L.A. Lakers 74, San Antonio 73
SAN ANTONIO, May 13 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan
made an impossible shot.
answered with an improbable one.
Fisher's remarkable fadeaway jumper at the buzzer gave the Los
Angeles Lakers a 74-73 victory over the San Antonio Spurs that
may have tilted the NBA's balance of power back in their favor.
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Photos: Fish saves L.A.
The Lakers' Derek Fisher shoots the game-winning shot over San Antonio's Manu Ginobili.
D. Clarke Evans
In a highly anticipated showdown of the last five champions, the
Lakers stole the pivotal fifth game of the Western Conference
semifinals, taking a 3-2 lead. They are one win from securing
the series and dethroning the Spurs, who did the same to them a
However, the Lakers seemed light years from doing that after
Duncan made perhaps the greatest shot of his stellar career - a
fadeaway 20-footer off the dribble over 7-1 Shaquille O'Neal
with 0.4 seconds left that gave the Spurs a 73-72 lead and threw
the SBC Center into bedlam.
"I couldn't believe it went in," Duncan said. "They played the
dribble handoff great. ... I let it go as high as I could,
knowing that Shaq was there."
"You should have seen Duncan's face when his went in," Lakers
forward Karl Malone
Through a series of false starts and timeouts, the Spurs were
blanketing superstars O'Neal and Kobe Bryant
. Gary Payton
forced to inbound to Fisher, the only Laker on the floor not
ticketed for the Hall of Fame.
"Fish was the beneficiary of everybody focusing on Kobe," Lakers
coach Phil Jackson said.
The eight-year veteran came to the pass and in one motion turned
and fired a jumper just before the buzzer over Manu Ginobili
that splashed through, stunning the Spurs and the sellout crowd
of 18,797 into silence.
"For all the kids out there possibly watching this game, you
dream about that growing up, being in that position and being
able to make the shot," Fisher said.
"Unfortunate, incredible," Duncan said. "There's not much you
can say about it."
Although San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said he believed the
clock started a click late, replays showed Fisher got off the
shot in time. He sprinted off the court but stopped in the
runway to watch the shot on a monitor.
"I normally have point-four (seconds) to turn and shoot, so I
was halfway into my shot as I was catching the ball," said
Fisher, who scored eight points and played terrific defense.
"That's the cruelest loss I've ever been involved with," said
Popovich, whose team is filing a protest about the starting of
Despite blowing a 16-point third-quarter lead and scoring just
12 points in the final period, the Lakers will have a chance to
close out the series at home Saturday. Los Angeles could become
just the eighth team in NBA history to win a best-of-seven
series after losing the first two games.
"I don't know how they are going to react. They are a tough
team," Payton said. "But they have to come to our place now,
down 3-2, and they never had to do that before."
"I think the slogan is you win or go home," Duncan said. "We
want to win and come home (for Game 7)."
Bryant scored 22 points, including a jumper with 11 seconds left
that gave the Lakers a 72-71 lead and set the stage for Duncan,
who had 21 points and 21 rebounds as he came alive in the
Duncan made two free throws, a banker from the wing and another
remarkable shot - a double-pump, straightaway 20-foot bank shot
as he allowed O'Neal to fly by, giving San Antonio a 69-68 lead
with 2:43 left.
, who scored 15 points, added a layup before O'Neal
threw in a hook at the 1:56 mark. O'Neal was limited to 11
points and 11 rebounds.
Both teams got timely lifts from their "Dev" - Devean George
the Lakers and Devin Brown
for the Spurs. George made four
3-pointers and scored 16 points, helping LA build its lead.
Brown scored 11 points and played excellent defense on Bryant.
George made three 3-pointers and a flying dunk in a 17-4 run
that gave the Lakers their largest lead at 59-43 with 4:58 left
in the third period. Brown gave the Spurs a spark with a couple
of baskets, including a 3-pointer that closed the quarter and
cut the deficit to 62-53.
"I thought Devin's energy was the turning point," Duncan said.
O'Neal's three-point play made it 65-55 before Parker sank a
jumper and 3-pointer around a 3-pointer by Hedo Turkoglu
slice it to 65-63 with 7:21 remaining.