Derek Fisher had a bit of a raspy throat Saturday, the result of his first bout with Utah's spring allergy season.
He said he's never had allergies before, but the pollen count is high, and he's rundown from the events of the past few weeks, trying to save his baby daughter's eye, and life, from cancer by going to New York for surgery and then racing back to help extend the Utah Jazz's season.
The Western Conference Finals begin today at 1:30 p.m. MDT in San Antonio against the Spurs, and Utah might not have made it this far had not Fisher hit a 3-pointer to help win Game 2 of the semifinals against Golden State and scored in the 20s and added other contributions in the last three games.
The worrying about his daughter and the physical expense left him sapped and vulnerable. He mainly rode the exercise bike instead of practicing Friday, then left before the media session, loaded up with allergy medicine that brings on drowsiness.
He said he felt better Saturday, though his voice hinted otherwise.
"Just energy, my eyes were burning a little bit, nasal congestion, just kind of felt run down," he said about Friday. "I think it's just being depleted after the last couple weeks of everything, and finishing off the last round, I think my body was kind of able to, like, take a breath, which I think left me more susceptible to picking up something from the outside."
The veteran Fisher can be a big help to the Jazz now since he had positive history against the Spurs in San Antonio, where his fadeaway 20-foot shot with less than a second left on the clock won a Game 5 for the Los Angeles Lakers (who had former Jazzman Karl Malone with them at the time).
"For me personally it brings some very good memories. Not just the shot but great competition," Fisher said.
It also cemented his reputation as a big-shot hitter, and people still remember him for it. Some, who thought the shot just before by San Antonio's Tim Duncan had won the game and lost bets for them, and then Fisher's shot instead won their bets, and they still come up to him and thank him."A lot of people have made references in how it fit into their personal life: They had lost money, now they get their money back," Fisher said. It didn't quite fit into the life-changing category, "but I probably helped some people pay cable bills or phone bills, which may have changed their life, I don't know."
LONG REST: The Spurs will play today in a turnaround time of about 40 hours from Friday's series-clinching win over Phoenix. The Jazz haven't played since eliminating Golden State last Tuesday.
"We'll find out," forward Carlos Boozer said. "I think we're rested. I hope we're still sharp. I think we will be."We're gonna go down there with a lot of energy, because we do have our legs," Boozer added. "And we're gonna try to run as much as we can, and exploit that a little bit. But they're a team that's seen everything, and they're gonna be prepared for us to be fresh."
SCARY: Jazz coach Jerry Sloan actually admitted Saturday he was a bit, uh, scared when watching San Antonio on Friday."I'd hate to tell you otherwise," he said, "because I'd be lying. "They (the Spurs) don't make any mistakes. They do a great job."
NO SURPRISE: Sloan wasn't shocked to see ex-Jazz guard and current Spurs backup point Jacque Vaughn hit a couple big baskets during his four minutes in Game 6 against the Suns."You have tendency to think he can't shoot the ball, or this and that, because he doesn't play a lot," the Jazz coach said of Utah's 1997 first-round draft choice. "But he really gave them a lot of energy (Friday)."
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