Andrew Bynum’s defense proves decisive for Lakers
The video doesn’t lie.
And when Andrew Bynum saw how he was slow to get back on transition defense after Lakers Coach Phil Jackson pointed out that fact over and over and over again during Thursday’s video session, Bynum could only listen.
Then again, it was either listen or sit on the bench.
Bynum listened -- playing 27 minutes, 28 seconds -- being active on defense and offense, being that force in the middle the Lakers needed.
Bynum ran his seven-foot, 285-pound body back hard and with a purpose, getting in position to be a defensive factor for the Lakers during their 111-87 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series at Staples Center.
It wasn’t a threat from Jackson, but he had gotten his point across to Bynum.
“It was more like, ‘This is what we need,’” Bynum said. “It was in the tape. You couldn’t really deny it when they show it to you every single time. You see you’re not getting back on the tape.”
Bynum was a force on offense as well.
He scored a playoff-career high 21 points.
He missed just two of his 10 shots. His 11 rebounds meant Bynum had his third double-double in the best-of-seven series that the Lakers lead, 3-2. Game 6 is Friday night in Oklahoma City.
“For me specifically, it was just kind of concentrating on the whole game the whole day,” said Bynum, who also blocked two shots, had one assist and just one foul.
“The coaches told me if I can’t get back on defense I can’t play. So I had to get back” Tuesday night.
The Lakers have had problems slowing down Thunder super-quick point guard Russell Westbrook.
The Thunder looked to put Westbrook in pick-and-rolls with Bynum on the defensive end and Derek Fisher.
Kobe Bryant moved over to defend Westbrook. That was one adjustment the Lakers made.
Another was Bynum “showing” more on the pick-and-rolls, doing his best to slow Westbrook and not let him get into the lane with ease like he had done in the previous four games.
“What happened was the guys did a good job of jamming him up the court so he didn’t have as much energy when he got up to the actual screen-and-roll,” Bynum said. “So we were able to contain him a little bit better.”
The Lakers shot 53.8% as a team.
They had 27 assists on 42 made field goals.
Bryant had seven assists, Pau Gasol five and Ron Artest had five.
Many times the Lakers found Bynum down low for dunks.
“We went through our offense from top to bottom [Thursday] in practice and executed,” Bynum said. “We saw that when we move the basketball around and move ourselves, it’s very easy to score. We just have to continue to do that.”
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