Andrew Bynum lived up to his word. He shot another three-pointer.
This time it came from half court and barely nipped the bottom of the net. Don’t worry. Bynum wasn’t doing it out of spite for Mike Brown. The Lakers coach, consequently, didn’t bench him for what would’ve been the second time in a week. But the shot proved troubling for another reason. It marked only the second field-goal attempt he had in the first 24 minutes when the Lakers hosted the Hornets on Saturday afternoon at Staples Center.
Everything changed in the second half when his 19-point effort on seven-of-10 shooting proved instrumental in the Lakers’ 88-85 victory over New Orleans. So, too, was his block on Greivis Vasquez to prevent the Hornets from widening their 79-76 lead with 4:09 remaining on a play that Brown described as “very big.” But the Lakers offered a puzzling explanation on why Bynum only recorded one first-half field goal -- off a Pau Gasol lob early in the first quarter.
Bynum first offered honesty, saying “I need some more shots, I think.” Then he offered a theory that hardly sounded believable since he continuously laughed and smiled about it.
“I wanted to get 10 assists so I was passing but, you know, I didn’t get them,” said Bynum, who actually finished with two assists. “I passed the ball a lot to open teammates.”
That was just one example of sarcastic comments offered by Bynum.
A reporter asked Bynum what Kobe Bryant was like during timeouts after missing his first 15 shots. Bynum said, “I don’t know. I don’t take part in the huddle.” Of course, Bynum earned criticism earlier this week when he didn’t join team huddles during his benching Tuesday against Golden State. But he had a simpler explanation: “I’m resting … getting my Zen on,” in reference to the Buddhist philosophy former coach Phil Jackson often preached.
He was then asked if the career-high 35.9 minutes per game he’s been playing has caught up to him: “I’m ready for it. Everyday. I take my medicine every day.” He then said that medicine is simply a medicine ball.
If that’s not confusing enough, Brown actually argued that Bynum’s disappearing act in the first half had nothing to do with lack of aggressiveness or looks. It had more to do with his effective passing out of double teams.
“I thought he got touches,” Brown said. “If you go back and watch the game, whenever he gets a touch, they’re sending another body. Can he beat the double team? Yeah. They can beat the double team, which he has done. But to ask a guy to beat a double or a triple team the whole game is tough. I thought he did a terrific job of playing inside-out basketball especially early on. I thought in our first 15 possessions we had an assist on every bucket. He was part of the spacing and ball movement. I liked the way he was playing.”
But if you watch the game, it’s clear Bynum lacked post positioning and hardly demanded the ball. That is, until the second half rolled around. But I digress.
“I’m OK,” Bynum said. “I’m just going out and playing hard. I want to win.”
And, of course, while dishing out assists.