Fisher saves Lakers with late 3-pointer

Friday, June 12, 2009
Lakers guard Derek Fisher shoots a 3-point shot over Orlando's Jameer Nelson during the fourth quarter Thursday in Orlando, Fla. Fisher's shot tied the game and sent it to overtime. (JOHN BAZEMORE ~ Associated Press)

Los Angeles is one win away from winning the NBA title.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Kobe Bryant is one win from an NBA title to call his own.

Derek Fisher got him there.

Fisher forced overtime with a 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left in regulation and then drilled another one with 31.3 seconds to go in overtime as the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Orlando Magic 99-91 in Game 4 on Thursday night to open a 3-1 lead in the NBA finals.

It was the first time since 1984, when Magic Johnson's Lakers and Larry Bird's Celtics hooked up, that two games in a finals have gone to overtime.

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant celebrates the Lakers' 99-91 overtime win over the Orlando Magic in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals Friday, June 12, 2009, in Orlando, Fla. The Lakers take a 3-1 lead in the series. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

When the clock expired, Bryant, trying to win his first championship without Shaquille O'Neal, looked at Tiger Woods and wiped sweat from his brow in relief. Fisher, who has bailed out the Lakers in plenty of big games before, thrust both arms in the air in triumph.

The Lakers can wrap up their 15th title Sunday night in Game 5.

Bryant finished with 32 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Trevor Ariza and Pau Gasol each had 16 for Los Angeles, which came back from a 12-point halftime deficit. Ariza had 13 of the Lakers' 30 points in the third quarter.

The Lakers are 7-0 following a loss in this postseason.

Unless they can force a Game 6, the Magic will remember this as another finals game that got away.

Dwight Howard was magnificent everywhere but at the free-throw line. Orlando's superman of a center had 16 points, 21 rebounds and a finals-record nine blocks. But he made just 6 of 14 foul shots, and it was his two crucial misses with 11.1 seconds to go in regulation that doomed the Magic.

Fisher, who has made a career of hitting memorable shots in clutch situations, pulled up and without hesitating dropped a 3-pointer over Orlando's Jameer Nelson with 4.6 seconds left to tie it 87-87.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: