All across the internet this year, and on the Laker Line, I've heard fans disrespecting Derek Fisher. Lately, fans have been turning on Ron Artest as well. But Game 3 against the Jazz hopefully once and for all taught skeptical Laker fans to keep the faith.
Rasheed Hazard, Laker Assistant Coach, said it best on a podcast just before the playoffs, that Fisher by now has really earned more respect from the fans. He's pulled the Lakers out of the fire time and time again. And Artest? He was one of the Lakers best shooters on the year, despite having a retputation of being a streaky shooter other places in the league.
Yet many fans were still trying to run them off the team on a rail during these playoffs. That is just plain disrespectful. It was doubly disrespectful against Artest, whose defense played a big part of why the Lakers were able to advance past a very hungry Thunder team and the second-runner up for MVP, Kevin Durant. Also, during the playoffs, Fisher upped his game, to the point that he is in fact that he's been shooting around 40% from beyond the arc during the playoffs.
Tonight, once and for all I think these guys showed why they're very important parts to the Lakers success, and when they're paying well the Lakers just don't lose. The fact is that few players have been in as many playoff wars as Derek Fisher, and Artest is the Laker perhaps hungriest for a title. There big games tonight show why good shooters need to keep shooting through a slump, because eventually those shots will start going down.
After the game, Artest, on ESPN 790 said, "I've played these guys a lot. They used to respect me. I guess they don't respect me anymore, so I'm gonna get them." Don't disrespect Artest. He will get you. And don't sleep on Fisher, either.