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Lakers still feeling pressure on the road

The Lakers are 13-2 at home and 5-10 in away games, but they have a chance to improve Sunday at Phoenix.

February 18, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • Andrew Bynum gets double-teamed by the 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen during the Lakers' 95-90 loss in Philadelphia earlier this month.
Andrew Bynum gets double-teamed by the 76ers' Spencer Hawes and Lavoy… (Yong Kim / Philadelphia…)

Andrew Bynum is tired of hearing the question so he turns to teammate Pau Gasol.

"What's the difference, man, home and road?" he asked, playfully avoiding reporters' queries about the Lakers' road woes.

The difference is this: The Lakers are 13-2 at home, among the best in the league, and 5-10 on the road, far from the best in the league.

They get a chance to improve their record Sunday at Phoenix, trying not to become road worriers.

"It's kind of a boo-boo but we can do better," Bynum said. "I think we have got a big opportunity this week. The next few games are real important for us."

They've actually improved upon their 1-7 start on the road, which included losses at Sacramento, Denver, Portland (of course), the Clippers, Miami, Orlando and Milwaukee.

"We just started off badly, so now every road game there's a little extra meaning there, a little extra pressure," Gasol said.

Three of their four games are on the road before next weekend's All-Star break, including a dicey back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday in Dallas and Oklahoma City.

"Obviously we're trying to get better on the road," Gasol said. "And continue to be good at home."

He's a shooter

Kobe Bryant hadn't been shooting very well, trudging through 37% accuracy in a seven-game span before breaking out of it Friday.

He made 14 of 25 shots (56%) and had 36 points in the Lakers' 111-99 victory against Phoenix.

"I guess his shooting percentage was down the last few games and [Friday] he was determined to come out and put the ball in the hole one time after another," Gasol said. "He was as aggressive as he can be and he was effective. That's always a positive sign when he does that for us."

Bryant made eight of 12 shots in the third quarter, a high quantity taken but also a high quantity made.

"I think he was just taking rhythm shots — 15 feet, a lot of little drives," Bynum said. "Once he feels it, it's done."

Bryant has taken 718 shots, continuing to lead the league by a large margin. Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant is second in the NBA, taking 577 shots.

Bryant is averaging 23.9 shots a game, well below the career-high 27.2 attempts he averaged in 2004-05, the first season after the Lakers traded Shaquille O'Neal.

Bryant is shooting 44% this season, lagging behind his 45.4% career accuracy.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

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