Fisher comes up huge in fourth for JazzMay 14, 2007 - 8:04 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Derek Fisher quieted a raucous crowd with a pair of daggers and pushed the Golden State Warriors to the brink of elimination.
Fisher scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of clutch 3-pointers, as Utah posted a 115-101 win over Golden State on Sunday night in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Jazz lead the series, 3-1, and can close out the Warriors in Game Five Tuesday night in Salt Lake City.
Fisher hit the clutch shots one would expect from a three-time NBA champion. He is the only member of the Jazz with significant playoff experience prior to this season, as the Jazz had been absent from the playoffs for four seasons, and perhaps not so coincidentally, since the end of the John Stockton and Karl Malone era.
"It was tough. I really hadn't had much rhythm to my game," said Fisher, who missed the series opener while tending to his daughter's medical condition and returned to help win Game Two on Wednesday.
Fisher missed Game One and the first half of Game Two. He arrived in the third quarter of that game, just in time to score six points in overtime as the Jazz won 127-117 on Wednesday.
"I've been trying to get my legs back and I haven't practiced much lately, so it felt good to be able to step up for my teammates. This is an environment (that) lots of guys hadn't been in before and I'm glad I was able to use some of my experience to help us tonight."
The Jazz opened the final period on a 11-4 run to take an 86-82 lead. Al Harrington cut the lead to 86-85 with a shot from the arc and Stephen Jackson drove the lane and found Andris Biedrins for a dunk that put Golden State up for the first time in period at 87-86.
On the following possession, Matt Harpring found Fisher in the left corner and he buried a 3-pointer that gave Utah a 89-87 lead, sparking a 16-6 run that effectively ended the game. During the run, he hit another shot from the arc with 2:15 left that gave Utah a 100-93 advantage.
Utah responded well after being embarrassed on Friday in Game Three, 125-105, a game in which both Deron Williams and Fisher were in foul trouble. Fisher fouled out with nine points.
"That was a big step in the growth process for us as a team," Fisher said. "After letting that game really get away from us, I tried to tell the guys, 'you know I've been on teams where you got to take steps.'"
The Jazz got Carlos Boozer back on track after he attempted just 10 shots in Friday's loss. He scored 34 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Utah pounded the ball inside to slow the Warriors fast-paced offense.
"We had opportunities to make passes to him," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. "I can't play him if I can't get him the ball. I might as well not play him. That's what happened (on Friday); we couldn't get him the ball. He's going to make good decisions with the basketball. We made a better effort today to get him the ball."
Williams also bounced back from a below-average performance as he scored 20 points and added 13 assists for the Jazz, who look to improve to 7-0 in the series in which they have led two-games-to-zero. Williams scored 14 points and had seven of Utah's 25 turnovers in Friday's loss.
"Fisher and I both stayed out of foul trouble, so having two point guards out there definitely helped," Williams said. "It was a great team effort out here tonight. Guys stepped up and hit big shots and it was a great team victory."
Williams and Boozer worked the pick-and-roll almost as well as Stockton and Malone did in their heyday on their way to outscoring the Warriors 50-32 in the paint and shooting 51 percent (37-of-72) from the floor. Utah also held a 52-36 edge on the boards and made 86 percent (37-of-43) from the free throw line.
"We know we're attacking the glass," Boozer said. "Whether it's myself, Mehmet (Okur), A.K. (Andrei Kirilenko), Matty (Harpring) even D-Will (Deron Williams). Everybody is making a concerted effort to crash the boards."
Harrington scored 24 points for Golden State, which lost for the first time in five home games this postseason.
Harrington, who fouled out late in the game, was integral in keeping Golden State close as Baron Davis and Jason Richardson struggled. After combining for 57 points in Game Three, Davis and Richardson scored just 22 points on 9-of-28 shooting from the field.
"I thought we played hard," Davis said. "A little fatigue may have set in. We didn't make it difficult for them to defend us tonight and we didn't do a great job of defending tonight. And that's why we lost, that's the bottom line."
The Warriors were hurt by poor free throw shooting, making just 62 percent (21-of-34) from the foul line, including a pair of misses by Davis with under five minutes left that would have cut it to a one point game at 91-90. Instead, the Jazz stretched the lead to 97-91 with 2:57 left after a four-footer from Williams and a alley-oop to Boozer that turned into a three-point play.
"It was a heck of a game until (there were) six minutes to go," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "We are not a very good free throw shooting team. You need to be at least 80 percent to make it far in the playoffs."
"I think they just wanted it a little bit more tonight," Richardson said. "For some reason, we just didn't have our game that we normally play, especially myself. I didn't give anything to this team on either end of the floor.
"They played a real good game tonight. You can't deny what they did. They slowed the game down, pounded it in and Boozer had a huge game for them."
Davis, who scored 32 points on Friday, did not have a field goal until there were five minutes left in the first quarter. He finished with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting in his worst performance of the postseason.
Jackson carried the Warriors in the first half, scoring 15 of his 24 points points and hit three 3-pointers as the Warriors trailed 50-49 at the break.
Tempers flared toward the end of the game when Richardson committed a flagrant foul - type 2 - when he clotheslined on Mehmet Okur in the lane, warranting an immediate ejection.
GOLDEN STATE 101 FINAL
May 14 12:07 AM
GOLDEN STATE 78 END, 3RD QTR
May 13 11:17 PM
GOLDEN STATE 49 HALFTIME
May 13 10:27 PM
GOLDEN STATE 23 END, 1ST QTR
May 13 9:48 PM
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