NBA: Clock 'started appropriately' on Fisher's shot

Updated: May 14, 2004, 3:50 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The NBA denied the San Antonio Spurs' protest of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, which ended with a buzzer-beating shot by Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Spurs contended the clock did not start quickly enough after Fisher caught an inbounds pass with 0.4 seconds remaining. Fisher swished an 18-foot jumper to give the Lakers a 74-73 victory on Thursday night in San Antonio.

The protest was denied Friday by NBA commissioner David Stern. The league said a video tape review showed the game clock "started appropriately" and confirmed the determination of the referees, using instant replay, that the shot was released before time expired.

One of the three officials triggers the start with a wireless device on his belt. A neutral scorekeeper does, too, as a backup.

"I think it definitely started late," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said after the game.

Fisher's shot came after Tim Duncan made an off-balance basket from the top of the key to give the Spurs the lead with 0.4 seconds left.

After three timeouts, Gary Payton was ready to pass to Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant. The Spurs had them covered, leaving Fisher free. He caught the ball, sank the shot over Manu Ginobili, then ran off the court in celebration.

"I just wanted to get out of there and not give them an opportunity to think that we didn't believe it went in," Fisher said.

The Lakers lead the series 3-2, with Game 6 in Los Angeles on Saturday.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

ALSO SEE