After Memphis loss, Lakers' Ed Davis returns to practicing free throws

After Memphis loss, Lakers' Ed Davis returns to practicing free throws
Lakers forward Ed Davis reacts after scoring a basket while being fouled during a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center on Friday. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Ed Davis took about 150 free throws at Saturday's practice.

He was serious about that "get back in the gym" comment and worked for a long time on them.


The young power forward missed the second of two free throws with 2.8 seconds left Friday, allowing Memphis to escape with a victory over the Lakers.

He was upset in the locker room afterward and said teammates came to his locker almost one by one.

They told him to stay positive. He told himself to keep working.

His free-throw stroke had been changed earlier in the week by Coach Byron Scott, who wanted him to move a little left at the line.

He was a 49% free-throw shooter entering the game but made six of seven before the last one rimmed out.

It dimmed an otherwise solid game in which he had 20 points and eight rebounds against one of the league's top teams.

"I think he knows that he played well," Scott said. "But I know him — against that team, he wanted to knock those down. That's unfortunate that he didn't, but it still didn't take away from the fact that he played an excellent game."

Davis, 25, spent 1½ seasons in Memphis before signing with the Lakers as a free agent.

Not a fan

Kobe Bryant was asked a rather open-ended question about the limited number of skilled big men in the NBA.

He was very precise and critical about where blame should be placed: on the Amateur Athletic Union.

"AAU basketball. Horrible, terrible AAU basketball. It's stupid," Bryant said. "It doesn't teach our kids how to play the game, at all.

"In America it's a big problem for us. We're not teaching players how to play all-around basketball. That's why you have Pau [Gasol] and you have Marc [Gasol] and the reason why 90% of the [San Antonio] Spurs roster are European players, because they have more skills."

Bryant grew up in Italy and said he learned a wider range of fundamentals than the average U.S. player coming up through the AAU system.


"I was kind of fortunate, because when I was growing up in Italy, the Red Auerbachs, the Tex Winters were doing clinics and camps in Europe," he said. "They were teaching the club coaches — all the club coaches were just following their advice and their fundamentals, and they were teaching us kids all that stuff. Me, Manu Ginobili, all these guys that grew up around that same time, we're a product of that."

And what if he had grown up instead in the U.S.?

"I probably wouldn't be able to dribble with my left, shoot with my left, have good footwork," he said.

While he has some ideas on how to address the problem, Bryant isn't sure there is a way to actually fix it.

"Teach players the game at an earlier age and stop treating them like cash cows for everybody to profit off of them," Bryant said. "You've got to teach them the game. You have to give them instruction."

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.