Covering the Golden State Warriors is a completely different world than covering the Los Angeles Lakers. Sounds obvious, but I still wasn’t expecting a close win over the Warriors to cause so much drama in the Lakers’ locker room.
Andrew Bynum had one of his worst games of the year, which was strange because Bynum’s an All-Star and the Warriors were starting Jeremy Tyler at center. Bynum went 4-for-13 in the game, but it was one shot in particular that drove head coach Mike Brown crazy: a 3-pointer at the top of the key at the beginning of the second half.
Bynum was removed from the game seconds later. He would later return, but was soon pulled and finished the game on the bench. Bynum only played 23 minutes in the 104-101 win, finishing with 11 points and 5 rebounds, and didn’t gather around with the rest of the team during at least one timeout.
It appears Brown is losing control of this team in his first season. On Sunday, the Lakers lost at home to Memphis in a game where Kobe Bryant was benched for a 4-minute stretch late in the game. Bynum also made a three on Sunday, which he noted when asked about getting benched after the game. Check out his comments, they’re pretty candid.
“I made one last night. Felt good about it, shot it, he took me out for it.”
“I was fine. Coach might have an issue.”
Will he continue to take threes? “I would like to.”
“I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot.”
Why didn’t he join the huddle during a timeout? “He took me out of the game, so I sat where he put me.”
Mike Brown’s thoughts on Bynum’s performance:
Pau Gasol’s pointed comments:
“It’s something we have to address and figure out how to get everybody playing as hard as they can every single night for the success of this team,” Gasol said. “We need Andrew at his best to have a chance.”
Can he be at his best when he’s shooting threes? “That’s not his game.”
Bryant took a different view, one that might have something to do with how he feels about the current coaching staff.
“Everybody kind of frowned when he’d shoot a turnaround jumper in the post. And now people aren’t frowning anymore because he’s making them,” Bryant said. “Obviously coaching staff’s not used to seeing Drew pull up at the top of the key and take a 3-pointer. I’m sure Drew won’t take many of them, he just tried one tonight.”
“It’s somewhat amusing to me because in some ways, with the edginess and the chippiness, it makes it very easy for me to relate to him. Because I had some of that when I was young,” said Bryant. “It’s easy for me to see where he’s coming from.”
“The first thing you want to do if you want to get the best out of somebody, get the best out of a player is you have to understand what they’re feeling, you have to understand where they’re coming from and what they want to accomplish. That’s why it’s not that big a deal for me. That’s why you don’t see me tripping, you don’t see me sweating. It’s not that big a deal to me.”
On the challenges the coaching staff faces: “They have a lot of youth, and they’re not used to dealing with players of Drew’s ambition, I’m sure, this stage of his career,” he said. “I was in that position, obviously I have a lot of experience in dealing with myself, playing with Shaquille when Shaquille was young and being mentored by Phil, things like that. So nothing really rattles me.”
A Phil reference? Just par for the course in Los Angeles, where things aren’t nice and polite like they are … here in Oakland.