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OKC Thunder: Derek Fisher provides playoff spark

Veteran guard had 11 points in Thunder's Game 2 victory over Dallas.
By John Rohde, Staff Writer, Published: May 1, 2012

“That's what this business is about, mental toughness,” Fisher said. “You could measure with the width of a fingernail the differences in terms of physical play, the athleticism and strength and guys' abilities to do great things out there on the floor. What separates good from great is mental.”

Last season, the Mavs breezed through the playoffs with a 16-5 record en route to their first crown.

“These guys we're facing are the defending champions,” Fisher said. “They're not going to allow anything to happen. We're going to have to beat this team and they've showed in these first two games that although they're seeded seventh, it has nothing to do with their approach. They expect to win. We're going to have to be prepared to go fight even harder in order to win again in Dallas.”

No active player has more NBA championship rings than Fisher and former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Fisher can well relate to the Mavericks' mindset against the Thunder.

“To win a championship at this level, you have to fight through everything,” Fisher explained. “You have to win four series and in the course of winning 16 games, you've been through all the highs and lows. You've been ahead by 15, came back and maybe won a game. You've been down by 15, had to come back and win a game. More than likely, you've had to win in another team's building. Every scenario you've faced when you've won a championship, so there isn't anything that's surprising or that catches you off-guard when you've won a title.

“I think the Mavericks have shown great composure and poise in these first two games, being able to have opportunities to win down the stretch (losing 99-98 and 102-99). What we have to now prepare ourselves to do is on Thursday night when we get to Dallas, we have to be willing to play the game as though we expect to win, to fight for everything on the floor.”