In lieu of the regular season, Laker Nation has decided to take you back through Laker history to recap important games, record-breaking performances and memorable news from the past 64 years of the franchise. We understand that it’s not the basketball you may have been hoping for, but for the time being, it’s the closest we’ll get to reading about the Lakers on a basketball court.
NOVEMBER 25, 2001
DENVER NUGGETS 98 – LA LAKERS 105
FISHER RETURNS TO LEAD FOURTH-QUARTER RALLY
With Kobe Bryant playing through a head cold and Shaquille O’Neal slowed by a stomach ailment, the Lakers sat in the Staples Center during the fourth quarter trailing 92-90 to the Denver Nuggets. Despite the condition of the Lakers’ roster, and with Derek Fisher returning in his first action since having a second surgery on his foot, the Lakers were not interested in losing to the Nuggets. After all, this game was slightly personal; former Laker guard Nick Van Exel, the guard that Fisher had replaced on the roster years before, had now become the star point guard for the Denver Nuggets and had everything to prove.
Coming into the game in the second quarter, Fisher would receive a standing ovation from the crowd at Staples Center. As the fourth quarter began to turn in the Nuggets’ favor, Fisher would score 11 fourth-quarter points and take a crucial charge that would fuel the Lakers to a 105-98 victory, as the Lakers would score 27 in the final period to secure the win.
Screw in foot and all, Fisher would go on to score 14 points in the game, going 4-for-4 from behind the arc, playing the entire fourth quarter and 20 minutes overall subbing in for starter Lindsey Hunter. O’Neal and Bryant would chip in 22 and 25, respectively, and the Lakers would roll to 12-1 on the season, matching their best start to a regular season in franchise history (1997). Former Laker guard Nick van Exel who had torched the Lakers for 34 points that night, would be chased down by Fisher and given a hug to show no hard feelings…for taking both Van Exel’s job and the victory.
Quote of the Night: “I had no plans or expectations. I just went out there and played. I’m just glad to come back.” – Laker guard Derek Fisher on his performance in a 105-98 victory over the Denver Nuggets – From the LA Times, Nov. 26, 2001
ALSO ON THIS DATE – NOVEMBER 25, 1972 – WEST THROWN OUT FOR FIRST TIME
Jerry “The Logo” West was ejected from a game for the first time in his pro career 39 years ago today after 13 NBA seasons of good behavior; the Lakers would still go on that night to beat the Phoenix Suns 116-109.