for this game

Ariza, Fisher help Lakers escape with win

Dec 17, 2008 - 8:03 AM By Jonathan Raber PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- Down by double-digits for a majority of the night, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to slow a frenzied attack when it mattered most.

Derek Fisher's pair of free throws with six seconds remaining proved to be the difference as the Los Angeles Lakers escaped with a 116-114 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Kobe Bryant finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists for the Lakers, who have won 13 of their last 15 games and overcame a 15-point halftime deficit.

"(It's different) to have to figure out a way to win a game, and dig deep, and get defensive stops and do little things down the stretch to win a game," Fisher said. "I would like to think we need to be in that position some before a game like that shows up against a better opponent or different opponent and you've never had to quite figure out how to do it."

Starting for the first time in place of All-Star forward Pau Gasol, who was a late scratch because of strep throat, Lamar Odom had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Fisher added 15 points as six players reached double-figures.

"It was a challenging game," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I think we anticipated that as a staff, but I don't think our players anticipated that kind of ballgame."

Nate Robinson had 33 points for the Knicks, who did much of their damage from long range by nailing 13-of-31 (41.9 percent) 3-pointers. The outburst came a night after New York tied a franchise record by hoisting 37 threes, making just five, in a loss to the Phoenix Suns.

"Any team that shoots as many threes as they do, they're eventually going to get hot," Lakers forward Trevor Ariza said.

David Lee chipped in 18 points and 12 rebounds and Quentin Richardson had 18 in the losing effort.

"Early in the season, we probably would have gotten blown out especially when they made that run in the third quarter," Knicks guard Chris Duhon said of his team, which saw their double-digit lead dwindle to three during the quarter. "We'd have probably hung our heads down and said, 'Here we go again.'

"We continued to compete and execute."

Trailing entering the final quarter for only fourth time, the Lakers used a pivotal 11-2 run to grab their first lead since the first quarter when Fisher's 16-foot jumper gave them a 103--101 advantage with 5:18 to play.

The teams traded leads over the next four minutes with Robinson's 3-pointer at the 1:18 mark putting New York ahead, 112-111.

On the ensuing possession, Odom found the former Knick Ariza for an uncontested alley-oop layup off an in-bounds play, putting Los Angeles on top, 113-112.

"A minute left, we've got to have it," Odom said. "It's a play that I have to make."

Robinson's layup on the other end came up empty and the Knicks were forced to foul Fisher, who hit both free throws for a 115-112 bulge with six seconds left.

Robinson followed with a pair from the charity stripe to get it back to a one-point game, after hitting a game-tying 3-pointer that came right after the intentional foul.

"I knew they had a foul to give, so I was waiting for it," Robinson said. "(Fisher) did a great job of waiting until I crossed over so I couldn't get back in rhythm. Once he fouled me, I just tried to shoot and made it, but great play by them fouling me."

After an intentional foul, Fisher split the pair of free throws to account for the final margin as Duhon's heave from beyond halfcourt came up empty as the horn sounded.