Andrew Bynum acknowledges poor effort in win over Thunder
Andrew Bynum sat on the bench, and this time it had nothing to do with taking an ill-advised three-pointer. It had everything to do with not showing enough effort rebounding or playing defense.
But after posting 10 points on five-of-15 shooting and eight rebounds in the Lakers’ 114-106 double-overtime win Sunday over the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bynum sounded different than he has in recent weeks. He didn’t take digs at Lakers Coach Mike Brown, and he didn’t vow to continue such behavior.
“I just played poorly. It’s easily fixable,” Bynum said. “I don’t think I was posting up hard and they were getting in front of me. I wasn’t being aggressive.”
Of course, this admission should hardly rest well with Lakers fans. Bynum admitted to “loafing around” during the Lakers’ 106-101 loss to the Detroit Pistons on March 7. Given Bynum’s lack of filter, he’s just being honest. Against Oklahoma City, Bynum hardly looked like the player that earned his first All-Star appearance because of improved aggressivneess and post moves (18.9 points), strong rebounding (11.9) and intimidating defense.
Brown saw Bynum failed to get back in time on defense so much that he played seldom-used power forward Jordan Hill in the second quarter.
“Jordan Hill‘s activity at the point on the screen was better than all of our bigs combined,” Brown said.
And so Brown stuck with Hill in the fourth quarter, and he finished with 14 points on six-of-11 shooting and a career-high 15 rebounds. Brown insisted he mostly kept Bynum out of the lineup because the unit featuring Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake, Devin Ebanks, Hill and Pau Gasol eliminated their deficit. But he also admitted concerns that Bynum’s poor play “can be an effort thing.”
“Drew also thinks at times that he’s long enough that if he’s back X amount of feet when that guy comes off [teh screen], he’s still good enough to challenge the shot,” Brown said. “Sometimes it’s effort and sometimes I don’t know what he’s thinking. But with our pick-and-roll coverages against these guys ... our bigs need to be up the floor because they set a lot of screen and rolls.”
This is hardly a one-time thing. After becoming the fifth player in Laker history to record 30 rebounds in last week’s win at San Antonio, Bynum has posted double-digit rebounds in only one of the last six games. During Bryant’s seven-game absence because of a sore left shin, Bynum largely struggled in facing increased double teams.
“I was playing terribly and he (Brown) made the right decision,” Bynum said. “I didn’t play well and Jordan played great, so credit Jordan with the win.”
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