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Andrew Bynum's suspension reduced to four games

December 23, 2011 | 12:25 pm

The Lakers got an early holiday gift from the NBA.

Center Andrew Bynum's suspension was reduced from five games to four, the league announced Friday, citing the shortened NBA season as a reason.

Because of the NBA lockout, teams will play a 66-game schedule this season, a 19.5% reduction from a typical 82-game season.

Bynum received the initial suspension in May after body-slamming diminutive guard Jose Barea in a playoff game against Dallas.

The Lakers begin the season Sunday against Chicago, followed by games the next two days against Sacramento and Utah. Bynum will miss one more game, Dec. 29 against New York, before returning Dec. 31 against Denver.

The reduced suspension helps a Lakers team that will play power forward Pau Gasol at center during Bynum's suspension.

Bynum, 24, looked sharp in an exhibition game Wednesday against the Clippers, collecting 26 points and 11 rebounds two days after saying he was "heavily winded" in an exhibition opener against the Clippers.


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-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Andrew Bynum. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.