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On L.A.'s next trip, Trevor Ariza grabbed his own miss to get another 24 seconds and Fisher lined up and drilled his 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 94-91.
As he retreated down court and Orlando called a timeout, the Lakers bench stormed onto the court and surrounded the popular Fisher, who felt obliged to come through.
"I have a responsibility to my team that if I'm going to be on the floor, then I have to make a difference," he said. "None of us can continue to expect that Kobe is going to save us."
In NBA finals history, only two players have made more 3s than Fisher's 40: Robert Horry (56) and Michael Jordan (42).
"It's character," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson, a victory away from a record 10th NBA championship ring. "We've always said the character has got to be in players if they are going to be great players. You just can't draft it."
Ariza and Pau Gasol each had 16 for Los Angeles. Ariza, traded by Orlando to L.A. in 2007, had 13 of the Lakers' 30 points in the third quarter.
With his team up by three at the end of regulation, Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy felt it was too early to foul the Lakers. With his team missing free throws, he didn't want to get into a foul-shooting contest.
Later, he regretted the decision.
"That one will haunt me forever," he said.
The Lakers spent the first half in foul trouble, and left the floor at halftime down 49-37.
They came back a different team.
"On a championship run, you're going to have moments where you make big plays," Bryant said. "And tonight was one of them."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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