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Harris Looking for Balance in Bryant’s Shots and Drives

Although Kobe Bryant appeared in a nice offensive rhythm Sunday, when he made five of his first nine shots against the Washington Wizards before missing the final three, Coach Del Harris is still waiting for his 19-year-old swingman to become the outside threat of last season.

“Kobe is getting to where he’s passing up open shots to get drive off and he ends up putting himself in an off-balance situation,” Harris said.

“Teams are really scouting him to dribble. It’s an easy adjustment to make. If you’re open, shoot it.”

Although the coach is talking about the perimeter game in general and not just three-pointers, Bryant is down to 34.4% from behind the arc for the season and 31.3% in the last six games.

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It’s an important night for the Lakers. And they’re also playing the Toronto Raptors.

Meanwhile, back in the old country, their two biggest competitors are facing off, with Utah playing at Seattle. The Jazz is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Lakers for the best record in the Western Conference, the SuperSonics two ahead for the top spot in the Pacific Division.

“You are just glad one of them is going to lose,” Harris said. “We’ll take whatever is given to us and make it work.”

TONIGHT

at Toronto

* 4 p.m.

* Channel 9,

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6 p.m.

Records: Lakers 51-20, Raptors 15-55.

Record vs. Raptors--1-0.

Update--The Lakers begin a four-game trip, finishing the schedule against the Eastern Conference in the process, in which only one of the opponents are better than a game over .500. That’s Cleveland, the third stop. On the other hand, they have already lost home games to two of them, the Cavaliers and Nets. The Lakers beat the Raptors unimpressively at the Great Western Forum.

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