Final - OT
  for this game

Fisher returns to lead Jazz to victory in Game Two

May 10, 2007 - 6:25 AM SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Golden State Warriors let one get away and now face an uphill climb to get back into their series with the Utah Jazz.

The Warriors could not hold on to a five-point lead over the final 36 seconds of regulation and Deron Williams and Derek Fisher were clutch down the stretch to lead the Jazz to a 127-117 overtime victory in Game Two of the Western Conference semifinal series on Wednesday.

The series shifts to Oakland, California for Games Three and Four on Friday and Sunday with the Jazz holding a 2-0 lead.

"It had to be the most painful loss [of the season]. We had the game," Warriors swingman Jason Richardson said. "A play here, a play there, a free throw here, a stop there would have won the game. It hurts when you lose like this."

Golden State is in the conference semifinals for the first time in 16 years. To advance to the conference finals, the Warriors will have to win at least one game in Salt Lake City, and they let a golden opportunity slip through their fingers.

"Once again we didn't finish the game. We didn't make plays at the end," Stephen Jackson said. "They made some big shots down the stretch and we didn't. Point blank."

Trailing, 106-100, after a 3-pointer by Mehmet Okur with 4:50 to play, the Warriors went on a 12-1 run to take a seemingly comfortable 112-107 lead.

In the midst of the Warriors' late flurry, Jason Richardson took advantage of a Baron Davis steal, burying his fifth three-pointer of the game to give Golden State only its second lead since the early second quarter.

"We got a lead of about 12 points in the third quarter, and we relaxed. That's unacceptable, especially with a team like Golden State," said Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who put together another strong all-around performance with 20 points, nine rebounds, five assists and six blocks." We just lost our concentration. They started running, they got easy open shots not only threes, but layups. And we didn't really pay attention."

Things definitely seemed to be going Golden State's way when Andris Biedrins hit two line-drive free throws to make it 110-107 with 1:31 left in the fourth. Matt Barnes hit a jumper from the top of the key to cap Golden State's run with 53 seconds left in the fourth, but then the Warriors unraveled.

They missed three of four free throws and Baron Davis stepped out of bounds as Utah closed regulation on a 6-1 run to force overtime.

"I thought the game was ours. The free throw betrayed us," Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "It was right there. All we had to do was make free throws, but we didn't do it. I really feel sorry for the guys that missed."

After Davis missed the second of two foul shots and the Jazz called timeout, Williams took an inbounds pass, dribbled into the lane and buried a 12-foot runner with 2.3 seconds to play to tie the game at 113.

"Coach drew up the play for me to get a ball screen, and I'd come off it and shoot," Williams said. "There were a couple times this year where I had the same opportunity and I settled for a long jumper. So I had it in my mind that I was going to the hole."

In the opening minute of overtime, he came through again. Kirilenko drove to the basket but kicked it out to Williams in the corner. The second-year point guard buried the three-pointer to give the Jazz a five-point edge.

The Jazz took firm control of the overtime period behind six points from Carlos Boozer and a late lift from Derek Fisher.

Fisher missed Game One and the first half of Game Two due to a family illness. He arrived at the arena in the third quarter and was inserted into the game with 3:18 to play in the third. He scored all five of his points in overtime, including a 3-pointer that made it 123-117 and effectively clinched the game with 1:06 to play.

"I don't even have words," Fisher said of his 3-pointer. "Had I had to shoot the ball any time before that, I probably would have thrown it all the way over the rim. But it was perfect timing. I'd played enough minutes where I had settled into the game and started to feel a little like myself again."

Fisher's return was crucial for the Jazz, who lost rookie guard Dee Brown to a neck injury in the first quarter when Okur landed on him. X-rays were negative but Brown was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Brown was later diagnosed with a sprained neck and is listed as day-to-day. The team expects to know more about his availability for Game Three on Thursday.

"I just hope Dee Brown is OK, that matters more than the game itself," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "(Fisher) has gone through a lot the last few days and basketball was probably a good opportunity for him. I was just real happy for him."

Boozer had 30 points and 13 rebounds, Okur added 23 points and 18 rebounds and Williams finished with 17 points and 14 assists. The Jazz outrebounded the Warriors 60-32, nearly a 2:1 margin.

Davis scored 36 points and dished out seven assists for Golden State. Stephen Jackson was just 4-of-18 from the field and finished with 18 points.


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