For three quarters, Kevin Martin made life miserable for the Thunder on Sunday night, showing Oklahoma City exactly what it used to have and, in many ways, what it now misses.
He splashed in 3-pointers.
He worked his way to the foul line.
He scored in bunches.
As the game entered the final period, Martin had poured in 22 points for Minnesota, making six of his 12 shot attempts. He was 4-for-7 from 3-point range and 6-for-6 from the free throw line.
But then Thunder coach Scott Brooks unleashed his bulldog.
“I told him, ‘No (double teams). No switches. You're guarding him. I don't care where he goes, you're guarding him.'”
Derek Fisher got the message.
And when he latched himself onto Martin, Fisher disrupted Minnesota's entire offense, one that had been torching the Thunder for the better part of the previous 36 minutes.
The final score, a 113-103 Thunder win, was a reflection of the defensive effort Fisher put forth to help turn the tide.
Fisher locked himself to Martin and chased him through screens. He bodied up to the Thunder's former sixth man and cut off his air space.
“I thought it was important for us to be able to be physical with him and make a difference but not put him and their team on the free throw line,” Fisher said. “You can feel when you're making a difference, and I felt like I was making it as difficult as possible for him to score.”