SALT LAKE CITY &
Nobody would have faulted Derek Fisher if he had missed Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Golden State Warriors.
Fisher's 10-month old daughter had just undergone a three-hour combination of surgery and chemotherapy for a potentially fatal form of eye cancer in New York.
He spent the whole day at the hospital and had to fly back to Utah in time for Wednesday's game, which was scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. MDT. So it would have been understandable if Fisher &
the veteran guard that Utah picked up in a trade last summer to add a leader to a young, inexperienced roster &
said he just couldn't make it.
"There's not enough that can be said about him and what he did tonight," Utah's Deron Williams said.
Fisher scored all five of his points in overtime of Utah's 127-117 win over the Warriors after missing almost the first three quarters. He didn't arrive until the third quarter and didn't even take time to stretch before coach Jerry Sloan put him in the game.
Sloan, who lost his first wife to pancreatic cancer nearly three years ago, had left one of the 12 active roster spots open when Fisher called earlier in the day to say he would make it if he could. There were no guarantees.
"They kept me on the active list. They didn't have to do that," Fisher said.
Fisher's dramatic entrance in the third quarter &
going straight from the locker room into the game &
his 3-pointer in overtime on his only shot of the night and his disclosure after the game about the family illness that kept him from the series opener overshadowed everything else that happened Wednesday.
The Jazz blew a 12-point lead, then rallied to force the overtime after Golden State missed three crucial free throws down the stretch and Williams was able to tie it with a jumper just before the end of regulation.
Baron Davis had 36 points and seven assists, and Jason Richardson scored 27 for the Warriors.
Carlos Boozer had 30 points and 13 rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko finished with 20 points, six blocks, nine rebounds and five assists after being called on for emergency point-guard duty when Williams was out with foul trouble and rookie Dee Brown injured his neck when teammate Mehmet Okur landed on him.
And all anybody, at least from the Jazz, could talk about was Fisher.
"What D-Fish is going through is unbearable for a lot of people," Boozer said. "He didn't have to be here. For him to be here, the fans appreciate it. We appreciate it. His presence is definitely felt."
It wasn't until after the game that Fisher went public with how serious 10-month-old Tatum's condition was. She has retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor in her left eye that Fisher said could have been fatal if they hadn't gotten it treated quickly.
"We are still not out of the woods here for another two or three months, but for now everything is OK," Fisher said. "My girl is doing good."
Fisher said he expects to be available for the rest of the series. On Thursday, he was scheduled to complete his cross-country trip by flying with the Jazz to Oakland, where Game — will be played Friday.
Brown's playing status will depend on how he's feeling. Okur landed on Brown, who's nearly a foot shorter, and sprained his neck. Brown was taken to a hospital as a precaution and listed as day-to-day.
The 6-foot rookie who attempted to take a charge from Matt Barnes and had the 6-foot-11 Okur land on him in the lane. Brown was helped from the court and with Fisher still en route, Utah had just 10 players.
Fisher missed most of the first three quarters, then ran straight from the tunnel onto the court late in the third period to a standing ovation and a few high-fives and hugs from teammates, as well as Golden State's Davis.
Utah had to rally to force the overtime after Golden State went on a 12-1 run late in the fourth quarter. The Warriors missed six free throws in the fourth quarter, three in the final 16 seconds.
"Oh yeah. That one we gave away," Davis said. "We gave that away and it hurt. It hurt a lot."
The Warriors got the Jazz to play an uptempo game again two days after Utah outlasted Golden State 116-112 in the series opener.
The Warriors forced 23 turnovers, but were again badly outrebounded, 60-32, and was just 26-for-37 from the foul line.
"The free throw betrayed us. It was right there," Warriors coach Don Nelson said.
Notes: Kirilenko had 13 blocks in the first two games. ... The Warriors last rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a series in 1987, when they lost two games to the Jazz and won the next three in the best-of-5 opening round. ... The Warriors were 15-for-40 from 3-point range and 26-of-37 from the foul line. ... Rookie Paul Millsap had 10 points for Utah. .. Stephen Jackson had 18 points, and Al Harrington score 17 for the Warriors.
With a lift from Fisher, Jazz takes Game 2 in OT
SALT LAKE CITY &