Fisher Makes Instant Impact On Mavs

DALLAS – Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle spoke with such reverence about his starting point guard that he must have momentarily forgotten that Jason Kidd plays for the New York Knicks.

“Look at the plus-minus, look at the wins. It all factors in somehow,” Carlisle said. “There are some guys in this league whose contributions are impossible to quantify with statistics. A guy with five or six rings and physical toughness and timely shot-making history, all that stuff helps you, helps you. It doesn’t just help your point guard position, it helps the whole program.”

OK, so the “five or six rings” gave it away. The 38-year-old Derek Fisher won’t surpass the 39-year-old Kidd in many categories once these two enduring geezers finally hang it up, but Fisher does own five championship rings playing alongside Kobe Bryant to Kidd’s one with Carlisle two seasons ago.

While Kidd has pushed the Knicks to the top of the Eastern Conference, Fisher was at home waiting for a phone call, and he finally got it from a reeling Mavs team with a roster full of new faces, no Dirk Nowitzki (who hopes to begin practicing in a week or so) and desperate for leadership at the point.

Fisher arrived two weeks ago and immediately took over the starting job from Darren Collison. The young guard wasn’t happy about the demotion, but who can argue with the results?

Monday’s night’s 119-96 rout of the Sacramento Kings was Dallas’ third consecutive victory and fourth in five games, its best stretch since Collison was so impressive in opening the season 4-1.

Fisher’s stats have not been mind-blowing. He’s averaged 7.4 points on 37 percent shooting, and 3.6 assists in 25.2 minutes a game. But, he’s provided the rudder they lacked, delivering stability and calm to the position, and perhaps even a bit of a fire under the fourth-year Collison, who’s with his third team.

Benched after the Mavs’ 7-7 start, which then slipped to 7-9 before Fisher arrived on the scene, Collison has been red-hot during the win streak, averaging 14.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting (13-for-24) and 3.0 assists.  And he’s played 30, 32 and 27 minutes in the last three games, more than Fisher in each.

So what has Carlisle discovered about his team over the last five games?

“We found some toughness, we found some grit,” he said. “We found Derek Fisher.”

And maybe some of that new-found toughness explains the play Carlisle was most appreciative of in Collison’s 7-for-9 shooting performance (15 points) against the Kings — a rare charge drawn on Marcus Thornton in the fourth quarter.

Carlisle has pleaded with his team to stand their ground on the defensive end, but with only limited results.

“Coming into [Monday], we had 13 charges in 20 games,” Carlisle said. “We had two tonight. We talked about it in the morning that we’ve got to be stepping up and we cannot continue to allow people to walk to the basket on us like they did in the first half of the Houston game. Dahntay [Jones] had one in the first half and Collison had one in the second half.

“[Vince Carter] and Dahntay Jones have the most [charges]. And now Collison is in third place because he has two.”

It’s one more than Collison had before, and each step he takes has to be considered progress.

19 Comments

  1. Sara says:

    Very good article, lets not forget about the way O.J. Mayo The Juice Man has been playing tho…totally unexpected this season.

  2. Najee says:

    I always like veteran-experienced players startin as oppose to young guys that aren’t ready to be starters. Well, Collison was already a starter in Indiana. I guess that worked for them but not for Dallas.

  3. I meant to say: This is a great article regarding Fisher and this is exactly why the Lakers should have never let him go.

  4. This is a great article. And this is exactly why the Lakers should have never let him go.

  5. KC says:

    People are always thinking about talent, but there are other things that a team needs to succeed. Things like discipline, energy, and the will to get back into a game even if the team is behind. According to some, Fish was providing that for the Lakers. It’s clear that they need someone to tell them things they don’t want to hear, someone on the floor to yell at them for missed rotations or just plain laziness. These are intangibles that don’t appear on any stat sheet.

  6. SaYO says:

    this is why kobe wanted fisher to stay so bad

  7. Hunter says:

    Having Derek Fisher is the best thing for this MAVS team. Somethings brewing!! GO MAVS!!

    • I smell...... says:

      Coffee???….is it coffee brewing?….couldnt be mavs….or maybe the front office is brewing….brewing coffee….

  8. CHUCK NORRIS says:

    If the Mavs pick up Steve Kerr, Ernie Johnson and Brian Scalabrine and make them come out retirement. The Mavs will be Champs. No doubt in my mind.

  9. J. Parker says:

    Great article.

  10. Greg Down says:

    Lets not forget…Derek Fisher left the Lakers to go to Golden State & Utah……No Championship’s for the Lakers, he returns to L.A and they win again! Derek is the GLUE that every championship team needs, a great professional!

  11. Drake says:

    Fisher was useful in Oklahoma too, last year. He’s a bit underrated at times, because of his statistics compared to others’. Guess the Lakers/Kobe thinks a lot of him lately.

  12. josh says:

    so we’re crediting the wins to derek fisher aye, not how well O,J Mayo has been playing, not wrights great bench production, not kamans efficient scoring, or maybe the fact that collison is putting up same numbers back when we were 4-1. No people it was derek fisher apparently

    • Hunter says:

      Well, for ten games without Fish we were very mediocre.

    • Gamerfan says:

      Well if the coach thinks so, who are we to think that we know his team better than he does. Still think the Lakers miss him even more now that they are struggling, having to start Duhon.

    • Listo says:

      Dallas has a good bit of talnet on the roster, but couldnt finish the game strong, derek fisher brings experience on how to control the tempo and brings some leadership to the team. Just wait till Dirk gets back into the rotion. Collison is a great player coming off the bench. thats the replacement for jason terry, Derek fisher is a great replacement for jason kidd, Chirs kaman is a better replacement for brandon haywood. and oj mayo is just great peice coming to the rostar.

  13. javajim says:

    i think if a team needs some help at PG it would be interesting to see if they could get Keiton Page off the coaching staff at Oklahoma State. He was a great leader and capable scorer and would be a great fit in most system