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Lakers struggle for answer to shooting woes

Published Oct. 13, 2005

Clunk. The sound of the ball bouncing off the rim.

The sound of the Los Angeles Lakers hitting rock-bottom in the NBA Finals.

James Worthy, all alone at the top of the key, disdains the shot and passes off. He gets the ball right back, takes the shot and it hits the front of the rim and bounces away.

Sam Perkins, whose pressure-packed three-pointer gave the Lakers a victory in Game 1, has a wide-open chance from three-point range as the Lakers seem to be rallying in the fourth quarter. He misses badly.

The Lakers made just 30 of 82 shots Sunday as they lost 97-82 to the Chicago Bulls and fell behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.

Perkins, who made 22 of 42 shots in the first three games of the Finals, was 1-of-15 in Game 4. Worthy, nursing an ankle injury that sidelined him early in the fourth quarter, was 6-of-16. The Laker bench was a combined 3-of-14.

"Man, there in the third quarter, it got scary," Magic Johnson said. "I was wondering, "Are we ever going to hit one shot? Somebody?'


The Lakers scored 14 points in the third quarter.

Johnson and Vlade Divac were among the few Los Angeles players who did make their shots. Johnson was 6-of-13, with 22 points, and Divac was 12-of-20, with 27 points. All the other Lakers combined shot just 24.5 percent (12-of-49).

"We couldn't make nothing, couldn't generate nothing," Johnson said. "We'd have good shots and miss five or six in a row."

"If they double-team us, we have to be able to hit from outside," Los Angeles coach Mike Dunleavy said. "They were double-teaming us, and we couldn't make the shots."

"We worked on rebounding, went after that, then we were not shooting well," Perkins said. "We had good shots, but they just weren't falling. It was just one of those games, especially for me."

Asked if he would have thought that the Bulls would dominate the Lakers the way they have, Chicago's Michael Jordan shook his head and said, "No, I don't think anyone would think you could dominate a team of the stature and legacy of the Lakers. But we have played well enough to win."

Said the Lakers' Johnson, looking tired and a little dejected: "I've been in so many of these (nine finals in 12 years), and I know sometimes it goes good and sometimes it goes bad. And that basically is where we are now."