During a late timeout in Game 6 on Friday, Scott Brooks greeted veteran reserve guard Derek Fisher at the bench area by grabbing his face and telling the 38-year-old veteran just how much his performance meant to the Thunder coach.
“What I saw tonight was some of the most inspiring play I've ever seen in all my playing time and in coaching,” Brooks said. “The guy laid everything on the line. He was probably one of the best players in the game.”
Fisher guarded ex-teammate James Harden virtually the entire fourth quarter, holding the Rockets star to six points and 2-of-6 shooting. Fisher also scored eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. Fisher's steal off Harden led to a Kevin Durant dunk that gave the Thunder a 94-84 lead midway through the quarter. Then Fisher's 3-pointer made it 97-84 with 5:26 left.
Brooks said Fisher was forcing Harden to “make tough shots and making him make tough decisions, and for him to do that every single play down the court is a testament to his character.”
Brooks did not substitute in the fourth quarter Friday night. He stuck with Durant, Fisher, Reggie Jackson, Nick Collison and Kevin Martin the entire 12 minutes.
The Rockets scored just 17 fourth-quarter points, and five of those came in the final minute, when the game was over.
“The biggest thing was, every pass was contested, every shot was contested and every catch was felt by our guys,” Brooks said. “Our guys got into them. I told them at the third-quarter break that if your man doesn't feel you, you're not doing your job and you've disappointed your teammates.”