Go ahead and call him old and slow.
At 37, Derek Fisher will show you he can still be the master of time.
Eight years after 0.4, there is now 3.1.
The latter figure represents how many seconds were left Monday night at Staples Center when Fisher made the latest in a series of game-winning shots that have solidified the veteran guard as one of the most clutch Lakers in franchise history.
The Dallas Mavericks were so unconcerned about Fisher in the final seconds that they left him open so that they could double-team Kobe Bryant.
Bryant waited for the Mavericks’ Jason Terry to drift far enough away from Fisher that he couldn’t get back to defend the Lakers point guard. Bryant then passed to Fisher, whose shot gave the Lakers a 73-70 victory over the team that had swept them out of the playoffs last season.
“I don’t think he knew I was going to shoot it,” Fisher said of Bryant, “but he just trusted me to make the right play at that point.”
It’s always a good idea to have faith in a player who has made a variety of big shots, the most momentous being his winning jumper with four-tenths of a second left against San Antonio in Game 5 of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals.
“I mean, this is what I do,” said Fisher, who finished with 13 points, three steals and two assists. “When opportunities like that present themselves, I’m confident in my abilities to step up and make the right play, whether it’s making a shot or making a read to create something for someone else.”
Fisher was productive throughout a fourth quarter in which he had nine points and two steals, an impressive haul for a player who had often been relegated to the bench in the final minutes of games until point guard Steve Blake was sidelined last week by a cartilage injury.
Fisher is now shouldering a heavier workload, often on the floor for most of the fourth quarter. He was the catalyst during a late 10-0 run against the Mavericks that transformed a three-point deficit into a 66-59 Lakers lead, scoring six points and stealing the ball from Jason Kidd before going in for a layup.
“Oh, man, he was great, especially down the stretch,” Lakers center Andrew Bynum said.
He was never bigger than in the final seconds. Not that anyone on his team was surprised that the oldest Laker was capable of such things.
“He’s been doing it his whole career,” Bryant said.