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Andrew Bynum keeping level-headed attitude about strong playoff play

May 1, 2011 |  3:06 pm

Photo: Andrew Bynum on April 12, 2011. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times Those trying to understand the psyche behind Andrew Bynum's confidence can leaf through the 336-page book that's sat on his locker room chair for the past 10 days.

Anytime he has a spare moment, Bynum has been reading "The New Psycho-Cybernetics," which stresses positive thinking and details how to achieve goals faster with more efficiency. Instead of wasting time between sessions of treatment on his surgically repaired right knee, when he's sitting on the team bus or hanging out at the hotel room, Bynum has thumbed through the book, an exercise that shows both his interest in reading and self-growth.

"It's all about strengthening your mind, acquiring your mind and allowing your mind to work for you than letting it run you," Bynum said after practice Sunday at the Lakers' facility in El Segundo. "It's a useful tool to get what you want."

So far, Bynum has gotten just that, proving instrumental in the Lakers' victorious first-round series against New Orleans with an average of 15.2 points on 55.6% shooting with 10.3 rebounds. He describes his mind set as "confident" heading into the semifinal matchup with Dallas beginning Monday at Staples Center. And his injury-prone history remains the last thing on his mind. 

Naturally, Lakers Coach Phil Jackson wouldn't address that issue, worried he might jinx Bynum's good fortune. "I'm not going there with that question," Jackson said. "I'm leaving that one alone. Where's the wood to knock on around here." Even though Bynum said nearly two weeks ago the importance of making it out of the first-round series relatively healthy, he downplayed that milestone, indicating "anything can happen." But it's Bynum's insistence on drawing from positive thinking that's enabled him to overcome the psychological hurdle of not worrying about injuries and playing in an aggressive manner. 

Of course, there are plenty of variables that have gone into Bynum's strong play, including his 7-0, 285-pound frame and becoming the anchor to the Lakers' defense, two variables that will prove instrumental when he matches up with Dallas' 7-foot, 235-pound Tyson Chandler. His frequent meditation sessions and conversations with sports psychologist George Mumford have also contributed to Bynum's positive thinking. But so has his reading material, something Bynum has done actively based off recommendations from Jackson, his mother and aunt, most of which emphasize having a positive outlook.

"For me, the biggest [thing] is the meditation part about the book," Bynum said. "It really helps. It's a mental theater and visualization tactic and helping you believe. It's a good book. I think a lot of people should read it. It's about sharpening your mind."

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Andrew Bynum on April 12, 2011. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times