Just to make things interesting, the Blazers answered with a quick 3, but our fearless cold-blooded Captain Fish hit a clutch jumper of his own to put us up for good, 84-80, with ten seconds left. The Lakers are guaranteed to win the season series over Portland for only the second time in eighteen years! Knowing that they can beat them at home and in the Rose Garden is a great confidence booster, should the Lakers meet them at some point in the playoffs. Portland definitely had control for most of the game, but LA was scrappy and came up clutch in the end like they have so many times before.
It might be a familiar tale, the deadly strike of the Black Mamba and the little Fish that always comes up big when he is needed most, but it never gets old. Kobe and Derek (as well as their teammates) showed tenacity and heart; championship teams never give up until the last buzzer sounds and the backboard flashes red. Fish was in foul trouble and struggled offensively, but came up with big defensive plays down the stretch and the clinching jumper to lead his team to victory.
There isn’t much I can say about Kobe Bryant that hasn’t been said before both by me and almost everyone else… his competitive nature and will to win is unmatched, and there is no one in the NBA with a deadlier shot in the clutch. It was a really exciting come-from-behind victory, and one of my favorites of the season.
While buzzer beaters are fun and exciting, if not more stress-inducing, I like close games with multiple clutch opportunities. No matter what kind of game Fisher and Bryant are having, I have the utmost confidence that they both can, will, and do come through in the end when Lakers Nation needs them the most.