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Lakers' Dwight Howard works to expand his shooting range

Howard attempts to add some outside touch to the mix, with mixed results in loss to Golden State. Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni says, 'He shoots the ball well and we want to keep developing that.'

March 25, 2013|By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times
  • Lakers center Dwight Howard attempts a shot over Warriors center Andrew Bogut.
Lakers center Dwight Howard attempts a shot over Warriors center Andrew… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

OAKLAND — The doors opened near the end of the Lakers' shoot-around, revealing the surprise of the day: Dwight Howard shooting mid-range jumpers.

From 14 feet, 16, and a few from 18 feet.

He needs to keep working on it.

His 16-foot bank shot was too hard off the backboard early in Monday's game against Golden State. His 15-footer from the left elbow was way off the mark a minute later.

He finished with 11 points on four-for-eight shooting in the Lakers' 109-103 loss.

"We want to just expand his game all over," Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said beforehand. "If he's going to dominate the game, which he's young enough and he can, then you can't play within a four-foot box. He shoots the ball well and we want to keep developing that."

Howard was shooting 56.7% before Monday, fourth in the NBA, most of that accuracy coming from so many successful shots down low.

But adding some outside touch can only help Howard get the ball more often. He has been a diminishing star down the stretch for the Lakers. In losses this month to Washington, Phoenix, Atlanta and Oklahoma City, Howard had just one fourth-quarter shot. One shot.

Maybe he's trying to show teammates he can add to his skills.

"I can shoot the ball from anywhere. I've just got to have confidence in myself," Howard said. "I don't think this team needs me to be a three-point threat, but the more comfortable I get shooting the ball out there, I think it's going to make it harder for guys to guard our team instead of just worrying about me getting down low in the paint and banging."

Howard jokes his motto is, "If you need a three, give the ball to me."

That certainly won't be the case with the Lakers.

"He'll still post up when he can," D'Antoni said. "But when a team knows that all you can do is post up and you're not a real good foul shooter, well, he has to be really good to overcome that. So if [he] can get some jump shots and hit little 15-footers around the foul line and be able to make his foul shots ... he's great anyway but that just adds another dimension to his game."

Jamison off target

The beep came quickly and somewhat piercingly.

Antawn Jamison got up and headed to the trainer's room. Time was up for the electro-stim machine that was sending currents into his right wrist an hour before Monday's game.

How would he fare after sustaining ligament damage three days earlier?

"We're going to find out," he said.

It wasn't good.

Jamison missed his first three shots and had only five points on one-for-six shooting.

"It's one thing to get some [shots] up after practice, after shoot-around but it's totally different than when the game is going on," he said.

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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