SAN ANTONIO, May 13 (Ticker) -- Tim Duncan made an impossible shot. Derek Fisher 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
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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 year ago.

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 said.

Through a series of false starts and timeouts, the Spurs were blanketing superstars O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. Gary Payton was 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 the clock.

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 fourth quarter.

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.

Tony Parker, 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 for 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 to slice it to 65-63 with 7:21 remaining.