SALT LAKE CITY -- All Derek Fisher needed to do to inspire
his teammates was make it to the game.
He did so much more, capping a dramatic night by scoring all
five of his points in overtime in Utah's 127-117 victory over
Golden State on Wednesday night -- a game Fisher nearly missed while
returning from New York, where his baby daughter underwent cancer
"I don't know how I got through this tonight. I really don't,"
said Fisher, who hit his only shot, a 3-pointer.
The win and Utah's 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals
were overshadowed by what Fisher did Wednesday. He had said Monday
that one of his four children was ill, but did not go into detail
on how serious it was other than to say he needed to be with his
family instead of at the game Monday.
After the game Wednesday, he told how serious 10-month-old
Tatum's condition was. She has retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer
that required a combination of surgery and chemotherapy, which was performed by retinoblastoma specialist Dr. David Abramson at New York's Presbyterian Hospital.
Fisher flew to New York on Monday afternoon for a Tuesday appointment and stayed Wednesday for his daughter's surgery. The surgery went from 6:30 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. and was successful -- so successful that the baby came home with Fisher and his wife.
"My daughter's doing very well," Fisher said. "We had a successful
operation in New York and I flew back, got off the plane, came to the game. I'm speechless."
Fisher flew back on a charter plane and had his security drive him to the arena, helped by a police escort.
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 Baron Davis.
"He got off the plane. He didn't warm up. He didn't stretch. He
didn't shoot a shot," said Utah's Deron Williams, who had 17
points and 14 assists. "As soon as he came into the arena, he went
straight to the scorers' table."
Physically, the Jazz really needed Fisher. But his psychological
impact was much, much greater and is now going to be an indelible
part of the Jazz's season and history.
"There's not enough that can be said about him and what he did
tonight," Williams said.
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 after taking the late
Carlos Boozer had 30 points and 13 rebounds for Utah, while Okur
added 23 points and 18 rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko had 20 points,
nine rebounds and six blocks. Kirilenko also had to fill in a
little at point guard when the Jazz were down to 10 available
Fisher made it 11 and didn't even get a chance to warm up.
"I asked him if he was all right and he said he was," Utah
coach Jerry Sloan said. "He's gone through a lot the last few days
and basketball was probably a good opportunity for him."
The Jazz left Fisher on the active list, a move that became
dicey when Brown went down with five minutes left in the opening
"Loyalty is always with my family and my faith first. That's the only way I got through this game tonight. I had to get permission from my wife to come here, Fisher said. "My teammates and coach welcomed me with open arms. I told them if I could get here I wanted to play. He [Sloan] kept me on the active list. He didn't have to do that. And I appreciate the trust."
Davis had 36 points and seven assists for Golden State.
"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.
Game 3 is Friday night at Golden State.
Jason Richardson scored 27 points and Stephen Jackson had eight
for Golden State, which scored only four points in the extra five
minutes. The Warriors forced 23 turnovers, but were again badly
The Jazz were also thinking after the game about Brown, 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. He had to be helped
from the court and was taken to a hospital as a precaution. The
team said neurological tests on Brown were normal.
Williams got two fouls in a one-minute span the opening quarter
and the Jazz were really hamstrung for a lineup to run with the
Utah managed and led by as many as 12 points before the Warriors
struck quickly and took over the lead late in the fourth quarter by
holding the Jazz without a field goal for 4:17.
The Warriors had a chance to seal it, but Mickael Pietrus missed
two free throws and Okur hit a shot from the corner with 9.8
seconds left to make it 112-111. Fans thought Okur had hit a
3-pointer to tie it, but replays showed his toes were on the line
when he took the shot.
Davis got Fisher to foul him, but also missed a chance to put
away the Jazz. He made his first free throw, but missed the second
and Boozer grabbed the rebound with 5.8 seconds left. Utah called a
timeout and Williams got open for a jumper in the lane that tied it
with 2.8 seconds left.
"The free throw betrayed us," Golden State coach Don Nelson
said. "It was right there. All we had to do was make free
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.
Information from ESPN Insider's John Hollinger and The Associated Press was used in this report.