Dwight Howard scored 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting while the rest of the… (Ronald Martinez / Getty…)
SAN ANTONIO — There's one big, blistering question facing the Lakers.
So, uh, who's going to score for you guys?
In three games without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have shot 37.9% and averaged 89.7 points, the latter stat padded by nine points in overtime against Houston last week.
They shot and shot and missed and missed in their playoff opener against San Antonio. They need to find someone besides Dwight Howard to make something happen Wednesday in Game 2.
There are some doubters.
"They can't," TNT analyst Kenny Smith said. "They can't. It's not enough."
Don't anyone tweet that to Bryant. OK, go ahead.
The Lakers could use a fire under their chairs with Bryant presumably watching again from home, though they didn't seem overly concerned about the lack of scoring power.
"I think we missed shots, shots that we normally make," said Howard, who made eight of 12 in Game 1. "Scoring's not the issue. Defense is."
The Lakers held San Antonio to 37.6% shooting in Game 1 and lost, 91-79. Defense wasn't the problem. Scoring and turnovers (18 against the Spurs) were the issue.
Steve Nash made six of 15 shots (40%), Steve Blake made five of 13 (38%), Pau Gasol was seven for 16 (44%) and Metta World Peace barely registered on the accuracy meter (two for nine, 22%).
The Lakers' reserves were just as inaccurate, outscored by San Antonio's bench, 40-10, and shooting 25%.
At best, it's boring basketball. At worst, it's losing basketball.
"It can't really get much worse, right?" Gasol said of the sagging accuracy. "There's room for improvement. There's hope."
Gasol seems like the likely candidate to step up and score. Or, if Bryant had his choice, Gasol would post, post, post and score.
But Nash was also off the mark after missing three weeks because of hip and hamstring soreness.
"He missed a lot of shots that he would normally make," Howard said. "But they were good shots and throughout this series, I think he's going to be a lot better at making those shots."
Bryant, for all his scoring prowess this season, sometimes took too many bad shots and passively went through many defensive rotations to save energy. But the Lakers miss him in many ways beyond his 27.3-point scoring average.
"The one thing Kobe impacts is the energy that you have on the offensive end because you have to guard him," TNT's Smith said.
"For me, the ability of him putting pressure on [Manu] Ginobili, putting pressure on [Tony] Parker, Kawhi Leonard impacts their offense. Without that, I don't think you can make that up, especially in six games, seven games, when you haven't had a training camp, haven't had an opportunity to do that for a whole season."
Should Kobe tweet?
If World Peace created a hashtag to summarize this whole Twittergate thing, it would probably be #letkobetweet
The Lakers forward said he had no problem with Bryant's Twitter activity during the Lakers' Game 1 loss.
"I love when Kobe tweets," World Peace said Tuesday. "Kobe should tweet Game 2 the whole time, every possession, critique us, criticize us, chew us out. ... I love Kobe. Kobe's great.
"He should coach. Put a suit and tie on, a bow tie, put the Mamba symbol right here and get on the bench and coach. Drag that [injured] leg here. Kobe's a great coach. Too bad he's not going to coach after [retirement]. He would be a great coach."
Bryant said he would not tweet about Game 2 because it received so much attention after Game 1, some of it negative. But was it really a distraction?
"Absolutely not," World Peace said. "I'm a distraction. I'm much more of a distraction than Kobe."
World Peace enjoyed the exchange between Bryant and Coach Mike D'Antoni after Game 1. Bryant was critical of the Lakers on Twitter, saying they needed to go to the low post more often, but D'Antoni rolled his eyes at Bryant's tweets and called him a fan while talking to reporters.
"Mike D'Antoni's slick, boy. That was awesome," World Peace said. "I love that. Kobe was awesome tweeting coach's decisions on the court and then coach tweeted him, or messaged him back. It's all about that."
D'Antoni didn't want to jump back into the Twitter fray Tuesday. "I can't even comment because I don't even know how to tweet," he said.
Howard also distanced himself from the conversation.
"I don't check my Twitter during the game so I don't know. I think we've just got to go play. We can't worry about what anybody is saying," Howard said. "We all understand he wants to be here. He wants to be part of the playoffs. We wish he was here. We wish he was healthy."
World Peace, by the way, didn't follow Bryant on Twitter as of Tuesday afternoon.
"I follow the Dalai Lama, I follow a couple of other people," World Peace said. "I haven't gotten a direct message from the Dalai. I sent him a few direct messages, but he didn't respond. I guess he's too good for Metta World Peace."
Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.