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A quiet struggle
Lakers' Shaw looks to regain his touch from long range
Posted: Tuesday June 13, 2000 11:57 AM
By John Donovan, CNNSI.com
This is a special edition of the NBA Week at a Glance. It will appear every day until the NBA Finals conclude.
INDIANAPOLIS -- It's a good thing for Brian Shaw that Glen Rice is around. It's a good thing that Kobe Bryant hurt his ankle.
And if the Los Angeles Lakers weren't still up in the NBA Finals, 2 games to 1? Well, Brian Shaw might be feeling a little heat right about now.
As it is, the Lakers' guard quietly lurks in the background of these Finals, looking for his shot and hoping that it comes back soon -- like, before the critical Game 4 on Wednesday night.
"Last week, it seemed like everything that I put up was going in the basket. And this week, it's nothing at all," Shaw said. "I mean, it's nothing physical that I'm doing. I just gotta mentally see the ball going in and knock it down."
With the Indiana Pacers playing L.A. center Shaquille O'Neal tighter and tighter and the status of injured guard Kobe Bryant still up in the air, it's up to Shaw, among others, to provide the outside punch for the Lakers.
So far, Shaw's punch has been pretty pathetic.
Through the first three games of the Finals, Shaw is shooting a paltry .214 from the floor and averaging just 4.7 points. Worse than that, he's been shut out from beyond the arc, missing all 10 of his 3-point tries.
It's a huge contrast to what he did against the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference finals, when he nailed 11 of his 18 3-point attempts (.611) as the Lakers won in seven games.
Shaw has always had good streaks to go with the bad. In 1993, while playing for the Miami Heat, he drained an NBA-record 10 3-pointers in a game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Shaw made 31 percent of his 3-pointers this season as a backup point guard averaging almost 17 minutes a game. He's seen his playing time bounced up to better than 19 minutes a game during the playoffs, thanks in part to a rare start in Game 3 when Bryant was out with his ankle injury.
And now that Rice is embroiled in a very public feud with coach Phil Jackson over playing time, Shaw could see himself with even more time on the floor -- if he finds his stroke.
"I'm getting good looks. It's just not in that same rhythm that I was," he said. "I just have to keep working the next few days to get back in my rhythm."
If he finds it, it would be nothing but good news for the Lakers. If he doesn't, not even injuries to a star or a coach-player feud could keep him from feeling the heat on this one.
On to the NBA Finals Day at a Glance, which on the second of two straight days without a game asks: Does anyone around here remember Chris Mullin?
The answer: Sure. Crew cut. A gym tan. Sweet stroke. He's here, just hoping to get in a little playing time for the Pacers. A little is all that is likely, unfortunately.
| Glen Rice's Ego |
|The shooting wanna-be-star of the Lakers is complaining about playing time. We oughta be complaining about his timing.|
| Reggie Miller's Emotions |
|Indy's shooter plays on the stuff, needs to get all worked up to have a good game, he says. Still looks like whining to us. |
| Kobe Bryant's Ankle |
|He can play, probably. But can he play like Kobe? Is a 75 percent Kobe good enough? How about 50 percent? |
| Larry Bird's Headaches |
|Getting Mark Jackson enough playing time, getting Jalen Rose interested, getting Reggie to calm down, getting Rik Smits to hit a shot. No winder Bird's outta here after this. ||
| HOT: Pacers' point guards |
There's not a point guard in this series who will tear you up, but the combination of Jackson and Travis Best -- especially if Best plays like he did Sunday -- could work magic for the Pacers.
| COLD: Shaq's free-throw form |
Coach Phil Jackson broke it down for reporters Monday and basically said it's bad and it will always be that way. Worse, it's losing games for the Lakers.
| HOT: Reggie's free-throw form |
All Shaq needs to do is watch Miller, who is 20-for-20 from the line in the Finals. Reggie may not have the best shooting form, but he gets the job done.
| COLD: NBA ratings |
Down during the playoffs, too, according to commissioner David Stern. Still strong, the league insists, but still down.
| Coach Larry Bird . Maybe he's not Mr. Motivation, maybe his approach doesn't work as well with the young guys. But Bird's professionalism -- "They're paid well, so I expect them to do the job." -- should be appreciated.
| Coach Phil Jackson . He is Mr. Motivation, and a heck of a coach, too. But could you at least talk to Glen Rice? Unless this is another of your ploys to get him going ...
| Money Talk . Rice and Jalen Rose and others ... this isn't the time to be bringing up free-agent talk and next year and all that. Wait 'til this thing is over, please.
| Glen Rice . Wrong time, wrong place, wrong approach, wrong everything. And, as far as next year goes, this isn't doing you any good.
| The Pacers' Bench |
| Swish : Right now, they're outplaying the Lakers' subs.|
Brick : If only the starters would hold up their end.
| The Conseco Crowd |
| Swish : It's the best thing the Pacers have going for them.|
Brick : That goldish yellow is the Lakers' color, too.
| Bottled Up in Indy |
| Swish : Two days off should mean two teams ready to play Wednesday.|
Brick : Which could mean some rust and pent-up frustrations.
| Back to L.A. |
| Swish : A win by the Pacers on Wednesday means we're headed West for Game 6.|
Brick : Are we ever gonna end this season?
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