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Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Andrew Bynum

Lakers enjoy plenty of rest against Bobcats

Some highlights of my breakdown of the Lakers' 106-73 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday:

  • The main thing in this win has to do with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum resting. That's because it's misleading to try to gauge anything else after a win against the worst team in the NBA. Considering how little Coach Mike Brown has rested Bryant, Gasol and Bynum, however, it's crucial that the Lakers found an opportunity to do so against Charlotte.
  • Andrew Goudelock's confidence continues to grow. Who knows whether he'll able to sustain the double-digit efforts that he's shown in the last four games? But with Steve Blake's continued absence and uncertainty about whether the Lakers can upgrade at point guard, team officials are relieved that someone can at least hold the fort temporarily.
  • It remains unclear if Brown will continue shuffling Metta World Peace and Matt Barnes at small forward. But it's very clear that Barnes brings more consistency.
  • Games like the one Tuesday night can be deceiving. The victory could serve as a nice psychological boost for the Lakers as they begin a six-game road trip Friday in Denver. Or it could give them a false sense of confidence.

ALSO:

Uh-oh, here come the . . . Bobcats?

Things to watch in Lakers-Charlotte Bobcats matchup

Mike Brown more concerned with development than limiting minutes

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Lakers reportedly interested in Ramon Sessions

The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats--Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Lakers remain interested in acquiring Cleveland point guard Ramon Sessions.

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan explains why the Lakers struggle against the Charlotte Bobcats.

--The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell reports that Gerald Henderson, D.J. White and newcomer Reggie Williams will play Tuesday against the Lakers.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding argues that Metta World Peace's move to the starting lineup is a good idea.

--Fox Sports lists Lakers forward Josh McRoberts as one of the 10 best NBA enforcers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky argues that the Lakers shouldn't pursue free-agent guard Gilbert Arenas.

--Hoops Hype's Roland Lazenby wonders if Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak will stay.

--Sports Illustrated's Zach Lowe remains concerned about Kobe Bryant's minutes.

--The Daily News' Elliot Teaford focuses on the Lakers' struggles against Charlotte.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell talks to trainer Gary Vitti about various team injuries.

--Silver Screen and Roll's Actuarially Sound wonders why the Lakers have struggled with rebounding.

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano wonders why the Lakers aren't lowering Bryant's minutes.

--Lakers Nation's Nadya Avakian says Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are key to solving the Lakers' consistency issues.

--Laker Nation's David Brickley, Jason Riley and Kevin Figgers debate numerous Laker topics.

Radio interview

I talk all things Lakers with ESPN Radio 1430's Guy Haberman in the audio file below.

Mark Medina on ESPN Radio

Tweet of the Day: "The @blakegriffin dunk tonight over Perkins made me realize that he's one of the best in-game dunkers in @NBA history." -- MagicJohnson (Lakers legend Magic Johnson) 

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "I can see Sessions. But I was under the impression that the Lamar exemption was to be used in trades for major new talent. If Ramon Sessions is the difference between a ring or the lottery this season, sure, trade exemption well spent. I think people in the Arenas camp weren't so much in love with Arenas as they were with the 'can get for vet minimum' factor. If we are blowing the trade exemption on stuff like Sessions, I would propose that we are better off saving the money, or blowing it on somebody who we can trade for a draft pick.

I appreciate hearing about stuff like how Sessions or other players would contribute, but please. At least acknowledge that the two aren't entirely comparable. I don't say this as someone who wants us to get Arenas, at least at the expense of somebody else. I say this as someone who thinks the two aren't mutually exlusive, and frankly they might both be a bad idea, but.... I mean, you ignore the fact that we could get Arenas AND Sessions with practically the same expense." -- Phred Phredphredington

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Gerald Henderson and the Charlotte Bobcats have given Kobe Bryant and the Lakers fits, not to mention a losing record, recently. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Mark Medina and Melissa Rohlin preview the Lakers-Clippers game

The Lakers and Clippers are about to play their second regular-season game.

