Lakers Now

Round-the-Clock Purple and Gold

Category: Andrew Bynum

Things to watch in Lakers-Magic game

67471545

Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers (10-6) visit the Orlando Magic (10-4) on Friday at Amway Center:

1. How will the Lakers' energy hold up? The Lakers have looked tired in their last three games -- against the Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat -- and it remains to be seen whether that will change. The Lakers are coming off the second night of a back-to-back. Even though they entered the fourth quarter trailing Miami 77-56, Coach Mike Brown played his starters most of the final period in hopes they could compensate for lost practices. Considering how slow and unathletic the Lakers are to begin with, their execution could drop significantly should fatigue remain an issue. 

2. Andrew Bynum versus Dwight Howard. Eager to learn and grow, Bynum always uses his matchups with Howard and Tim Duncan as measuring sticks for where he stands. This time around, Lakers officials will surely be viewing the matchup with an eye toward determining how intently they should pursue Howard. If Bynum holds his own, it's possible his market value increases. That could prompt the Lakers to be more restrictive in packaging a deal with Bynum as the centerpiece. In turn, Orlando may be more inclined to demand less in a trade involving Bynum. 

3. Will Kobe Bryant find his sweet spots again? After scoring at least 40 points in four consecutive games, Bryant has shot 15 of 43 (34.8%) from the field in the last two games. It's pretty easy to explain why. In the four games in which he scored at least 40 points, 77 of his 172 points came from either within 10 feet or at the free-throw line.

According to Hoopsdata, Bryant went three for 12 from shots within 16 to 23 feet and zero for three from three-point range against Dallas. According to NBA Statscube, Bryant then shot five for 15 on mid-range jumpers and zero for three from three-point range against Miami. Credit Miami's LeBron James and Shane Battier as well as Dallas' Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion and Jason Terry for forcing Bryant out of his sweet spots. But it's clear that the Lakers deviated from setting up Bryant where he has been so effective. 

Continue reading »

Andrew Bynum maintains top vote for All-Star game

Andrew Bynum

The second returns show Kobe Bryant currently leading the Western Conference guards with 1,110,379 votes.

Tell us something we didn't know.

OK, Lakers center Andrew Bynum still maintains a wide-lead for the top West center spot with 777,365 votes, while Clippers center DeAndre Jordan has 214,883. Assuming Bynum doesn't get injured of course, it looks like he's on his way toward his first All-Star appearance.

Unlike in past seasons, Bynum lately has maintained indifference toward the honor.

"For me, I'm not worried about that," Bynum said of being included in All-Star weekend Feb. 23-26 at Orlando's Amway Center. "I just want to play well. If I go out and play well, things will work themselves out. Sometimes you get sidetracked thinking about things like that. I just go out and play hard."

RELATED:

Andrew Bynum has All-Star potential

Andrew Bynum downplays comparisons with Dwight Howard

Andrew Bynum can do the little things while adapting to double teams

--Mark Medina

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum, right, defends as Cleveland forward Omri Casspi goes up for a shot during the Lakers' 97-92 victory Friday. Bynum has proven to be a valuable asset for the Lakers. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press / January 13, 2012)

Andrew Bynum downplays comparisons with Dwight Howard

The two remain commonly linked.

Andrew Bynum remains the current Lakers' center, showing vast improvement in his post play, ability to fight through double teams, and for now, staying healthy. Dwight Howard remains the current Magic center, considered by many to be the league's top center, the league's top defensive player and the Lakers' most coveted prospect.

When Bynum steps into Amway Arena on Friday for the Lakers' game against the Orlando Magic, he'll use it as a measuring stick for both the team's development as well as his own. Even if Bynum says, "I don't make any comparisons" with himself and Howard, the Lakers' center then reveals his hand.

"The guy is definitely more proven," Bynum said of Howard. "So for myself, I always look up to him and want to be able to get the ball and do the things he does with it. I think I learn a lot from watching him play, the way he rim-runs, and gets low and things like that. It's a fun game."

For what it's worth, however, former Lakers center and TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal told The Times' Ben Bolch that Bynum "is the best big man in the game right now." But who knows to what degree O'Neal just wants to continue taking swipes at Howard. So below the jump is a more neutral tale of the tape.

