Lakers struggling from inside the arc

The Lakers don't always live and die by the three.

They sometimes live and die several feet inside the three-point line, a dangerous existence.

They've fallen prey to the casual range of 15-19 feet, shooting too many times from there (107) for Coach Mike D'Antoni's comfort.

It's no-man's land, he feels. Shoot three-pointers or go for something inside five feet.

The Lakers' accuracy from 15-19 feet is 29%, third worst in the NBA before Saturday's games, according to stats. Their three-point accuracy, by the way, is a solid 39.7%.

It's why D'Antoni chafed when asked whether the Lakers shoot too many threes after a 96-85 loss Friday to New Orleans. He's fine with them.

"We try to get layups, fouls and threes. That's the way the game should be played," he said.

Who are the guilty parties from not-quite-three-point range? Take your pick.

Pau Gasol is five for 27 from 15-19 feet, a startlingly low 18.5% for a four-time All-Star with typically good outside touch.

Steve Blake is one for 11, Steve Nash is one for nine, Jordan Farmar two for 10, Nick Young five for 15, and Jodie Meeks missed all four of his shots from that area.

The Lakers' top player from 15-19 feet? Chris Kaman. He's made nine of 16 for 56.3%.

The Lakers are aware of their dead zone. Now they've got to turn knowledge into reality.

"That's what we talk about, the trend of basketball is kind of going statistically where the three ball and layups are the shots you want to get," Blake said. "A lot of teams are playing that way, even the top offensive teams in the league." advanced statistics gather players' shooting percentages into the following clusters: inside five feet, five to nine feet, 10-14 feet, 15-19 feet, 20-24 feet and 25-29 feet. The three-point arc is 22 feet in the corners and 23 feet 9 inches atop the key.

Going streaking

The Lakers have won 22 consecutive games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, their opponent Sunday at Staples Center. It's the NBA's longest active streak.

"That's a lot," Farmar said. "It's a pretty good run for any team to have. Hopefully we don't give it up this weekend."

The Lakers just gave one up Friday, allowing their 11-game winning streak against New Orleans to end.

Minnesota hasn't beaten the Lakers since a double-overtime 117-107 victory in March 2007. Kevin Garnett was traded to Boston four months later.

Twenty-two consecutive victories against anybody is striking at any level. Just don't quiz the Lakers on it.

"Ninety percent of us wouldn't know that," Blake said, smiling. "I don't think it really matters."

Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

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