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Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Andrew Bynum will play, Kendrick Perkins is out

By Brian Kamenetzky

That's the big news out of Wednesday's media availability ahead of Thursday night's Game 7 between the Lakers and Celtics.

It's very hard to predict exactly how long Andrew Bynum will be able to go or how long he'll play, but as it's been all postseason, Bynum emphasized today the importance of doing whatever he can. Obviously, there's no Game 8. Anything he has left- I don't think it's much- can be invested in tomorrow's game.

Losing Kendrick Perkins, who said Wednesday he suffered two torn ligaments in his right knee, is a major blow for the Celtics. Obviously he plays a huge role for Boston defensively, providing physical heft inside and serving as an excellent help and weakside defender, particularly when compared to the guys who will replace him in Rasheed Wallace and Glen Davis. While Perkins is limited offensively, he plays an important role in the off-ball screen game so vital to springing Ray Allen on the perimeter. Beyond those things, when Perkins isn't in the lineup, it essentially wipes out any disadvantage the Lakers may have had should Bynum prove unable to bring much. No longer can Boston throw endless bodies at Pau Gasol and wear him down physically. The Lakers will take 48 minutes of Gasol vs. the combination of Wallace and Kevin Garnett.

It's a shame a championship game can be altered by this sort of thing- inside the locker room, every Laker I heard talking about Perkins' injury hoped he could play- but it is, as they say, what it is. And it's a huge swing in favor of L.A.