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Andrew Bynum Plays Big Against Houston

Photo by =Manny= via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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Andrew Bynum was a player Kobe Bryant hated. Maybe it wasn’t a personal hatred, but before Pau Gasol came to Los Angeles it seemed that Kobe saw Bynum as the symbol of the Lakers’ front office incompetence after Shaquille O’Neal was traded. Bryant to this day still grouses about the fact that Smush Parker was a starting point guard for the Lakers.

Bynum hasn’t even endeared himself that well with Los Angeles. He opted to take in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa rather than get much needed surgery on his wheels. He ended the 2010-11 season clotheslining the pocket player JJ Barea in the playoffs and stripping in uniform top off as a display of some sort of testosterone fuelled something that still has me confused. He even decided to park illegally in handicap spaces.

Despite any personal vendettas or lack of charisma and decency, all that really matters is whether Bynum can play. He has been plagued with injuries. And with a four-game suspension to start out the season, all we really knew was that Bynum got into shape. However I saw the Kings’ Dustin Penner get into shape during the offseason, yet in 29 games he has only eight points on two goals and six assists. So just because one is in shape doesn’t necessarily translate into production.

Well Bynum has shoved my skepticism in my face. His first two games were double-double efforts, and this game against the Houston Rockets just blew everyone away. Despite having flirted with a 20-20 before he was finally able to do it, the final two points of his 21-point, 22-rebound effort coming on a 90-foot pass from Matt Barnes which he dunked with a flare that actually elicited a reaction from the sellout STAPLES Center crowd.

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As for the game, the Lakers played yet another seesaw game. But they dominated the fourth quarter pulling out a 108-99 win over the Rockets. The only thing that kept the game entertaining for the people in the arena as the Lakers were pulling away was if they got the free tacos by holding Houston to under 100 points.

Kobe recovered from his 6-for-28 shooting performance in Denver on Sunday night going 14-for-29 with 37 points. Pau Gasol added 14 points and Steve Blake had 11 points off the bench. Josh McRoberts sat out another game with a strained left big toe and left thumb.

While running errands today I was listening to the Lakers cheerleading radio station AM 710 KSPN. There was a lot of talk about how ugly Lakers’ games are. But considering training camp lasted only two weeks with the season hastily cobbled together at the last nanosecond just to save the Christmas Day games, nearly every NBA game has been pretty ugly.

Also with the lack of training camp no one knew what to expect from the Lakers especially with the loss of Lamar Odom. But even in their three losses, the Lakers were always in the game thanks to their defense. It may not be pretty basketball, but no team is playing pretty basketball. The Lakers are doing what they need to do to give themselves a chance to win. They can worry about style points later.

Finally, is it so wrong that I roll my eyes whenever a broadcaster refers to Ron Artest as Metta World Peace?


Houston Rockets at LA Clippers. 7:30 p.m. FSWest, AM 980 KFWB.
San Jose Sharks at Anaheim Ducks. 7:00 p.m. FS Prime Ticket, AM 830 KLAA.