Veteran guard Derek Fisher has upped his play considerably in the postseason compared to the regular season.
The 38-year-old Fisher averaged 4.1 points, shot 33.3 percent from the field and 35.1 percent from 3-point range in the regular season. So far this postseason, he has averaged 9.5 points, shot 54.3 percent from the floor and 61.3 percent on 3-pointers.
Q: You seem more comfortable and confident as the playoffs go on. Do you feel that as well, especially on the offensive end?
Fisher: “As you continue to spend time on and off the court with your teammates, you learn each other's strengths, tendencies and weaknesses. You try to find ways to keep getting better, keep helping the team. That's what I'm trying to do right now, especially with us being a man down (Russell Westbrook sidelined). We all kind of have to pick it up.”
Talk about defending Memphis point guard Mike Conley. He obviously made a huge difference in Game 2 with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. What do you guys have to do differently against him?
“I think he was more assertive and more aggressive in Game 2 compared Game 1. I thought in the first game we were better at the point of the screen in terms of impacting the ball and not allowing penetration. I thought the second game they were better in how they spaced the floor, how they kind of manipulated our defense to take advantage of some things. So as much as the focus is about Gasol and Randolph, we have to respect the fact that Mike Conley makes them go. We have to defend him that way and try to cut into his production.”
How do you do that?
“They're one of the best teams in the league at scoring off of turnovers. We turned the basketball over too many times in Game 2. It's tough to turn the ball over 20 times in the playoffs and expect to win, and that's what we did. On the road, you have to be even more careful with the basketball. And so that's something in order to impact not just Mike Conley, but all of their perimeter players, we have to keep from turning the basketball over and give ourselves a chance to get back and get our defense set.”
How much does Reggie Jackson being in attack mode help your offense?
“It's huge. Reggie is talented in that regard with his ability to shoot above the rim as well as shoot the floaters and getting into the lane. He's a great passer out to our shooters so we have to use that part of our offense and use him as a strength, but that starts with spacing the floor properly and it kind if goes into how we advance up the court and how we flow into transition.”
How do you generate fast-break points against a team that likes to play a half-court game?
“We have to continue to defend. They hurt us on the offensive glass in the second game and that's one of the keys to getting out in transition is playing good defense, securing the rebound.”
How do you narrow your focus to just Game 3 and not look at it through too wide of a lens?
“It's just making the conscience decision to do so. It's easy for the mind to wander. It's easy to worry about the past and be concerned about what might happen in the future. It's just about us staying in the moment and realize there isn't anything we can control right now other than the game on Saturday. We can't get back the first two games and Game 4 doesn't exist at this point.”
BY JOHN ROHDE