Remember when Derek Fisher hit one of the most cold-blooded shots in basketball history?
The 2003-04 NBA season is not remembered fondly by Los Angeles Lakers fans. The Lakers opened that year having acquired two future Hall-of-Famers in Gary Payton and Karl Malone to pair with incumbent stars, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
With the 2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals locked at 2-2, the Lakers were well and truly on the ropes at AT&T Center in Game 5. With the shocking 74-73 victory in 2004, the Lakers pulled ahead 3-2 in their second-round series — ultimately closing it out in six.
All looked to be over for the Lakers after Tim Duncan sunk a miracle running jumper over Shaq from the top of the key to put the Spurs up 73-72 with 0.4 left on the clock. Then cometh the moment, as Phil called the timeout, and sent Gary Payton to inbound to Fisher.
As Bryant drew two defenders beyond the three-point line, Fisher caught the inbounds pass from Payton and, in one motion, heaved a shot just before the buzzer. The prayer went in, stunning the home crowd and sending the Lakers sprinting to the locker room with a 74-73 win.
“One lucky shot deserves another,” said Shaq referring to Derek Fisher’s game-winner.
After the game, Fisher said: “I just wanted to get out of there and not give them an opportunity to think that we didn’t believe it went in.”
The Lakers would go on to win the series and advance past Kevin Garnett’s Minnesota Timberwolves in the Western Conference Finals but would later lose the finals vs Detroit Pistons.