Los Angeles Lakers: benching

Where was Bynum?

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
8:08
PM PT
McMenamin By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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There wasn't foul trouble or an injury or an ill-advised 3-pointer that had Andrew Bynum glued to the bench for all of the fourth quarter and during both overtimes in the Lakers' epic 114-106 come-from-behind win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

If you believe Lakers coach Mike Brown, it was simply a coaching decision to continue to ride backup big man Jordan Hill, who was playing his best game as a pro (14 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks), rather than an intentional benching to punish Bynum.

"That group that we had with Jordan and Pau [Gasol], they played well in the first half," Brown said. Hill played nine minutes in the second quarter when the Lakers were able to cut an 11-point deficit down to just one. Bynum played just five minutes in the second quarter. "So in the second half when we didn't play as well in the third quarter and I went with that group to start the fourth quarter and they went on a little run, I think it was a 10-point game at about the time that I usually put the big fella [Bynum] back in. I said, 'You know what? This group is playing well. Not only are they scoring some points and they're chipping into this thing little by little, but they're defending.' I said, 'I'm going to roll with this group.'"

Bynum played all 12 minutes in the third quarter, going 2-for-7 from the field as the Thunder turned a five-point halftime lead into a 16-point advantage headed into the fourth.

"From the standpoint that yes, Drew is 7-foot and he's an All-Star and he's played very well for us, that makes it tough, but it wasn't tough because I had a feeling," Brown said. "I had a gut feel, plus just watching the flow of game that group was playing extremely well on both ends of the floor and I felt there was plenty of time left for us to get a win."

Brown's gut feel didn't seem to sit well with Bynum as he appeared to become increasingly disengaged on the bench as the game dragged on through the fourth quarter and the subsequent overtimes. During several timeouts he was the lone Lakers player sitting down away from the huddle as the rest of his team stood up and fed off the energy of a tight ballgame with playoff seeding implications.

If Bynum was upset with Brown's substitution pattern however, he didn't say it with his actual vocal language after the game the way he did with his body language during the game.

"This is a team game," Bynum told reporters after the game. "I think [Brown] made the right decision. Jordan was playing phenomenal basketball. That unit brought the game back and he left him out there. I'm all for that."

(Read full post)

Andrew Bynum sidelined against the Nets, fined by the Lakers

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
5:20
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
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Not a happy Tuesday for the Lakers' All-Star center. To begin, as reported by our man Dave McMenamin, Andrew Bynum won't play in Tuesday's game against the visiting New Jersey Nets as the result of a moderately sprained ankle sustained Sunday against the Golden State Warriors. Not many medical specifics were offered, but considering how an MRI hasn't been deemed necessary, this feels like both a precautionary step and a reflection of the Nets starting Johan Petro at center. In theory, the Lakers should be able to win this game with Bynum in street clothes. Wednesday's contest against the Clippers, however, is a different story. But Bynum expressed hope he'd be available in another 24 hours, so despite his extensive bouts with the injury bug, I'm actually not terribly concerned about a lingering health issue.

Instead, I'll worry about another matter regarding Bynum. As McMenamin shares...

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum might not have attempted any more 3-pointers after being benched last week, but his team's disciplinary actions against him didn't end there.

Bynum was recently fined an undisclosed amount for "numerous infractions," multiple sources confirmed to ESPNLosAngeles.com. One of the stunts that warranted the fine from the team was Bynum blowing off a meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak.

Bynum told ESPNLosAngeles.com he was unaware of the fine before getting into his car outside the Lakers practice facility and driving away following the team's shootaround in preparation for their game against the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday.

Presumably, the other stunts in question include:

- His high-fivin' antics while leaving the court upon being ejected on March 20 against the Houston Rockets. He then offered little accountability for getting the boot, instead insisting his absence had nothing to do with the eventual loss.

- 3-pointer-Gate against the Warriors on March 27, which was compounded by behaving poorly upon getting benched by Mike Brown. He sat slouched on the bench looking disinterested, then refused to take part in the huddles. Afterward, he said he didn't get up from the bench because that's where Brown put him, and maintained that 3-pointers will remain a part of his "expanded" game. Factor in how Bynum has criticized Brown's rigorous practice/shootaround schedule, and it doesn't take a psychology expert to figure out he and his coach aren't jelling. I've never believed the players as a whole have truly bought into Brown as their coach, so in that sense, elements of Bynum's disenchantment are perhaps shared by others. But he's the only one acting out at the moment, which makes his situation more problematic.

- Recurring bouts of on-court indifference, which have resulted in a string of games low on rebounds and/or hustle. Don't believe me? Just ask Bynum himself, who copped to "loafing" after the March loss in D.C.

- His recent declaration of not participating in huddles, whether led by Brown or Kobe Bryant, because he's "getting his zen on." (To the best of my recollection, Phil Jackson did prefer players listen in the huddles, for what that's worth.)

And finally, he skipped a meeting with Kupchak, which is a pretty much guaranteed way to lighten one's wallet.

It's also important to remember these aren't the only instances of questionable behavior. There was his flagrant foul against J.J. Barea 2011 playoffs, exacerbated by the WWE-style removal of his jersey while heading to the showers. (That elbow was basically a carbon copy of previous infractions to the ribs of Gerald Wallace and Michael Beasley, the latter of which had already earned him a suspension.) He's also obsessed in the past over touches to the point where it admittedly affected his defense. He's displayed a penchant for parking in handicapped spots.

As Brian and I have both mentioned many times over the last few weeks, Bynum's been in "petulant" mode recently, and we're not the only folks taking note. Pau Gasol expressed disappointment in Bynum's recent behavior, and formally addressed the matter. As did the front office. Talented and intelligent as he is, Bynum's maturity has been called into question a lot over the last few years. This disciplinary action taken by the team does nothing to quell those concerns.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
25.0 2.5 1.5 28.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 10.5
AssistsR. Price 4.0
StealsR. Price 2.0
BlocksE. Davis 2.0