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LAKERS REPORT

Penberthy Added for Some Pop

November 13, 2000|TIM BROWN

Ranked 26th in three-point shooting and tired of watching Shaquille O'Neal squished by triple teams, the Lakers activated shooter Mike Penberthy from injured reserve Sunday.

Guard Tyronn Lue went to injured reserve, apparently because the right ankle he sprained in training camp flared up.

"I'm hurt, man," he said.

While the Lakers liked the way Lue quickened the pace of the game, defenses did not honor his shot. It allowed for yet another defender to sag toward O'Neal.

Penberthy, who showed a sure shooting stroke during camp before injuring his right shoulder, made 42.9% of his three-point attempts last season in Europe, where the arc is closer than the NBA's.

"If you leave him open he's going to hit it," Horace Grant said. "He's been doing it in practice. I wouldn't bet against him."

While Penberthy, a 25-year-old rookie who graduated from The Master's College four years ago, presents an offensive option, he alone does not figure to shake the Lakers from their early offensive malaise.

"To put so much pressure on a guy who hasn't played a game in the NBA just isn't fair," Grant said. "But, he has the team's confidence behind him. If he's open, shoot the ball."

*

Derek Fisher will undergo a bone scan Tuesday to determine the condition of his surgically repaired right foot. He hopes to resume basketball activities by Christmas. He could rejoin the team a month or so later.

Meantime, he's had a lot of time to sit and mull the state of the Lakers.

"We have yet to put together some consistent basketball," Fisher said. "It's early in the season. But, it doesn't seem like we're playing with the type of fire the defending champion needs."

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After shooting 23.5% from three-point range and 31.4% overall through six games, Rick Fox was replaced as the starter at small forward.

Kobe Bryant moved to the wing and Brian Shaw started with Ron Harper in the back court.

Coach Phil Jackson has said he would experiment at small forward, and this was the first sign of it.

"That's going to be a toss-up position and I think that that's OK," he said. "Last year we were able to use the four spot as the toss-up spot. This year we might have to have a by-proxy player that plays the three position. We've got three or four players who can play there. So, we feel real good about covering the space."

Fox, he said, merely must "Make shots. Simple as that. Not turn the ball over. Those are two things that are critical to us."

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The Lakers have not had a sub-.500 record since Nov. 25, 1995, when they were 6-7.

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