Continue reading »

Lakers' offense features little chemistry

With his arms pointing out toward the block, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant hoped Pau Gasol would cut across the lane to receive an entry pass. Instead, Gasol missed the body language, Bryant's pass went into traffic and the Lakers turned the ball over.

With his eyes darting toward the baseline, Lakers center Andrew Bynum shouted to Jason Kapono about moving into a passing lane on the perimeter so he could kick out of a double team. Nothing happened, so Bynum settled for a poor left hook that hit off the rim.

And with Bynum established on the low block, Lakers guard Darius Morris made perfect eye contact with him. But Morris' entry pass went directly toward Bynum's ankles instead of his hands.

These plays may appear isolated but they represent a much more complete picture of the Lakers' fragmented offense in their 102-94 loss Saturday to the Clippers, more than even Bryant's 42 points on 14-for-28 shooting. Regardless of whether Bryant fired good looks like he did in the second half or remained trigger happy in the first half, a constant remained. Despite the Lakers' Big Three in Bryant, Gasol (14) and Bynum (12) each cracking double figures, the offense hardly looked in sync. 

The Lakers mostly blamed the loss on the 50-42 rebounding disparity, particularly the 17-11 deficit on the offensive glass. But that effort is an anomaly compared to the rest of the season and arguably can be attributed at least partly to the Lakers playing five of their league-high 14 games in the past week. The Lakers' chemistry on offense, however, has remained flimsy and unpredictable all season. 

"It's moving in the right direction, but we have a ways to go," Lakers Coach Mike Brown said. "We don't have a great feel of what we want all the time when it comes to different options. Sometimes when we forget for a second or third or fourth option then we have a tendency to look for someone to help us out. the guy who can always help us out is Kobe. Thats the thing we have to make sure we keep trying to guard against."

Continue reading »

Five things to take from Lakers' 97-92 win over the Cavaliers

Lakers2

1. The Lakers nearly squandered a fourth-quarter lead. The Lakers' 97-92 victory Friday over the Cleveland Cavaliers shouldn't have been close. They entered the fourth quarter with an 82-70 lead. They appeared full of energy. And they appeared ready to rest for their game Saturday night against the Clippers. 

But then the Lakers' lineup featuring Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Devin Ebanks, Troy Murphy and Pau Gasol missed five consecutive shots. The Cavaliers' six unanswered points came off a poor closeout (Tristan Thompson jumper), Goudelock's aggressive foul on Ramon Sessions that set up two free throws and no one closing the lane as Session drove for a layup. 

PHOTOS: Lakers vs. Cavaliers

Chalk it up to Mike Brown's experiments with rotations going poorly, but the Lakers' starters hardly secured the win until late in the game. When Kobe Bryant, Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher entered the game with an 82-76 lead with 8:48 left, the unit missed three consecutive shots. Thankfully for the Lakers, Bryant's outlet pass to Barnes for a breakaway dunk and a subsequent three-pointer helped widen the gap. 

2. Another big night for Bryant. Bryant continued thriving with his outside shot, and even extended his range to the three-point line where he scored 42 points on 15-of-31 shooting and four-of-seven mark from three-point range. It gets routine seeing this effort. After all, this performance marks the fifth time in the last six games he's scored at least 30 points and third consecutive game he's dropped at least 40.  But even if Bryant has played through injuries many times before, it boggles my mind that he's maintained such a high shooting percetange while nursing a torn ligament in his right wrist.

There were a few moments where Bryant looked too much for his shot in the second half. But it's not an issue. In the first quarter, Bryant helped provide a blueprint on how the Big Three of Bryant, Gasol and Bynum can play off each other, combining for 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting. The comforting part of Bryant's performance points to his overall energy. He hasn't looked this healthy since his prime. After all, the last time Bryant had scored at least 40 points in three consecutive games was in 2007. 

Continue reading »

Mike Brown compares Kobe Bryant and LeBron James

 

The Times' Ben Bolch notes Mike Brown's belief that Kobe Bryant is more "serious-minded" than LeBron James

--The Times' Ben Bolch notes Mike Brown's belief that Kobe Bryant is more "serious-minded" than LeBron James.

