We noted the fourth quarter performance of Derek Fisher in Tuesday's Game 3 win. If you didn't get a chance to see his postgame media session, click below and you can see the transcript.
I particularly enjoyed an exchange about three-quarters of the way through in which Fish talks about the significance of having the type of night he had 14 years into a career.
Worth a read.
Q. Talk about the big shots that you hit down the stretch and what the Celtics did, what they gave you and what they didn't give you.
DEREK FISHER: Just, you know, looking to continue to be aggressive even though I hadn't been able to knock down many shots early. But we saw some things we could accomplish by playing a little two-man game between Kobe and myself. When Kobe sets a screen, his man is going to be very reluctant to help off of him, so it allows somebody else to get into the interior of their defense, and a couple times I made a pass or two, and a few other times I was able to knock down shots.
Q. Can you just talk about the importance of getting this win, especially considering that you guys couldn't win here two years ago and just the way you left in Game 6. Was there any thought to just walking back here for the final game considering what happened last time you were here?
DEREK FISHER: Well, I think our thoughts are really just still on how disappointed we are, or were, losing that second game on our home court, and I think that had more of our attention and focus than what happened in '08.
At the same time, you know, we didn't doubt our ability to win here, although we hadn't done it in the playoffs. There have been some -- we had some good opportunities in the regular season to come in and play against this team. We understand when you want to be the best, you have to win wherever, whenever. This was a good win for us tonight, but we want to continue to build on this and make the necessary adjustments to give ourselves another chance on Thursday.
Q. It looked like you guys were kind of stumbling in the end and it looked like you were out of sync for the offense. What made you decide to take charge and take over the game?
DEREK FISHER: You know, I think we just saw a good opportunity to get on the interior of their defense through another route. You know, we did a lot through Kobe in the third quarter which really got us in trouble. In the first half we were much better with our execution, ball movement, and it makes it hard for their defense when we're moving the ball and we're moving players.
In that third quarter we weren't getting into our offense fast enough, which left Kobe having to do some things at the end of the clock, which is not good.
We saw some actions that allowed us to get into their defense early and just trust that if something wasn't there, that I'd make the appropriate pass to the open guy and then we could still run our offense from there. Like I said, when Kobe is setting a screen, his guy is not going to necessarily leave him, and left me some good opportunities.
Q. With this big win how do you take the momentum into the next game and what do you do to keep going?
DEREK FISHER: Realizing that there are a lot of things that we can do much better. You know, obviously we feel good about this game, but Ray Allen is not going to miss all of his shots on Thursday night. That's not going to happen. So there are other things that -- we have to get more assists than 13. We're going to have to play a much better game than we played tonight in order to have a chance to win on Thursday, which we knew after winning Game 1, that we couldn't play the same game, because this is a really good team.
Thursday night they're going to come back with a renewed sense of hunger and intensity and aggressiveness, and we're going to have to be ready to battle all of those things.
Q. After Ray's performance in Game 2, what were some of the things you guys wanted to do defensively and were able to do defensively to contribute to the 0 for 13?
DEREK FISHER: You know, understand spots on the floor, where he's trying to get to to get his shots off. We wanted to pick our spots to get a little bit more pressure, get Kobe a little bit closer to Rajon to take away some of the sharp passing angles where he can get the ball to Ray really fast right in his shooting pocket. And from there it's just trusting that if you keep making him work, he won't necessarily hit 8 out of 11 threes every night.
You know, we obviously didn't expect him to go 0 for 13, but it's a tough gig for him to be honest, to run around offensively the way he has to and then have to guard Kobe on the other end. I mean, that takes anybody's legs out. It takes my legs out chasing him.
So you know, they're going to be nights maybe when his legs aren't there because he's having to work so hard on both ends, but we won't see 0 for 13 on Thursday night, that's for sure.
Q. What does it mean to you to have made such a contribution, such a difference in this game tonight, this season, in a game that you guys really, really needed?
DEREK FISHER: You know, it's tough to put into words. I got a little bit emotional in my postgame interview right after the game just because, you know, I love what I do, and I love helping my team win. You know, even when things maybe aren't going the way I'd like them to go for reasons I can control and some I can't, I still pretty much keep my mouth shut and just keep doing my job and remain faithful that things will come around when they need to.
And so to come through tonight again for this team, 14 years in, after so many great moments, it's always quite surreal and quite humbling to experience it again and do it again. But it's like being a kid, man; you just never get tired of that candy. Tonight it feels very good, and like I said, I'm happy, but my thoughts are going to Thursday already.
Q. Different because it was the 14th year?
DEREK FISHER: Yeah, I mean, you know, I think as you grow in this game and you put in the work that's required to still be around 14 years later, you know, you start to recognize that being in this moment on this stage it's not a given, it's not something that happens every season. You know, to have this opportunity just as a person, I don't think you ever want to look back in life and have any regrets about anything.
Five or ten years from now when I'm long gone, I would have hated to feel like I didn't just do everything I could have to help my team and live with the consequences. Things have worked out well, and we have two more wins to get to really put a nice cap on it.
Q. Can you talk about your coast-to-coast lay-up?
DEREK FISHER: Well, you know, obviously at that time the clock is, I guess, our enemy and our friend. So really because the Celtics got so many guys up the court, initially I was really just trying to advance the ball and get it past half court before the eight-second count. I saw KG coming up, and the angle that he took, I knew I could get around him without stepping on the left sideline. And once I broke through him, I saw that they didn't have anybody back at the basket. So I just took the direct line. Had they got there and cut me off, I probably would have pulled it out. But I felt that I could get to the basket and get a good shot off before they could get to me.
To see Pau's reaction and my teammates' reactions, that's why those moments feel so good to me. Hitting the floor didn't feel that good to be honest, but Pau's reaction and Lamar and Kobe and what the guys were saying to me, that's why those things feel so good.
Q. What were you talking about with your teammates after that tough loss in the second game to try to keep everybody together and in a positive state coming into this game? What were you saying?
DEREK FISHER: Well, you know, I have people that I'm close to that give me things to read throughout the season, and in particular in the playoffs and the postseason. I was reading a book that talked about companies and business and things that they try to do to keep everybody focused on what the goal is. And I've recently been reading a lot about trust, and so that's basically what we talked about was trusting each other, trusting the triangle offense, trusting our coaches, trusting that if you get into foul trouble that the guy next to you or behind you can come in and get the job done and that there's nothing to fear; just go out there and give everything you have and trust that that'll be enough. It was enough tonight, and I'm hopeful and trusting it'll be enough on Thursday.