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Saturday, May 5, 2012
Lakers 3s don't fall in Game 3

By Dave McMenamin

DENVER -- The Lakers didn't exactly light teams up from the outside during the regular season -- ranking 25th in the league by shooting 32.6 percent as a team on 3-pointers -- but Friday in Denver they especially couldn't deliver from deep.

L.A. shot 6-for-25 on 3-pointers (24.0 percent), with Kobe Bryant (3-for-10), Ramon Sessions (0-for-4), Matt Barnes (1-for-5) and Steve Blake (1-for-4) being the main culprits.

While the Lakers settled for shooting blanks from outside, it also negated their efforts on the inside as they were outscored 52-32 in the paint by the Nuggets.

Still, the team claimed they'll keep shooting 3s in the future. They just have to make more.

"If they double, I’m going to kick it out," Andrew Bynum said. "That’s the right thing to do."

Bryant didn't have a problem with the amount of attempts, so much as how they occurred.

"A lot of them came in desperation situations with low clock, because (Bynum is) getting double teamed he’s throwing it out on the perimeter and guys are catching the ball with 3-4 seconds left on the (shot) clock and they have to chuck some s--- up," Bryant said. "We got to penetrate and pitch and do other things that create other opportunities for some of our other guys like Matt and Steve and some of these other guys where they’re not just sitting on the 3-point line all game long."

Both Bynum and Lakers coach Mike Brown said that Lakers players could take a step or two in after catching the ball on the 3-point line to take a closer shot, but Brown stressed the importance of staying patient with the 3 to ultimately open things up inside.

"We did shoot a lot of 3s (in Game 3), but in the same breath too, that’s a shot that we’re going to have to hit," Brown said. "We’re going to have to hit that shot, especially when the ball goes into the post in an inside-out situation, in order to keep them honest."

Bryant offered two solutions: starting the offense earlier in the shot clock so if the ball does get kicked outside from Bynum after he's doubled, there is enough time to make another pass or two and also, diversifying the opportunities for players like Barnes and Blake by having them cut more instead of staying stationary on the perimeter.

"We got to start our offense a little earlier and also do things to get guys moving," Bryant said. "The other guys -- not myself, Pau (Gasol) and Andrew -- but the other guys where they feel like they have more of a rhythm. If you’re just standing there on the 3-point line all game long, it’s tough to shoot those shots and make those shots."

The Lakers shot 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) in Game 1 from downtown but just 2-for-15 in Game 2 (13.3 percent).

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.