Bynum’s starting job is not secure

Times Staff Writer

CLEVELAND -- Andrew Bynum is playing well enough to nail down a starting spot, but will that be the case when Kwame Brown comes back?

Bynum has averaged 14.3 points, 11.3 rebounds and three blocked shots during the last six games, a pretty good run, although Coach Phil Jackson was noncommittal, then tilted toward Brown, then was noncommittal again when asked who would start when both centers were healthy.

“I have no comment on that because I haven’t really seen Kwame play,” Jackson said. “I would imagine Kwame would go back to being a starter. I’m not going to make a comment on that yet.”


Brown has missed 16 games because of a sprained left knee and ankle, although he could return next week.

He is not with the team for a four-game trip that ends Sunday in New York. He is averaging 4.3 points and five rebounds this season.

Bynum had 17 points and 11 rebounds in 42 minutes in the Lakers’ 94-90 loss Thursday to Cleveland.

He had things on his mind other than a starting spot after missing two free throws that could have tied the score at 92-92 with 11.9 seconds to play.

“That’s tough,” Bynum said. “Chance to tie the game up. I was what, five for six until then? I felt like I shot them the same way. One was long, one was short.”

Bynum was a 66.7% free-throw shooter coming into the game.


What happened to the Lakers’ reserves?

Normally a source of energy and a fountain of points, they had seven points in 54 minutes against Cleveland.


Jordan Farmar had five points, Trevor Ariza had two, and that was it for the scoring. Sasha Vujacic missed all four of his shots, cooling down after a series of sharp games. Vladimir Radmanovic missed his only attempt in 10 minutes of playing time.

“Our bench has played well all year long,” said Kobe Bryant, who scored 21 points on eight-for-22 shooting. “They’ve had a couple games here and there where they didn’t really perform and tonight was one of them. But we have one of the best benches in the league. It was just one of those fluke games.”


at Philadelphia, 4

(tape delay, 5:30, Channel 9)

Site -- Wachovia Center.

Radio -- 570; 1330.

Records -- Lakers 15-10; 76ers 10-15.

Record vs. 76ers (2006-07) -- 1-1.

Update -- The Sixers faltered at the start of the season, but have played better lately in winning five of seven. The Lakers were pounded last season in Philadelphia, 108-92, as Andrew Bynum had two points, five rebounds and missed all four of his shots in 33 minutes.