(Fisher fires over Manu Ginobili. Photo by John W. McDonough, SI Photos)
5/13/1958 - "Stan the Man" gets 3,000th hit
Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals joins the 3,000 hit club as a pinch hitter, doubling off Moe Drabowsky of the Cubs in Wrigley Field. A 24-time All-Star and a three-time MVP, Musial retired in the top five in hits, home runs, RBI, runs scored, and games played. Initially signed as a pitcher, Musial transformed himself into one of the all-time greats at the minor leagues, leading many to compare him to Roy Hobbs of The Natural.
5/13/1994 - Pippen sits as Kukoc hits winner
It was a crazy night at Chicago Stadium as the Chicago Bulls, sans a retired Michael Jordan, tried to come back from a 2-0 series deficit against the New York Knicks. Minutes before the end of the first half, Bulls second-year guard Jo Jo English got into a terrible scuffle with Derek Harper. Punches were thrown and the fight was pulled into the stands as both benches ran onto the court. All this happened within a few rows of commissioner David Stern, who was sitting in the audience. Both players were suspended for the following game.
The fireworks did not stop there. Buoyed by the brawl, the Bulls went on a run and had a 22-point lead late in the third quarter. The Knicks then staged a run of their own and began the fourth period with a 17-2 rally. With 1.8 seconds left, Patrick Ewing sunk a three-foot hook shot that tied the game at 102. Ewing had a great game, scoring 34 points on 14-19 shooting while pulling down nine rebounds.
With that much time remaining, the Bulls called timeout. Bulls coach Phil Jackson drew up a play in which Toni Kukoc, a European rookie who had hit several game-winners in the regular season, was to take the final shot. Scottie Pippen, who led Chicago with 25 points, was incensed that he wasn't taking the last shot and kept himself out of the play. When the Bulls went to inbound the ball, Pippen was sitting on the bench.
Jackson's call was an accurate one. Pete Myers threw it in Kukoc at the top of the key, and Kukoc launched a high-arching rainbow shot that went in just as the buzzer sounded. The Bulls had won, 104-102, in an incredibly eventful basketball game.
"Phil and I kind of exchanged some words," Pippen told reporters after the game. "That was pretty much it. It wasn't Phil taking me out of the game, we pretty much exchanged words and I took a seat. I think it was frustration. We really blew this game as much as we possibly could. We were able to pull off the win. Toni made another outstanding shot and it was a well-called play by Phil."
The incident stuck with Pippen for the rest of his career. Although he was recognized as one of the 50 greatest players of all time and was seen, in some people's minds, as the second-best player in the league (besides Jordan), he was always remembered for his Game 3 moment -- a moment where he purposely, unbelievably, kept himself off the floor in the final seconds of a must-win playoff game.
5/13/2004 - Fisher hits winner with 0.04 left
Game 5 of the semi-finals series between the Lakers and Spurs had one of the best endings of any postseason game. It's hard to believe, considering the game ended with both teams in the 70's.
A Kobe Bryant jumper put the Lakers up 72-71, with only 11.9 seconds to go. After a timeout, and a foul-to-give by Derek Fisher, the Spurs inbounded the ball to star forward Tim Duncan. Duncan pivoted for a second as he looked for someone to pass off to. He couldn't find anyone, so with the clock running down, he dribbled to the left and shot a fall-away leaner with Shaquille O'Neal all over him. As impossible as the shot was, Duncan sunk it with just 0.04 seconds on the clock.
The crowd at the SBC Center erupted -- surely there wasn't enough time for the Lakers to do anything? Well, as it turns out, one miracle shot deserves another one.
After a Lakers timeout, Gary Payton stood out of bounds with the basketball. He was looking to get it in to either Bryant or Shaq, but both were being well guarded. Backup point guard Derek Fisher cut towards the ball and Payton gave it up to him. Fisher caught it on the run and immediately hurled it at the basket, over the outstretched arms of Manu Ginobili. The shot, which replays showed he had gotten off in time, was nothing but net. The ecstatic Lakers raced off the court before even seeing the replays, while the Spurs looked on in devastation.
"One lucky shot deserves another," Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal said after the game.
San Antonio filed a protest, claiming that the clock had started late and that Fisher's shot should have been disallowed. The protest was shot down, and the Lakers went back home with a 3-2 series lead. They won Game 6 by 12 points and later advanced to the NBA Finals.
Also on this day:
1929: The New York Yankees play the Cleveland Indians at League Park; it's the first time in MLB history in which both teams have numbers on the back of their uniforms. The Indians win, 4-3.