Sunday, January 1, 2012
Andrew Bynum takes the blame
By Dave McMenamin
DENVER -- Kobe Bryant shot just 6-for-28 in the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-90 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Sunday while Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combined to shoot 15-for-27, but the Lakers big men did not blame Bryant for the disparate amount of touches.
"I put the onus on me on that, being a little tired and not getting down the court," Bynum said after finishing with 18 points on 7-for-12 shooting to go with 16 rebounds in his second game back from a four-game suspension to start the season. "If I get down the court first I have to get the ball. So, I need to make that happen in order to get the ball."
Bryant went 3-for-10 in the fourth quarter, scoring six points. Gasol scored six points in the fourth on 3-for-5 shooting.
Still, Gasol was comfortable with Bryant's shot selection.
"I hope that every shot that he takes, he makes," Gasol said. "If I want a guy to take a shot down the stretch, it would be him."
Bryant was 6-for-18 on Saturday against Denver, putting his two-game weekend total to 12-for-46 (26.1 percent).
"Maybe he hasn't shot his best or his average the last couple games," Gasol said. "He's an aggressive player, and I'm sure he'll shoot better next game. Nothing to make a big deal out of."
Bryant left the arena after the game without speaking to reporters.
Lakers coach Mike Brown did not single Bryant out, but said the team relied on too many jump shots. Los Angeles finished the game shooting 35-for-88 overall (39.8 percent) and 4-for-23 on 3-pointers (17.4 percent) despite the fact that they outscored the Nuggets 48-46 in the paint.
"He's got to continue to find his stroke, but just like I told him and the rest of the team, I told the entire team that we shot too many jump shots and there has to come a point and time where either we got to drive the ball or we got to get the ball inside, one of the two and we didn't do a good job with neither today," Brown said.
Compounding the problems that Bryant's misses on long jump shots caused was the fact that Denver's Danilo Gallinari, who was guarding Bryant, would sprint to the other end of the court after contesting Bryant's shot on the perimeter and found himself on the receiving end of outlet passes resulting in wide-open layups.
Brown, who said he "coached a bad game," wished Bynum and Gasol were utilized in the post more often.
"We didn't do a great job of getting them the ball, especially down the stretch," Brown said. "We just got to do a better job of recognizing what's working for us and they were working for us tonight."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLA.com.