Derek Fisher made what may have been his last appearance on the Lakers' home floor at Staples Center, playing with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon in a 114-110 loss to the home team.
Fisher, in his 18th season, has vowed to retire after the 2013-14 campaign.
"He's talked about retiring," said Thunder Coach Scott Brooks on Sunday. "I've heard [our players] are planning on talking to him. Fisher can still play a few more years if he wants to play."
"It's not, 'If I can't,'" said Fisher after the game, acknowledging this was probably his last year.
Fisher won five titles with the Lakers in seven trips to the NBA Finals. He's in his third season with the Thunder, joining the franchise in 2012 for a run to the Finals against the Miami Heat.
"He's one of the greatest winners that this game has ever seen," said Brooks of his 39-year old guard.
The Lakers' crowd gave Fisher a minor ovation when he checked into the game, nine minutes into the first quarter. When Oklahoma City made its late run, Fisher's back-to-back lefty three-pointers gave the Thunder life. He finished with eight points in 111/2 minutes.
Through 62 appearances, Fisher has averaged 5.2 points in 16.5 minutes while shooting 40.9% from the field and 40.4% from three-point range.
"He has a great ability to lead and inspire his teammates, but he has the resume to back up his words and he has the work ethic," said Brooks. "He treats every day like he's preparing for Game 7."
While Fisher may be done facing the Lakers at Staples Center this season, he'll visit again on April 9 against the Clippers — a possible playoff preview between two of the best teams in the Western Conference.
Fisher wished Kobe Bryant a speedy recovery from a knee injury.
"We played together it seems a lifetime," said Fisher. "It's very personal to me, to me, especially how hard he works to be at his best, that he's not there right now."
Fisher called Bryant his favorite teammate of all time, from a basketball perspective, but noted he also had great relationships with many other former Lakers such as Devean George, Luke Walton and Horace Grant.
"We definitely shared some special years," said Fisher of Bryant. "I miss him every day and I want him to get healthy and get back on the court as soon as possible."
The Lakers (22-42) go from one of their busiest stretches of the season to one of their lightest.
After playing five games over seven days, dating to last Monday, the Lakers won't get back onto the court until Thursday.
Of course "light" doesn't mean "easy" as the Lakers will visit the Thunder (46-17) and San Antonio Spurs (46-16) on back-to-back nights.
The team is expected to take Monday and Tuesday off to recover from the previous week before readying for the trip to Oklahoma City.
Once the Lakers wrap up in San Antonio on Friday, they'll have another four days off before they host the Spurs next Wednesday at Staples Center — just three games over a 10-day period.
Twitter: @EricPincusCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun