Andrew Bynum benched late in win
Bynum attempted, and missed, a 3-point shot from the top of the key with 10:05 remaining in the third quarter and the Lakers leading 56-50. It was not an end-of-the-shot-clock situation in which Bynum was forced into the shot, as had been the case for the majority of his seven 3-point attempts in his seven-year career.
Brown subbed Bynum out of the game shortly thereafter, putting in Josh McRoberts with 9:33 remaining in the third and not playing Bynum the rest of the quarter. Bynum started the fourth quarter but played just the first three minutes, going 0-for-3 from the field (including missing a 12-foot turnaround jump shot) and 1-for-2 from the foul line before being kept out for the final 9:10 of the game.
"I made one (Sunday), and I felt good about it, shot it; he took me out for it," Bynum said, referring to the 3-pointer he made from the top of the key at the end of the Lakers' 102-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. It was the first successful 3-pointer of his career. "I don't know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you. I made one (against Memphis), and I wanted to make another one. I swear. That's it. I guess (Brown) took offense to it, so he put me on the bench."
Bynum finished with 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting and five rebounds in 23 minutes. Going into Tuesday, Bynum was averaging 18.3 points, 12.3 rebounds and 36 minutes per game, all career highs, and leading the NBA with a 58.5 shooting percentage.
"That's something that I felt could have taken us out of rhythm, and so that's why I took him out of the game," Brown said. "I brought him back for a little bit and then I took him out again and I just felt it was best to go with the group that we had out there."
Bynum did not join his teammates in huddles during several timeouts in the fourth quarter, instead staying in his seat toward the end of the bench by himself.
"He took me out of the game, so I just sat where he put me," Bynum said.
Brown said he did not notice Bynum's body language at the end of the bench and added that he does not require every player to be in the huddle if the player isn't in the lineup at that time.
Bryant, who was benched for four minutes in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to Memphis but ultimately supported Brown's decision, empathized with Bynum.
"I think he was testing the limits of his game," Bryant said. "In some ways, the edginess and chippiness of him makes it very easy for me to relate to him because I had some of that when I was young. It's easy for me to see where he's coming from."
Bryant suggested Brown and the Lakers' coaching staff could have handled Bynum's benching differently.
"They have a lot of youth and they're not used to dealing with players of Drew's ambition, I'm sure, at this stage of his career," Bryant said. "I was in that position and obviously have a lot of experience in dealing with myself and playing with Shaquille (O'Neal) when Shaquille was young and being mentored by Phil (Jackson) and things like that. So nothing really rattles me."
Pau Gasol, the Lakers' other co-captain with Bryant, was more stern with his take on the situation.
"It's something that we have to address and figure out how to get everybody playing as hard as they can every single night for the success of this team," Gasol said. "So, we'll address it."
Bynum vowed to continue to "expand his game" by taking shots from beyond the arc.
"I guess, 'Don't take 3s' is the message, but I'm going to take another one and I'm going to take some more, so I just hope it's not the same result," Bynum said. "Hopefully I make it."
Gasol, who is 5-for-19 on 3-pointers this season after going just 19-for-85 in his first 10 seasons, was not on board with his fellow 7-footer's plan.
"That's not his game," Gasol said. "That's not his game. Hopefully it's just one bad game, it's out of the way. ... We'll be fine. Andrew understands. He's a good guy, and he'll do the right thing."