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Lakers provide mixed assessment on how Andrew Bynum is handling his suspension

March 21, 2011 |  2:37 pm

Displaying the same aggressiveness he uses when fighting through double teams and grabbing rebounds, Lakers center Andrew Bynum rushed past the assembled media Monday after the Lakers' practice.

That left everyone else on the team to explain how Bynum's handled his two-game suspension for getting a flagrant foul, type 2, after throwing Minnesota forward Michael Beasley with his right forearm. The assessment sounded fairly mixed.

"He was frustrated," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said.

"He's been chilling. His mood was good," Lakers forward Pau Gasol said. "I know it hurts him not to be able to play. But it sounded like he's holding up pretty well. I'd be really upset if I got suspended and I would have to pay that kind of money. But for the most part he's handled it pretty well.

The Lakers lamented his absence after their 84-80 victory Sunday over the Portland Trail Blazers in which the Blazers won the rebound battle, 45-35, and cashed in on 21 second-chance points. They'll also miss his presence Tuesday when the Lakers host the Phoenix Suns, with Jackson going so far to joke that Gasol is "depressed" for having to play nearly 45 minutes against Portland. Aside from Bynum's two-game absence, however, the Lakers believe there's a full long-term benefits to his suspension.

Jackson said Bynum planned to use his time away from the court to build strength in his legs and alleviate the fluid that still remains in his right knee. Bryant was "proud of him" and that Bynum had "earned his stripes," believing that mind-set will pay dividends come postseason play. And Lakers forward Lamar Odom argued it would serve as a teaching moment for how to maintain toughness without sparking disciplinary action.

"We want him to continue to play strong and play physical and be himself," Odom said. "Hopefully it never happens again."

-- Mark Medina

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