Andrew Bynum wary of his success against the Clippers
When the Lakers square off tonight in what essentially will become a home game against the Clippers, center Andrew Bynum says he won't be thinking about last season's 42-point career-high performance against the Clips for one simple reason.
"I know that nobody cares about it," he said. "A lot of people say it was the Clippers. Every game something changes. If I can keep that up, it’s good and everybody will talk about it."
With forward Pau Gasol likely to miss his second consecutive game, Bynum will surely be talked about after each contest. But he wants the talk to ring similar to when he posted 20.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per contest during Gasol's 11-game absence because of a strained right hamstring.
Instead, Gasol's return also brought up discussion about Bynum's drop in production. By Christmas time, Bynum's numbers dipped to 12.9 points per game, and he has gone 23 consecutive games without a double double.
The past two games are a start for Bynum, whose 19 points on eight of eight shooting Sunday against Dallas made him the best Lakers shooter with at least eight attempts since Nick Van Exel was nine for nine in November 1997 against the Vancouver Grizzlies. He also scored a team-high 24 points Tuesday against Houston, Bynum's highest since Nov. 22.
That's why tonight's match-up with Clippers center Chris Kaman should be interesting. Not only has Kaman unabashedly said "we can beat the Lakers," Kaman remains among the league's highest-scoring centers with an average of 20.3 points per game. That's nearly double the 10.4-point average in his first six seasons in the league.
To be fair, Kaman's production has also gone through spurts this season. After going through a nine-game stretch with 20-plus points early this season, he shot below 50% in seven games shortly afterward, part of which he blamed on a drop of energy rooted from a deficiency in Vitamin D.
The dynamic is likely to produce a good match-up tonight. Bynum wants more touches so he can put up All-Star numbers, but he plays on a team that boasts several of them. Kaman has consistently produced while the Clippers are waiting for Blake Griffin's debut, but there's a thinking within the organization that his All-Star type numbers haven't been heavily noticed.
Clips guard Baron Davis recently said tonight's game will come down to "heart," and that surely rings true with the Kaman-Bynum match-up.