Phil Jackson stuck with Derek Fisher even when it looked like he was just about out of gas early in the playoffs. It looks like that decision has paid off.
Fisher’s 3-pointer with 4.6 left in regulation forced overtime, and he added another with 30 seconds remaining in overtime to help the Lakers to a 99-91 win.
The Magic controlled the first half behind ferocious play from Dwight Howard, who finished the game with an NBA record nine blocks.
Game 4 was back and forth all night. Trevor Ariza exploded for 13 points in the third quarter to help the Lakers overcome a 12 point deficit. The Magic then rallied back in front late in the game, but Dwight Howard’s missed free throws with 11 seconds left set up Fisher’s game-tying shot.
The series had been very peaceful, but things got heated tonight.
Kobe tied up Dwight in the third quarter then appeared to yell “shut the f— up and play” at Howard. The two continued jawing for a bit and no technicals were called.
Mickael Pietrus pushed Pau Gasol from behind as Gasol dunked to seal the win in overtime. The two went at each other briefly and double technicals were called. Pietrus was also assessed a flagrant-1 before the game ended without incident.
I’ve never seen Howard played as hard as he did tonight. His hustle and effort sparked the Magic early, and he dominated the game despite having only two baskets in the first half. He got frustrated when he didn’t get many touches in the second half despite being very, very, very open.
Howard committed seven turnovers and shot just 6-14 from the line, tainting his 16 point-21 rebound night.
Kobe forced shots all night. He scored 32 points on 31 shots against tough defense by Mickael Pietrus.
Tonight’s game was fun to watch. I found myself pulling for the Magic just to make this series more interesting. Tonight’s loss is a setback the Magic will be unable to overcome.
Stay tuned for highlights and postgame reaction.