Everything put into context, Andrew Bynum played arguably his most impressive game as a Laker Wednesday night in L.A.'s Game 2 win over the Hornets. He made eight of 11 shots for 17 points, added 11 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes of burn.
When healthy and playing at a high level, Bynum is the ingredient elevating them from strong contender to prohibitive title favorite. Assuming the rest of the cast performs as as expected, what team can beat the Lakers four times in seven games with Bynum dominating inside? In a great story for Sports Illustrated, Lee Jenkins gets inside Bynum the person and player, detailing the path bringing him to his opportunity this postseason, the first championship drive he's experienced while healthy enough to truly contribute.
He is, to say the least, not your ordinary baller:
"...Bynum is massive even by NBA standards, taller than Magic center Dwight Howard and 20 pounds heavier, with downy-soft hands and feet made nimble from a childhood playing tennis and soccer. But all the scouts could see that. What Los Angeles noticed was the gray matter. Growing up, Bynum cracked open telephones so he could examine the circuitry and put them back together. At seven he was in the chess club at his local Barnes & Noble. At 14 he was installing Microsoft Windows on broken laptops his mother found in her office. His favorite subject in school was physics. He only considered colleges where he could major in mechanical engineering. His plan after graduation was to land a job as a computer programmer. He can describe the difference between a quad-core and dual-core processor in such detail that it almost makes sense. "He cares deeply about the way things work," says L.A. coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers knew Bynum would encounter setbacks, but while the typical teenager might shut down, his instinct was to keep tinkering. It's how he is wired. "I want to master everything," Bynum says. "I want to understand what the hell is going on."
The story contains heaps of great insight, and is well worth the read.