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LAKERS REPORT

Three-Point Shooting Suffers

November 07, 2000|TIM BROWN

Laker practice ended Monday and the only figure on the floor was shooting three-pointers. They were going in.

It might be reason for hope for the Lakers, as maybe somebody's getting hot. Except that the guy making them--Mike Penberthy--is on the injured list.

All of the sound guys are 15 for 50 from three-point range.

That's not helping Shaquille O'Neal. He catches the ball and forwards double-team, then guards triple. There's enough sagging going to fill every house in Bel-Air with a plastic surgeon.

After four games, Isaiah Rider is four for 12 on three-pointers. Rick Fox is two for nine. Brian Shaw is one for five, and Tyronn Lue is two for six. Kobe Bryant, who says he made 2,000 jump shots a day last summer, has made four of eight.

"We can get better at it," Bryant said. "We've got some decent three-point shooters. Tyronn is a three-point shooter. Rick Fox is a three-point shooter. I think J.R. [Rider] can be a streak shooter. He'll make big ones for us when it counts."

The trade that sent away Glen Rice generally has been lauded, but it has left a hole on the perimeter. In four games--three of them victories--opponents have shown little or no respect for the Lakers' outside shooting. Instead, defenders drift toward O'Neal, hangers-on in the most literal sense.

"You don't have to have a person who's going to lead the league in three-point shooting percentage," Bryant said. "We just need somebody who's dangerous, somebody who people are going to respect."

Fox is a career 34.4% three-point shooter, Robert Horry a 37.2% shooter. Bryant has improved. It does not appear that the club is eager to get Penberthy on the roster, although his right shoulder is improving.

A decent record and the minute statistical sample of 50 three-point shots allows the Lakers to assume they'll improve from the perimeter.

Fox smiled and said, "I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't [made my jump shots]. Otherwise, I'd be lonely."

Fox said that the shooters are in a familiar place, where they dump to O'Neal or watch Bryant slash to the rim. When it comes time to shoot, Fox said, they're almost not ready.

"It's the beginning of the season," he said. "[O'Neal and Bryant] have a lot of energy and they're taking on the world right now. They'll need us down the line."

*

After tonight's game at Houston, the Lakers get the sternest test of the first month Wednesday in San Antonio. The Spurs are averaging an NBA-best 106 points while giving up 93.7.

"San Antonio's going to be a big game," Bryant said. "It's more than just a game. There's going to be competitive fire in that one."

*

The NBA has rescinded the technical foul called against Rider in Wednesday's game against the Utah Jazz. . . . Bryant has made 28 of 30 free throws, Rider nine of nine. . . . Laker players take on the Laker Girls this week on "Family Feud."

TONIGHT

at Houston, 5:30 PST

Channel 9

* Site--Compaq Center.

* Radio--KLAC (570).

* Records--Lakers 3-1, Rockets 1-3.

* Record vs. Rockets--(1999-2000) 2-2.

* Update--Hakeem Olajuwon turns 37 in January. He averaged 10.3 points last season and, in three games this season, is averaging four. He scored four points in 34 minutes Saturday against the Clippers. The Rockets have four players averaging in double figures, among them Steve Francis, last season's co-rookie of the year. Former Clipper Maurice Taylor is averaging 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds.

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