The teams only meet three times this season and if the Clippers are the victorious, they will win their season series against the Lakers for the first time since the 1992-1993 season.

The Clippers won the first regular-season meeting, 102-94, on Jan. 14. It was a chippy affair in which five technical fouls were assessed.

Since then, some trash talking has ensued. Despite the fact that players from both teams deny that there's rivalry, Matt Barnes has publicly accused Blake Griffin of being a flopper. At practice Tuesday, Griffin smiled that statement off.

The Lakers have lost three games in a row while the Clippers have recently beaten Miami and Dallas, both high-caliber teams.

ALSO:

It's serious times for Lakers and Clippers

Chris Paul expected to play against Lakers

Photos: Celebrities courtside at Staples Center

-- Melissa Rohlin

Andrew Bynum is working on his communication skills

Lakers center Andrew Bynum

Sitting in the cubby hole of his locker is one of the resources that has helped spur Andrew Bynum's growth.

It's a 320-page book titled "Instant Persuasion," which Bynum has been reading in his spare time during the past 10 days in the hope it improves his communication skills on the court. 

"It's about how to use your words," Bynum said during a rare quiet moment. "It's about changing your words around and say what you mean."

The subtitle, "How to change your words to change your life," sounds like just more self-help book hyperbole. But it's much more than that for Bynum. Aside from his off-season boxing classes,  film study and improvement in playing through double teams, the book's lessons could prove instrumental in his development. 

After all, one thing Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham has noticed are Bynum's on-court communication issues. Although Bynum has improved his defensive will since last season, he doesn't consistently point out rotations quickly enough on pick-and-roll sequences. Although coaches and teammates express optimism in Bynum improving working through double teams, his struggles on kicking out to the perimeter or finding Pau Gasol inside also partly point to communication. 

"I come in here," Bynum said, "and learn new things every day."  

And part of that involves reading "Instant Persuasion." Part of the word exercises the book emphasizes involves finding factual solutions through problem-solving and how to disagree without being disagreeable. His on-court communication remains in flux. Some could argue his failure to apologize for parking in various handicap spots this summer shows he still has lots to learn. But as far as communicating his ideas publicly, it's clear Bynum has shown growth.

In years past, Bynum complained about a lack of touches. This season, Bynum has averaged a career-high 15.9 points and 13.2 rebounds because he vows to remain aggressive even if the Lakers don't always look for him inside. Last post-season, Bynum revealed the team's apparent "trust issues." In past seasons, Bynum talked openly about his want to land on the All-Star team. This season, he remains more worried about how much he improves.

Bynum has successfully navigated a few chapters of the book and is upbeat on the insights he's already gained.  

"It'll work anywhere," Bynum said regarding the book's lessons. "Especially here on the court."

RELATED:

Andrew Bynum downplays comparisons with Dwight Howard

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sizes up Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard

Andrew Bynum can do little things while adapting to double teams

— Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum elevates for a shot over Magic center Dwight Howard in the first half Friday night at Orlando. Credit: John Raoux / Associated Press / Jan. 20, 2012

Five things to watch in Lakers-Clippers game

Kobe Bryant

Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers (10-8) host the Clippers (9-5) Wednesday at Staples Center:

1. There will be chippiness. Whether the Lakers and Clippers want to acknowledge a rivalry or not, it's indisputable that the animosity heightens when these two teams meet. So expect there to be plenty of hard fouls, technicals, elbows and animosity thrown all around. The key for the Lakers involves channeling that properly. If they get too consumed with it, it could result in too many Clipper free-throws and overall distract their focus. If they play physical for the sake of sharpening their defense and energy, that approach will give the Lakers an edge.

2. The Lakers meet challenges at point guard regardless of Chris Paul. The Times' Broderick Turner mentions it's likely Paul will play against the Lakers after missing the last five games because of a strained left hamstring. But it's not guaranteed. Surely Paul's presence even in limited form will give the Lakers fits. They frankly don't have the speed to keep up with him. With Steve Blake still sidelined because of a fracture of the cartilage connecting his rib and sternum, the Lakers don't have the depth, either. But the Lakers' problems at matching up with the Clippers at point guard hardly confines to Paul.

