antonio was quiet... This would soon change.

The Spurs took a 69-68 lead with 2:37 seconds remaining in the game. The crowd was in a frenzy. They knew they were in store for an incredible finish.

The Spurs held on to the lead at 71-70 with 15 seconds left in the game. The Lakers had the ball, and they were looking for an answer.

The Lakers would answer as Kobe Bryant hit a jumper with 11.5 seconds remaining. Kobe's shot gave the Lakers a 72-71 lead.

This is where things really got interesting. With .04 seconds remaining, Tim Duncan made an incredible leaning shot with Shaquille O'Neal all over him. Duncan fell to the ground as the shot fell through the hoop.

Doc Rivers, who was one of the commentators for ABC, said this after Duncan's shot:

“Gregg Popovich had to be thinking right now, 'my goodness, we've lost to the Lakers and now we got to go out to LA down 3-2.' Now they're up 3-2'.”

It wasn't odd that Rivers essentially said the game was over. But there was still .04 seconds remaining in the game.

Duncan's made basket was one of the greatest shots in NBA playoff history. The only thing that could out due it would be an even more incredible shot with .04 seconds left in the game.

The Lakers wanted to get the ball into Kobe, but the Spurs guarded him well. The referee started the five-second count. The Lakers needed to get the ball in before they were hit with a violation.

Gary Payton threw the ball to Derek Fisher. This is where the incredible happened.

Fisher caught the ball and shot it up as he was fading away. The ball went through the hoop, and Fisher successfully beat the buzzer.

The Los Angeles Lakers won Game 5 73-72 and, more importantly, they took a 3-2 series lead. Shaq had a hilarious response to Duncan and Fisher's shot after the game.

(via Ballislife):

“One lucky shot deserves another.” - Shaq

The Lakers would go on to make the NBA Finals but ultimately lost in five games to the Detroit Pistons. But Derek Fisher's shot to beat the buzzer lives on as one of the greatest shots in NBA playoff history.

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