Andrew Bynum plans to play Game 7 against a depleted Boston team
As soon as Lakers center Andrew Bynum woke up Wednesday morning, he was quickly reminded of the pain he feels in the torn cartilage of his right knee. He immediately stiffened. He immediately felt the swelling around the knee. And he immediately reminded himself why he can't think about it.
Bynum is only one day removed from experiencing increased swelling and missing most of the second half of the Lakers' Game 6 NBA Finals victory over Boston. But he's also one day away from playing in Game 7, in what will decide whether the Lakers repeat or fall to the Celtics twice in the past three seasons. Said Bynum: "I have to go out and be ready to play."
It's unclear whether Bynum's presence will make a difference inside in both points and rebounding, or whether he'll essentially be a non-factor. It's also unclear how the team will respond to his presence or limitation, with either the Lakers featuring a balanced offense or the team demonstrating they can't perform without a healthy Bynum. That's good news for the Lakers who surely want to have every variable on their side in the series' deciding game.
Even if Bynum says he is definitive for Game 7, there are several areas that remain unclear, including his production, minutes and when he's having surgery. But there's one thing that will keep Lakers fans happy, and the Celtics eager to post as bulletin board material. And that's Bynum's confidence the Lakers' will win Game 7.
"When we win it," said Bynum, "it's going to taste much sweeter than the one last year just knowing I played with the injury, came through and was able to contribute. It was big."
Celtics Center Kendrick Perkins woke up this morning too with immense pain, so much that he had trouble walking. That's when he knew he wouldn't be able to play through the torn MCL and PCL ligaments in his right knee, an injury that happened with 5:30 remaining in the first quarter. He leaped for an offensive rebound between Bynum and Kobe Bryant and appeared to land awkwardly on his knee, but Perkins said the weight from Bynum's 285-pound body mainly contributed to the pain.
"It hurt bad," Perkins said while nursing crutches. "You're not in this situatuon a lot where you make it to the Finals, especially with this rivavlry this big, Celtics-Lakers and the whole thing going on with the history. Some guys only get to the Finals one time."
Perkins reiterated to the team to appreciate that situation, stressing for his team to have "No regrets." He individually talked with Glen "Big Baby" Davis and called him "the most important guy right now," arguing that the Celtics will win Game 7 if Davis grabs at least 11 rebounds. Though Celtics Coach Doc Rivers hasn't publicly discussed how the team is affected by Perkins' absence, it's widely assumed Davis, Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams will receive increased minutes. If anything in the video below reveals anything, it's that Davis is relishing the opportunity and Wallace doesn't like the media one bit.