SAN FRANCISCO — The doors to the Lakers’ shoot-around opened, and there was Dwight Howard working on a series of mid-range jumpers.
From 14 feet. Sometimes 16. A few from 18 feet.
“He can make those,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said Monday morning, sounding hopeful.
Improving his outside touch can only help Howard offensively. He has been a diminishing star late in games.
He had no fourth-quarter shots in the Lakers’ loss Friday to Washington and also none a week ago in their loss to Phoenix.
He had one fourth-quarter shot in a loss to Atlanta two weeks ago and none in the fourth quarter of a loss to Oklahoma City earlier this month.
“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. Just step out, hit a couple jump shots and that leaves defense, they’ll have to be honest.”
The Lakers play Golden State on Monday, the first part of a four-game road trip that also includes Minnesota, Milwaukee and Sacramento.