Meeks shoots on despite Lakers' woes

With the other additions that the Los Angeles Lakers made prior to the season, it looked like Jodie Meeks would be along for a happy ride to a potential NBA championship.

Things, obviously, don't always work out as expected.

The Lakers, who added Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to go along with Kobe Bryant, have lost five games in a row to fall to 15-20 and are just as far out of a playoff spot as Meeks' old Philadelphia team.

The change from Mike Brown to Mike D'Antoni has made little difference, although at least the Norcross graduate and former Kentucky star has got more playing time under the new coach.

Meeks, who signed with the Lakers as a free agent, had 14 points in one recent game and 12 in another. Los Angeles lost both.

The Lakers play at Oklahoma City (27-8) tonight and are still without injured big men Howard and Pau Gasol.

It doesn't look like a good opportunity to end the losing streak.

Meeks, 25, is trying to do what he can, averaging 8.6 points in 19 minutes per game. But his shooting percent is down to 37.8 percent overall and 36.5 percent on his signature 3-pointers.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard has had a couple of breakouts, though. He scored 21 against Denver on Nov. 30 and had 24 points against Washington on Dec. 14. The Lakers did win both those games.

In a season of more chaos than calm, D'Antoni is happy to have Meeks around.

"He's always able to beak a game open because of his (3-pointers)," the coach told the Los Angeles Daily News. "But it's not just that. He provides energy. ... He brings that every day. ... If he hits some shots, great. If not, I'll take him out and then put him back later."

"I shoot with confidence," Meeks told the newspaper. "So no matter how many I miss, (D'Antoni) tells me to shoot it. When I don't shoot it is when the problems start. But I don't have to worry about that."