SALT LAKE CITY (AP)—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 surgery.
“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 three-hour combination of surgery and chemotherapy at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital.
“My daughter’s doing well,” Fisher said. “We had a successful operation in New York and I flew back and got off the plane and came to the game. I’m speechless.”
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 lead.
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 players.
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 quarter.
“My loyalty is always with family and faith first. I had to get permission from my wife to get here. My coach and teammates welcomed me with open arms,” Fisher said. “They kept me on the active list. They didn’t have to do that.”
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 outrebounded, 60-32.
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 Warriors.
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 throws.”
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.
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