Trevor Ariza comes on strong for Lakers

Lakers forward Trevor Ariza was scoreless in the first half Thursday. He was playing as poorly as the Lakers, who trailed the Orlando Magic at halftime, 49-37.

Then came the third quarter.

Ariza had 13 points in the quarter, making two three-point baskets and five of six shots overall, as the Lakers outscored the Magic, 30-14, and went on to a 99-91 overtime victory.

“Trevor came out and just found something out there,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “He really carried a lot of energy for us in the second half. We needed everything he could give us.”


Ariza finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in 43 minutes.

Hard lessons

If nothing else, it has been a learning experience for Andrew Bynum.

The Lakers’ center has scored in double figures only once in the last 10 games. Game 4 in the NBA Finals was no different.

Bynum had six points, two rebounds and five fouls in only 15 minutes Thursday.

“I think everything is an experience for Andrew,” said Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis, who, along with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, works with Bynum.

“In my mind, he has not played enough basketball over the last six years,” Rambis said. “He needs to get as much time on the court, as much situations as he can possibly get to get the experience, to get the knowledge he has to have in order to grow and improve as a basketball player.”

Bynum, 21, has played in only 107 games the last two years, including playoffs, because of injuries.

His biggest issue in the Finals has been foul trouble while guarding Dwight Howard.

Thursday in Game 4, Bynum picked up his second foul with 8:42 left in the first quarter. He didn’t return until the second quarter but left again quickly after picking up his third foul. He played five minutes in the first half.

Bynum picked up his fifth foul with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter and left for good with 5:38 remaining in the quarter. He did not play in overtime.

“He has to play defense more with his feet,” Rambis said. “He has to play with his feet and not reach on defense.”

Older is better?

The NBA requires players to be 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school before entering the amateur draft, but Jackson thought it should be more than that.

“I hope they make it two-and-done in the future, the near future,” he said. “I think the NCAA would be very happy if we did two [years]. The credibility of coaches in the college ranks is great.

“I’m a big proponent of colleges and hopefully the NBA moving it to two years [of college] or 20 years of age.”

Orlando Coach Stan Van Gundy disagreed.

“I don’t really understand how we get away with that as a league, that we tell a guy out of high school he can’t come and play in our league,” Van Gundy said. “The guy should have the right to make a living and to come into our league.

“But I don’t want to get going in this press conference on the NCAA because I think that’s about the worst organization going.”