OKLAHOMA CITY – In the quiet of the near-empty Thunder locker room, as the last player to leave after the Monday victory that sent Oklahoma City to the Western Conference final, Derek Fisher passed on the chance to make noise. He would help beat the Lakers, but he would not bash them.
“It obviously feels good to advance and beat anybody we face,” he said.
Except that it wasn’t anybody this time. It was the team that dealt him at the trade deadline in a shock to Fisher and most around the Lakers. It was the organization that felt it needed to replace him for an upgrade at point guard and then needed to move him to clear a wide berth for Ramon Sessions to be the successor.
Surely this was not just another victory for a player who has known many.
“If I came here just to beat the Lakers, then maybe so,” Fisher said. “But the idea was to come here and have an opportunity to win a championship. That journey is still in front of us. We’ll keep working at it.”
How strange the way it had all played out — a Laker the majority of the season, dealt to the Rockets, quickly becoming a free agent after working a buyout with Houston, signing with the Thunder, and ultimately having a hand in ending the Lakers season. Not only that, it came as Sessions struggled mightily, shooting 37.7 percent in the postseason and looking just as bad on defense.
There would be no gloating, though.
“From a personal friend perspective, separate from work, I’m not the type of person that would be happy at someone else’s expense,” Fisher said. “To see guys that are my friends, to have their season be over, that’s not necessarily something I’m happy about from a personal perspective. But professionally speaking, which is what we’re here to do, I’m happy for us and what we’ve accomplished.”
Fisher averaged 4.2 points and 1.2 assists in 18.4 minutes a game as the backup to Russell Westbrook. He shot just 32 percent overall, but made 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers.