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Derek Fisher plays 500th straight game

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher played in his 500th consecutive game Saturday against the Denver Nuggets and came up clutch in an unconventional way in the Lakers' 92-89 win.

With less than three minutes remaining and the Lakers trailing by two, Fisher had the ball dumped off to him at the end of the shot clock and was forced to launch a long 3-pointer from the left wing. The ball caromed towards the right sideline and the 37-year-old Fisher chased down the offensive rebound, diving to the floor in front of the Nuggets' 24-year-old Ty Lawson, and called timeout to retain possession for the Lakers.

"Being involved in that type of play at the end of a game, a hustle play, a play that has in a lot of ways symbolized who I was coming in to this league, who I try to be 16 years in and probably what I'll be remembered as going out at whatever point, as just a guy who was willing to do whatever it takes for his team to win," Fisher said after the game. "It might not look great all the time, I might not be as big a name, but I'll always find a way to help my team win more times than not. That's pretty cool."

Lakers co-captain Kobe Bryant tied the game on the ensuing possession by making two free throws and the Lakers went on to win, finishing the game on an 8-0 run after trailing by five with 3:40 remaining.

"That's Derek," Bryant said. "That's how you win championships, by making plays like that."

New Lakers coach Mike Brown also praised Fisher's effort, saying that the play signified who the Lakers need to be as a team this season.

"I don't know how he got it," Brown said. "He was so far from it when he got it and then he had the presence of mind to call timeout. Coming up with those 50-50 balls, not giving up on a play like that, that signifies a very good basketball team and if we can continue to do those little things that don't show up in the stat sheet ... those little things are huge."

Fisher finished with six points, five assists, three rebounds and a steal, but his most significant statistic was his one game played that made his consecutive game streak reach 500.

Fisher's streak is the longest in the league, dating back to April 15, 2005. Coincidentally, he reached game No. 500 while playing against the Nuggets' Andre Miller. Miller was the last bearer of the NBA's ironman flame, playing in 632 straight games before the streak was broken on Dec. 7, 2010 because of a suspension.

Former Lakers forward A.C. Green, a teammate of Fisher's during the 1999-00 season, holds the league record with 1,192 in a row.

"Five hundred is a lot," Fisher said. "It's pretty humbling to think about. Even to be able to play 500 total games in the NBA is big."

Fisher, who came into the league as a rookie with Bryant back in 1996, has played 1,115 regular season games and 209 playoffs games in his 16 seasons in the league, winning five championships in the process.

"It's tough," said Bryant, who is on the verge of setting another record of his own. Bryant had 17 points against Denver, finishing the game four points away from 28,000 for his career. "He takes care of himself extremely well and he works extremely hard at it, so, that's a huge accomplishment."

Fisher said he was not aware that his streak was at 499 before the game, but was well aware that his hustle play typifies the brand of basketball that Brown is trying to have the Lakers play.

"I think it's not just an identity change from Phil Jackson to Mike Brown in terms of the style and not the triangle to more traditional NBA sets, or however you want to describe it, but it really truly is a complete change in culture where we have to be physical, we have to be scrappy, we have to be able to win these games in the 80s and be able to just grind it out," said Fisher. "That will have to symbolize who we are."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.