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Pau Gasol can put ball in basket, if only he'll put it up

LAKERS FYI

Lakers center shoots 70% in loss to Hawks but is perhaps too unselfish, logging the fewest attempts (10) among the starters while the other four combine to go 16 for 55.

March 30, 2009|Mike Bresnahan

ATLANTA — Pau Gasol led the Lakers in points but was fifth in shot attempts in a grisly 86-76 loss Sunday to the Atlanta Hawks.

Should he have taken more shots on an afternoon when nobody else could shoot straight?

"Obviously, our outside shot wasn't going down and maybe we could have probed a little better going inside and see what was going on there," Gasol said. "It was a weird game."

Gasol had 21 points in a typically efficient seven-for-10 effort. He was the only Lakers starter to make more than half his shots. It wasn't even close, as the other four combined to go 16 for 55 (29.1%).

Gasol rarely says a condemning word about anybody. Sunday was no different, when he allowed that his teammates "at times" had difficulty getting the ball to him in the game.

Phil Jackson saw it a slightly different way.

He acknowledged that Gasol should have been sought out more often in the post, but the Lakers coach also said Gasol should have looked to shoot more often when he did get the ball.

"[Atlanta] closed the space a lot of times and he hit guys that were wide open for shots and they didn't make shots. He might have been a little too unselfish at times," Jackson said.

A different view

Even Kobe Bryant doesn't score 25 points every game.

In fact, he has scored fewer than 13 four times this season, matching the number of times he's had such games in the previous three seasons combined.

And yet, Jackson sees it as a sign of growth, saying Bryant is more "content" with such games this season, assuming the Lakers win them.

"It hasn't affected him," Jackson said. "He's been able to not have to chase the scoring title or the dominance from scoring, and let his teammates take advantage of the fact he might get double-teamed, and ride that. It's much easier this year for him."

Bryant's scoring average has dropped to 27.3 points from 28.3 a game last season, when he won his first NBA most-valuable-player award.

His shooting percentage has dropped in recent weeks, though he is still making 46.6% of his shots, which would be the third-most accurate season of his 13-year career if it holds up.

Watch this

Bryant has endorsed a variety of products in his career, including Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread and worldwide shoe giant Nike.

Now he has signed on with high-end Swiss watches.

Bryant will endorse Nubeo, a well-known watchmaker in Switzerland that will make its U.S. debut this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bryant is pitching a limited-edition run of the watches -- known as the "Black Mamba" series, as per his nickname -- that will range from $21,000 to $285,000. There will be almost 1,100 of them made.

--

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

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