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Derek Fisher's playoff guts can only bring glory for Thunder

The Thunder didn't sign Fisher to play against the Timberwolves in March or against the Kings in April. OKC signed “Old Man Laker” for the playoffs.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 6, 2012

In four games against the Mavs, Fisher made five of eight 3-pointers. Among players with more than three 3-point attempts in these playoffs, only the Clippers' Nick Young (7-of-10) has shot a better percentage from long range.

That's nothing new for Fisher. He's a career 37.3 percent 3-point shooter in the regular season. In the playoffs, that figure rises to 40.5 percent.

Forty-percent 3-point shooting is winning basketball in the playoffs, when every team is some level of good or great and defensive intensity rises.

Know why attack dog James Harden was so effective down the stretch Saturday night? Because the Thunder stuck Fisher in one corner, Durant and Westbrook in the other corner or a wing, and dared Dallas defenders to leave them.

The Mavericks were torn. Fisher had nailed two 3-pointers in the third quarter. Durant nailed two within 81 seconds midway through the fourth quarter.

The Mavs didn't know what to do.

And even though it seemed Harden made every play down the stretch, not so. With 4:05 left in the game and the shot clock winding down and the Thunder up 92-91, Fisher drove the lane and flipped a baby hook shot off the glass and in. The Mavs never got closer than three again.

After the game, Mav coach Rick Carlisle talked about the Thunder's “certain look in their eye, not just that they belong but this could be their time.”

Good quote. You probably read it. But it didn't stop there.

“The addition of Fisher has helped cultivate that in their locker room,” Carlisle.

Fisher is what's known as a pro's pro. A leader in the locker room, dependable on the court, in the most important games of the season. Now we know why the Thunder jumped all over Old Man Laker.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at