--The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer talks to Brown about how he's adjusting to the Lakers. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr says she believes that Andrew Bynum has a strong chance to make the All-Star team.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer says he loves the story lines surrounding Bryant and James. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky explains why Steve Blake's rib injury severely hurts the Lakers at point guard.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford argues that the Lakers' next three games against Cleveland, the Clippers and Dallas could be emotional. Brown used to coach the Cavs, the Lakers nearly landed Clippers guard Chris Paul and former Laker Lamar Odom was traded to the Mavericks.

--Lakers.com's Mike Trudell does some number-crunching regarding Bryant's scoring.

--Silver Screen and Roll's C.A. Clark argues that the Lakers need Dwight Howard's teammates more than they need Howard.

Tweet of the Day: "The Lakers have just 5 home games in the next 32 days." -- ESPNChrisPalmer (Chris Palmer, ESPN The Magazine NBA writer)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The Lakers need to get themselves a pointguard someone who's going to put the bigs in a better position to score. Kobe contolling the ball takes the effectiveness away from Pau and Bynum. It's great Kobe is scoring lots of points but Kobe is not playing team ball. He's more concern about trying to catch Shaq." -- Ronald A. Mitchell 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers Coach Mike Brown and Kobe Bryant. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Andrew Bynum can do the little things while adapting to double teams

 

As he adjusts to double teams, Lakers center Andrew Bynum could improve his game by working on the little things in other parts of his game.

 

After countless video sessions and plenty of coaching feedback, Lakers center Andrew Bynum could just go to his bookshelf to find the answer on how to overcome double teams.

Coach Mike Brown gave his players the day off Thursday after the Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz on a back-to-back. But the compacted and exhausting NBA schedule may not give Bynum time to reread "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell, a book he pored over last season while rehabbing his surgically repaired right knee.

But should Bynum pull that book out, he'd see the subhead that provides a simple answer on how to approach his season-long quest to adjust to more imposing defenses. The text reads: "How little things can make a big difference."

In the case of the Lakers' 90-87 overtime victory Wednesday over the Utah Jazz, Bynum illustrated just how big that difference can be. With the Lakers leading by a point in the final seconds, Bynum stepped into the lane and swatted Al Jefferson's shot. The ball then landed in Kobe Bryant's hands and he was fouled, making two free throws with 0.7 seconds left to clinch the victory. Moments earlier, Bynum crashed the glass and tipped in one of Bryant's missed jumpers, giving the Lakers an 87-86 lead with 51 seconds remaining.

None of these plays have anything to do with Bynum's failure to play through double teams. He shot five of 13 from the field, provided only two assists and committed three turnovers. But they have everything to do with how Bynum can thrive by achieving the little things, even if his post performance continues to lag.

Continue reading »

Lakers' Bynum leads West centers in All-Star voting

BynumLakers guard Kobe Bryant is the top vote-getter among Western Conference guards so far in All-Star balloting. No surprise.

But Lakers center Andrew Bynum leads West centers in voting ... by a long shot.

Bynum has 496,597 votes, easily outpacing the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan, who has 134,961, according to figures released Thursday by the NBA.

Bynum, 24, has never been an All-Star. He is in his seventh NBA season.

Lakers forward Pau Gasol is fourth in voting for West forwards, trailing Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, the Clippers' Blake Griffin and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki.

Bryant has 690,613 votes, ahead of second-place vote-getter Chris Paul of the Clippers (540,173).

All-Star voting concludes Jan. 31. The All-Star Game is Feb. 26 in Orlando, Fla.

MORE:

Kobe Bryant continues to prove dominance

Five things to take from Lakers' 90-87 overtime victory over Utah Jazz

Kobe Bryant, Robert Rodriguez talk about Black Mamba Nike ads, six-minute film

-- Mike Bresnahan

Photo: Andrew Bynum. Credit: Jim Urquhart / Associated Press.

