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Lakers' three-point shooting takes big dip in December

Coach Phil Jackson says it's because other teams have seen how the Lakers play and are defending better, and players are tired and don't have the leg strength.

January 02, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Lakers guard Shannon Brown reacts after hitting a three-point shot against Boston last season. This season the reserve and his teammates haven't been nearly as accurate from long range.
Lakers guard Shannon Brown reacts after hitting a three-point shot against… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

The Lakers shot the ball very well from three-point range in November.

Not so well in December.

Why?

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson explained, saying there were two reasons.

"Defenses are getting better against us by teams around the league as they see us play," Jackson said. "They have the ability to make adjustments and secondly, legs. People get tired and they don't have the same amount of leg strength."

The Lakers shot 41.2% from three-point range in November, but that dipped to 31% in December.

They played 15 games both months.

"Shots are about, especially outside shooting, strength in legs," Jackson said.

Jackson talks to Blake

Jackson could see that Steve Blake had a concerned look on his face every time he missed a shot.

So Jackson pulled Blake aside for a little chat to encourage his backup point guard.

Jackson told Blake that his shots have rimmed in and out.

Blake seemingly has lost his stroke at the same time the Lakers have as a team.

He made 41.7% of his shots in November, 47.8% of his three-pointers.

In December, Blake made just 33.3% of his shots, 31.8% of his three-pointers.

"They haven't been off very much. He had one shot that I thought wasn't on track, but everything seems to be on track," Jackson said. "So I said, 'It's just a matter of that minuscule amount right now and you don't get the quantity of shots that you can say I'm really having a terrible shooting time. You don't have to over-focus on something like that.' "

Jackson said that if Blake were taking 12 to 15 shots per game, then it would be an issue.

"We're just trying to keep him confident and tell him to keep on shooting the ball when he's open and not have a second thought," Jackson said. "That second thought probably creates an inch or two that's not the right dimension on the shot."

Dallas' Butler down

The Dallas Mavericks have become one of the Western Conference teams that are on the Lakers' radar.

Dallas had been playing well, but it just lost forward Caron Butler because of a right knee injury.

Reports said Butler, who played one season for the Lakers, could have either a partially torn patellar tendon, which would put him out for two months, or a full tear, which would sideline him for the rest of the season.

"He just leaves a vacuum that's going to be very hard for them to fill," Jackson said about Butler, who is averaging 15 points per game.

The Lakers play at Dallas, which has played without power forward Dirk Nowitzki (sprained right knee), on Jan. 19.

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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