Clippers guard Mo Williams has averaged 25.66 points per game in the last three coming off the bench in Paul's absence, while Clippers guard Chauncey Billups nailed a game-winner against Dallas. While Derek Fisher matched Billups with a game winner against Dallas, rookie guard Darius Morris can hardly match Williams' play. Morris remains unpredictable with his excessive dribbling and decision-making. He has potential, but it's hardly a good thing at this point that he's playing more minutes during Blake's absence.

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Lakers, Clippers remain contentious

Matt Barnes remains annoyed at Blake Griffin's perceived flopping.

Just like the dunks, that's a part of his game," Barnes said. "You just got to adjust to it."

Pau Gasol remains annoyed with the Clippers' (9-5) perceived superiority over the Lakers (10-8), mainly because "they have a pretty much easier schedule than us so far," Gasol said.

Derek Fisher remains annoyed that the Clippers' two preseason victories and one regular-season win  over the Lakers makes them into an archrival.

"There's too many of those up there to get into that discussion," Fisher said as he pointed at the Lakers' 16 championship banners at Staples Center during a last week's All-Access event. "At the same time, obviously for a lot of fans that aren't at this particular event, that's exciting for them. That's fair. That's fine. It's been quite some time since you've been able to be excited."

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Lakers remain unsure about team's identity

The Lakers enthusiastically enjoyed their time off, as Andrew Bynum slept in, Matt Barnes spent time with his twin sons and everyone on the team finally rested their tired legs.

But once the Lakers set foot in the team's practice facility in El Segundo on Tuesday morning, reality awaited them. The Lakers (10-8) enter Wednesday's game against the Clippers (9-5) with a three-game losing streak. They haven't scored 100 points for 11 consecutive games. And most important, the Lakers have no sense of their identity nearly a quarter of the way through a compacted 66-game season.

"The biggest thing is I'm still searching and looking on both ends of the floor," Coach Mike Brown said."I understand it's a process. The process has taken a little longer than you would hope. But this is a long-term thing for me. It's not a short-term thing."

But no one on the Lakers says he knows what the short term entails. Brown shot down any notion of making any lineup changes but said he "always has to keep that into consideration." Brown mostly lamented the team's inconsistent defense that allowed Indiana to rally Sunday from a double-digit deficit, but Bynum, Barnes and Pau Gasol alike argued the team's problems point more to their offense.

"It comes down to the little things and not just relying on our defense to win," Gasol said. "But also to do enough offensively with the weapons that we do have to win ballgames."

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Deron Williams' short list includes the Lakers

Kobe Bryant/Dwight Howard

--ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reports New Jersey Nets guard Deron Williams wants to stay with the New Jersey Nets should they secure Dwight Howard. If not, Williams has a short list of desirable destinations, including the Mavericks, the Knicks and the Lakers

Game stories

--The Times' Mike Bresnahan details the Lakers' horrific offense in their 92-80 loss Friday to the Orlando Magic. 

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding notes the Lakers appear tired. 

--The Orlando Sentinel's Josh Robinson details the Magic's dominance. 

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford focuses on the Lakers' offensive struggles. 

Notebooks

--The Daily News' Teaford reports Kobe Bryant doesn't take cortisone shots before every game. Instead, he takes a numbing agent that dulls the pain in his right wrist similar to what Novocain does on dentist visits. 

Sidebars

--The Times' Bresnahan focuses on Metta World Peace's lack of productivity. 

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick talks to Lakers assistant Chuck Person about the transition from the Phil Jackson to Mike Brown era, among other topics. 

--ESPN.com's Zach McCann highlights Dwight Howard's effort.

--The Orlando Sentinel's Brian Schmitz talks to Magic General Manager Otis Smith, who contends the trade talk surrounding Howard has affected Jameer Nelson's play. 

Columns

--The Times' Bill Plaschke argues Howard stated his case in Friday's game against the Lakers on why the purple and gold need to acquire him. 

