Derek Fisher fought off a sinus infection and started his 525th consecutive regular-season game, the longest streak among active players.
It remains to be seen whether he can also fight off his dwindling playing time.
The veteran Lakers guard played 25 minutes Friday against Phoenix after logging only 19 in each of the previous two games, completing his lowest three-game total since November 2006, when he was with Utah.
Lakers Coach Mike Brown has had the Talk with Fisher, telling him he might not finish games as often this season. Along with that would be a decrease in playing time.
“Yeah, I talked to him,” Brown said Friday. “Before Steve Blake got hurt, [Blake] was finishing games for us. I just felt that’s the direction that I needed to go with this team.”
Fisher, 37, was averaging 5.1 points and shooting 35.2% before Friday. Blake missed 13 games because of a rib injury and was averaging 6.9 points and shooting 36.9%.
“What has happened the last couple of games is I’ll put Steve in the game in the third [quarter] and I’ll just let him run because a) I feel like he’s doing a good job or b) I feel like I don’t have time to take him out because I’d want to put him back in a couple of minutes later,” Brown said.
Fisher finished Friday’s game, replacing Blake near the midpoint of the fourth quarter and totaling 12 points in the Lakers’ 111-99 victory.
Brown has a “minute sheet” for each game, a rough draft of how he sees playing time being parceled out for each player.
“Fish is a guy that I have slotted for 22 minutes ideally, but this is not an ideal world,” Brown said, adding that Fisher should have been getting more playing time than 19 minutes a game.
Fisher has one more season after this on his contract for $3.4 million. Blake, who turns 32 later this month, is under contract through 2013-14 at $4 million annually.
Free-agent forward-guard J.R. Smith signed with the New York Knicks, picking them over the Lakers, Clippers, Orlando, Indiana and Chicago.
Brown spoke with Smith this week about joining the Lakers, but they are so far over the salary cap they could offer Smith a comparatively small $450,000.
Smith signed a two-year deal reportedly worth $4.3 million with the Knicks, who had part of their mid-level exception to offer him.
Smith, 26, averaged 12.3 points last season for Denver. He would have provided help at small forward for the Lakers and backup support at shooting guard as well.
In a sign of Andrew Goudelock’s slightly increasing profile, officials from Chinese shoe company Peak wrote a greeting to Chinese vice president Xi Jinping on Goudelock’s shoes Friday night.
Xi was at Staples Center for the game against Phoenix. Goudelock has a two-year endorsement deal with Peak.
“Just to be able to represent a company is the biggest thing for me,” said Goudelock, selected 46th overall by the Lakers last June. “I’m trying to make my way. They’re trying to make their way. It’s a good fit.”
Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.