Kobe had a ghastly shooting performance in the Lakers’ loss to Denver last night — bricking 22 of 28 shot attempts, to go along with costly turnovers — but teammate Pau Gasol wisely tried to avoid making a big deal out of it. From the OC Register: “Maybe Kobe Bryant knew better than anyone what had happened. He uncharacteristically left the arena Sunday night without speaking to reporters. For sure, Pau Gasol knew how it looked in the Lakers’ 99-90 loss to the Denver Nuggets, but Gasol didn’t want to turn a spotlight on it. [...] Gasol and Andrew Bynum were far more efficient inside, making 15 of 27 combined shots. Bynum said Lakers coach Mike Brown called ‘six or seven’ consecutive plays for Gasol early in the fourth quarter, and Gasol did produce, but the game’s end was marked by Bryant missing jumpers and not getting back well in transition defense. Denver scored the game’s final 11 points. Gasol sensed the potential for controversy, saying about Bryant: ‘I’m sure he’ll shoot better next game. Nothing to make a big deal out of.’ Bynum and Brown also tried to deflect blame from Bryant after the 3-3 Lakers’ sixth game in eight days. Again a force inside in the second game of his season with 18 points and 16 rebounds, Bynum blamed his lack of conditioning for his two-point fourth quarter, saying the onus is on him to run for deep post position. Brown said he did talk to Bryant and all the players not settling for jumpers, but concluded: ‘Bad-coached game. Start with me.’ Brown’s directions are to stress inside play, and Gasol said: ‘We do have to be a little more aggressive (and) try to get to the lane.’ But Gasol noted he set up Bryant for a couple of open jump shots late. ‘If I want a guy to take a shot down the stretch,’ Gasol said, ‘it will be him.’”