--The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi calls out Shaquille O'Neal for arguing Bynum is better than Howard. 

--The Orange County Register's Ding argues it shouldn't be a surprise the Lakers are struggling offensively. It's one of the reasons why he thought Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw would make the best candidate to replace Phil Jackson. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin argues the Lakers can't depend on Bryant to bail them out on offense. 

--ESPN The Magazine's Chris Palmer advocates for the Lakers to secure Howard. 

--Fox Sports Florida's Tim Povtak argues Howard may have hurt his own trade cause by playing well. 

Blogs

--True Hoop's Henry Abbott argues Bryant's heavy minutes hurts the Lakers' title chances. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy Kamenetzky breaks down the Lakers' loss to Orlando. 

--Ball Don't Lie's Eric Freeman argues Williams' wish list means very little. 

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell provides a running diary of the Lakers-Magic game. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark argues the Lakers are a broken model. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano breaks down the good and the bad in the Lakers' loss to Orlando. 

Tweet of the Day: "Longtime NBA scout watching Lakers: "This reminds me of the post-triangle hangover when Rudy T. took over from Phil. It takes a while."" -- WojYahooNBA (Yahoo! Sports' NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day:

What an outrageous disaster we are.. No inside game, no shooting accuracy, no offence, no hungry.. nothing!, You wanted to see Bynum against Howard? well it happened and andrew was crushed, no more speculations Howard is the best center by far.

This Florida trip has showed us what is gonna happen on the road or against elite teams.. we re gonna be outscored, and with humiliation. Kobe is running out of fuel, and with only 17 games played, the bench is nothing but a bunch of crap. One question.. wasn t Mike Brown a defensive specialist?? Where is our defense?" -- Leonardo Bovone

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected] Follow the Lakers blog on Facebook. 

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant pulls down a rebound in front of Magic center Dwight Howard in the second half Friday night in Orlando. Credit: Brian Blanco / EPA

Lakers need Dwight Howard, but can they get him?

Andrew Bynum/Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard soared. Andrew Bynum sunk. Howard blocked. Bynum fouled. Howard provided another reminder why the Lakers should want him. Bynum provided another reminder why the Lakers should deal him.

The Lakers' 92-80 loss Friday to the Orlando Magic provided one obvious answer. The Lakers need Howard before the trade deadline. But it just raises another obvious question. How on Earth can the Lakers acquire Howard when their centerpiece revolves around a player Howard severely manhandled?

It might seem surprising to what degree the Lakers' offense remains a mess. But it shouldn't seem surprising that Howard (21 points, 23 rebounds) outmatched Bynum (10 points, 12 rebounds), unless of course you're Shaquille O'Neal. But just as Bynum appeared to be elevating his play and market value, he provided a visual reminder on how much more he has to learn.

Avoiding foul trouble. Remaining aggressive. Passing and posting up on double teams. Preventing offensive putbacks. All areas Bynum lacked inconveniently before an audience the Lakers hoped would remain impressed with Bynum as Howard's alternative.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sizes up Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is nowhere near the basketball court these days.

He has been busy preparing for a visit to Brazil starting Sunday in his first official trip as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department.

But the former Lakers center and the NBA's all-time leading scorer still keeps tabs on the Lakers. In particular, Abdul-Jabbar maintains a watchful eye on center Andrew Bynum after working with him as a Lakers special assistant coach from 2005 to 2011.

The Lakers (10-6) visit the Orlando Magic on Friday at Amway Center in a game that features a matchup of Bynum and Dwight Howard, who leads NBA centers in points (20.1) and rebounds (15.6) per game. Abdul-Jabbar was reluctant to say which player the Lakers should covet more ahead of the league's trade deadline March 15.

"That's hard for me to call," Abdul-Jabbar said Friday in a phone interview with The Times. "I've never seen Dwight Howard play in person. I've only worked with Andrew. I've never seen Dwight up close for a period of time to have a good assessment of him. But the statistics don't lie. He's one of the best in the league and is a very valuable commodity." 

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