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OKC Thunder: Derek Fisher comes through in the clutch

Fisher played the entire fourth quarter of Sunday night's 103-96 victory over Phoenix.
by Anthony Slater Published: November 3, 2013

As of Sunday morning, the Thunder had two healthy point guards on its roster.

By Sunday night, coach Scott Brooks had three point guards in his crunchtime lineup.

The big news in between, obviously, surrounds the sudden and stunning return of Russell Westbrook.

But beyond that, an interesting rotational subplot unfolded.

Derek Fisher played the entire fourth quarter of Sunday night's 103-96 win over the Suns.

And he played a majority of those minutes at small forward, in the backcourt with Westbrook and Reggie Jackson, alongside Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.

It's about as small as we've ever seen Brooks go. And it worked, in part, because of the strong and intelligent play of Fisher, who led the team with a plus/minus of plus-14 in his 20 minutes.

“I say it a lot and I'm sure you guys get tired of hearing (it),” Brooks said of his affection for Fisher. “So you guys should just ask the other 13 players what they think about Derek Fisher.”

No need on this night. No one had to lament about the 39-year-old's “intangibles.” Because down the stretch, his clutch play said plenty.

With six minutes left, he ripped Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe on a drive and fed Jackson for an easy assist.

Minutes later, he floated in two of the biggest shots of the game, both on surprisingly nifty drives, blowing past Phoenix forward Marcus Morris.

“Some teams, when we play with certain lineups, like to put their bigger guy on me, assuming that I'm not going to be a primary ballhandler,” Fisher explained. “So I knew on those kick out passes, they'd have a bigger guy trying to close back out and it would be basically impossible for them to stick with me in that situation.”

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by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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