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Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Dirk Nowitzki takes blame on Derek Fisher 3

By Jeff Caplan

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe time turned into Derek Fisher time.

All eyes focused on No. 24 as he got the inbounds pass at the top of the arc with 9.9 seconds to play and the score tied, 70-70. The Mavericks' Shawn Marion, who had played superb defense against the league's leading scorer all night, faced him up. Quickly, Jason Terry popped up to double Bryant.

As Terry closed, Bryant threw a soccer-style pass to an open Fisher behind the arc on the right wing. It left Dirk Nowitzki to lunge at Fisher and hope his long arm could somehow nick Fisher's attempt and throw it off line. But Fisher lofted a soft, high floater.

"You've got to give him credit," Nowitzki said. "I mean, the ball hit the top of the gym and it sunk right down. It was a heck of a shot by him."

Nowitzki took the blame for Fisher getting off the shot.

"That was my fault," he said. "We knew we wanted to run at Kobe. We were kind of hoping they would put him on the wing so we could rotate, rotate, rotate, but they put him up top. So Jet ran at him and I just sort of rotated a little harder knowing Fisher has made a lot of big shots in his career, but they were, what, 0-for-9 at that point from 3, I didn't want to overrun him and give something easier up."