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Derek Fisher Propels Lakers to 2-1 Series Lead Over Celtics

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Derek Fisher is too old and too slow. That may be, but he was the reason the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 91-84 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Boston for the 2-1 series lead.

“I love this game,” an emotional Fisher told ABC sideline reporter Doris Burke after the game. “I love this team. I love what I do.”

And what he did was do what players need to do in the Finals: play beyond their capabilities.

The Celtics in the fourth quarter forced him from his preferred catch-and-shoot spots behind the three-point arc and forced him to drive to the basket and shoot pull-up jump shots. Rather than try and force shots from where he is usually comfortable, he took what the defense gave him and most importantly converted.

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In fact the play of the game came in the final minute with the Lakers nursing an 84-80 lead. After Ray Allen missed a three-pointer with 53 seconds left, Fisher grabbed the rebound. As the Celtics inexplicably stayed back, Fisher drove full court and made a layup scattering the sprinting Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Glen “Big Baby” Davis to the floor like bowling pins. Davis was called for the foul and Fisher made the free throw for the 87-80 lead.

All of this excitement came after the Celtics came back in the third quarter after trailing by 17 in the second quarter and 12 at halftime. They had gotten to within one point twice in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers responded right back to make sure it didn’t get any further.

Fisher had 16 points while Kobe Bryant added 29 points in the victory. Pau Gasol had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds while Lamar Odom decided to show up with 12 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

As for the Celtics Kevin Garnett had a monster game with 25 points, but that’s about it. Paul Pierce had a quiet 15 points, Rajon Rondo with 11 and Ray Allen after setting an NBA Finals record with eight three-pointers in Game 2 went 0-for-13 missing all eight three-point attempts.

And yet again the officials got in the way of the flow of the game creating a choppy tempo that drained all the enjoyment from the game.

Let’s see if they can get it together Thursday night in Boston for Game 4.