Just the phrase ‘zero point four’ means something different to Laker fans than anybody else. Hearing those three simple words brings back flashes of Derek Fisher’s miracle heave in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals between the Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.
Even though most of you probably remember the exact situation, here’s a quick refresher for those who don’t. The series was tied 2-2, and Game 5 was in San Antonio. The Lakers had held a 17-point lead at one point in Game 5, only to see it slip away down the stretch. After Spurs forward Tim Duncan hit a miraculous shot to put the Spurs up by one with just 0.4 seconds on the clock, all hope seemed lost.
What happened next instantly became basketball legend. Fisher received the inbound pass from Gary Payton before flinging the ball at the basket. Miraculously the shot fell, and the Lakers won the game. While Gregg Popovich still swears the clock started late, the record books will forever read Lakers 74, Spurs 73.
Now a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Fisher once again finds himself preparing for a major post-season series with the Spurs. Fisher’s Thunder will be in San Antonio for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals beginning Sunday night. During a recent interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman, Fisher sat down and recollected the shot that turned him into an NBA folk hero.
“It takes me back,” Fisher said. “It was some time ago. A lot happened at that moment, and a lot has happened since then. To think about everything in between, and for me to be sitting here right now, it’s pretty amazing how life works out.”
Even though Fisher is a member of a team that just eliminated the Lakers from the playoffs, this is a moment that no fan will ever forget. On a team that featured Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone, it was Fisher who hit the shot that defined that season.
“Really, at the end of the day, it was Gary Payton’s trust to throw the ball to somebody else other than Kobe or Shaq that really led to the basket. A lot of guys don’t trust other people in those situations.”
The Lakers went on to defeat the Spurs in that series, but ultimately fell to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals. But the ‘Fisher fling’ will go down in history as one of the greatest shots in post-season history.
For those that want more information, I highly recommend reading the entire interview with Fisher. He has some great quotes, and it would be a disservice to the author to post them all here. Be sure to check out the complete article, courtesy of The Oklahoman.