Five things to watch in Lakers-Suns matchup

Grant Hill

Some things to keep an eye on when the Lakers (6-4) host the Phoenix Suns (4-4) Tuesday evening at Staples Center.

1. Can the Lakers limit their turnovers? This is an important variable regardless of the opponent. But the importance heightens against Phoenix. If the Lakers maintain their 16.7 turnovers they've averaged through 10 games against the Suns, they'll probably lose.

The Suns unsurprisingly have shown through eight games that they're much dangerous offensively when they run in transition. The Lakers simply won't be able to catch up because of their lacking athleticism if they continue committing turnovers?

2. How Shannon Brown perform in his return to Staples Center? Lakers guard Kobe Bryant made it clear he's not looking forward to guarding him because he considered him one of his "younger brothers." On paper, Brown's averaged only 8.3 points on 32.8% shooting this season, which bodes even worse than his inconsistent 42.5% clip last season with the Lakers.

But this storyline remains compelling just because of the conflicted feelings Brown and his teammates have regarding this game. Brown is well-respected in the Lakers' locker room, and Bryant even went so far to say after the Lakers' win over Memphis on Sunday that he doesn't want to guard Brown because he often mentored him. 

3. Can the Lakers contain Steve Nash? Another top point guard, another immense challenge for the Lakers. Of course, this match-up never should center solely on how Nash fares one-on-one with Derek Fisher. It involves how the Lakers' collective unit ensures there's enough help and that Nash doesn't facilitate to his teammates as much as he can. 

4. Kobe Bryant-Grant Hill match-up will be intriguing. Hill typically guards Bryant whenever the two meet up, and it should be captivating. Bryant, who's led the league in shots taken at 23, surely won't decrease that against the Suns. He said he still loathes Phoenix for eliminating the Lakers in the first round of both the 2006 and 2007 playoffs. Meanwhile, Hill has shown this season he still has what it takes as a 39-year-old to defend the opposing team's top players, even if he's an off-season removed from knee surgery

5. How will Andrew Bynum fight through double teams? Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez will probably assume heavy minutes to minimize the presence Bynum and Pau Gasol bring. As Golden State and Memphis quickly found out, the best approach involves throwing constant double teams at Bynum. It remains to be seen whether Gortat and Lopez will play at the same time, since Channing Frye's outside shooting remains solid. But it's something for which Bynum should be prepared. 

RELATED:

Lakers offer incomplete picture through 10 games

Mike Brown admits struggles in handling compacted schedule

Five ways to decrease the Lakers' turnovers

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will match up with Phoenix forward Grant Hill tonight at Staples Center. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

Lakers offer incomplete picture through 10 games

The Lakers' 6-4 start marks their worst 10-game beginning since they opened the 2005-06 season with Smush Parker at point guard and went 4-6. There are plenty of positive and negative developments as well as a slew of uncertainties that make it hard to see what happens next. 

The Good

1. Work Ethic — This team's identity immediately flipped into a grind-it-out team partly because of Mike Brown's coaching style and partly because of the uncertain transition period. The Lakers have high expectations and the execution has been far from pretty. But it's nice for a change to see the Lakers actually trying in every single game.

2. Kobe Bryant's shooting — It's beyond comprehension how Bryant's been able to adjust his shot and go 49% in the past four games despite the torn ligament in his right wrist still ailing him. But he somehow does it.

3. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol — Bynum stormed out the gate strong and showed more offensive aggression. Meanwhile, Gasol has adjusted nicely by becoming a facilitator and maintaining a consistent midrange jump shot.

4.Half-court defense — Expect plenty of free-taco nights. The Lakers have allowed only 90.7 points per game, fifth best in the league.

5. Josh McRoberts — He doesn't exactly replace Lamar Odom, but his hustle and ability to hit his shots   has proved infectious when he's in the lineup. 

Continue reading »
Connect

Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video

All Things Lakers »

Your database for all things purple and gold.

Find a Laker

Search a name

Select a season

Choose one of our lists



Categories


Archives
 

About the Bloggers


Bleacher Report | Lakers

Reader contributions from Times partner Bleacher Report

More Lakers on Bleacher Report »



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists:


In Case You Missed It...