The test for Andrew Bynum in Fridays game was coming back with energy after playing 29 minutes the night before. Some of Bynums worst performances in the Long Beach summer league came in back-to-back situations.
Bynum finished with a quiet 7 points and 3 rebounds in 25:50 as the Lakers beat New Orleans 113-106. The Hornets were playing without Tyson Chandler, which meant Bynum matched up against forward David West most of the night.
With Kwame Brown and Chris Mihm out, Bynum is the player to watch the rest of the preseason, at least until Kobe Bryant returns to test his right knee.
Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis spelled out all that Bynum is expected to do on the floor, from racing to get back to the defensive end to posting up early on the offensive end to anchoring the defense and being a good communicator.
“Theres a lot of things that he has to do, Rambis said. “Sometimes he does things well and sometimes he doesnt. Its an awesome responsibility for a kid his age. But were expecting him to grow each and every day.
Bynum had only two baskets in the game, his other points came at the foul line. He posted up West early in the first quarter and flipped in a hook shot with his right hand. Bynum also finished a pick-and-roll with Lamar Odom.
Where Bynums play was most notable Friday came in passing the ball. He had four assists and did a good job locating shooters. Smush Parker hit a 3-pointer after Bynum was double-teamed inside and moved the ball.
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Parker found out in the second quarter Thursday just how strict the NBA is going to be this season in enforcing player conduct on the court.
Parker thought he had stolen the ball from the Clippers Tim Thomas only to be called for a foul. He grabbed the ball in frustration and took two steps with it, a move the league has targeted in its points of emphasis to referees.
“The guys who play with emotion and passion, Parker said, “its going to be kind of hard for them to control themselves.
“Some of the things are silly little technical fouls, just the referees trying to clean up bad behavior, Rambis added. “But when youre out there in the heat of battle, you forget all about the new rules.
Vujacic, meanwhile, was left scratching his head after a third-quarter technical. He was battling for position against Cuttino Mobley when he was called for a foul. Vujacic tried to demonstrate how Mobley was hooking him and drew the technical.
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Second-round draft pick J.R. Pinnock continued to struggle, making just 2 of 9 shots in 20 minutes. Pinnock had the games lowlight as he was blocked at the rim by Cedric Simmons on a dunk attempt in the second quarter.
Pinnock is now shooting 5 for 28 (17.9 percent) in the preseason.
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Jordan Farmar had to bounce back from two rough stretches in Fridays game. He missed his first four shots, the last of which was rejected by Simmons, but didnt hesitate in taking and making a 3-pointer in the second quarter.
The Lakers later gave back half of their 19-point lead in a matter of moments in the third quarter. Farmar was guilty of a couple of turnovers in the stretch, including an 8-second call.
Farmar did hit all three shots he took in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer, and found Luke Walton for a 3-pointer that was one of the games biggest shots.
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Walton talked about the turnaround jumper he has knocked down all preseason.
“Thats my shot, Walton said. “The coaches dont like fadeaways that much, so its something Ive got show enough to where they start letting me shoot it. Coach (Lute) Olson (at Arizona) never let me shoot it until my junior year and senior year. Now I have to re-prove it again.
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Maurice Evans introduced himself to the Staples Center crowd with 27 points Friday.
“Scoring is definitely something that I can do out there with our offense, Evans said. “It is funny because before I came to the NBA I was never known as a defensive stopper.
“But I think that your role evolves with each team that you go to and hopefully I can be more than just a defensive stopper or offensive player. Hopefully, I can just be a chameleon and do whatever the team needs.
Here’s the story for Saturday’s paper
By Ross Siler
The sample size is admittedly small – - only six exhibition games played in half-filled arenas – - but Lakers forward Luke Walton has looked anything but shaky when it comes to shooting the ball this season.
Walton hit 5 of 9 shots in the Lakers 113-106 victory over New Orleans on Friday night and is shooting 54.5 percent for the preseason – - remarkable considering Walton has been a 41.5 percent shooter for his career.
With his shot falling, Walton has been able to show off his full skill set on the floor. He finished with 12 points and four assists Friday at Staples Center and is averaging 9.2 points and 4.2 assists.
“Hes playing with a lot of confidence, Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis said. “I think there were stretches of last year where he was overly concerned with his shot and I think that brought some of his confidence down when he wasnt hitting his shot.
But I think hes got a nice stroke right now and the rest of his game is there, the defense, the rebounding, the ability to pass the basketball. Hes got a good head on his shoulders. Hes really coming into his own as a player.
The snapshots from Friday better tell the story of Waltons night. He knocked down fadeaway jumpers inside, found cutters from the high post and drilled two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Walton even posted up Hornets forward Peja Stojakovic in the third quarter and flipped in a left-handed shot in the lane.
“I worked on it all summer and its just confidence, Walton said. “I feel great with the ball. Im comfortable right now. Im not really worried about missing.
The Lakers have opted not to start Walton even with Vladimir Radmanovic injured, instead counting on him to lead an inexperienced second unit with the likes of Jordan Farmar and Ronny Turiaf.
But Walton was on the floor at the end of Fridays game as the Hornets closed to within six points in the final two minutes. Walton said of finishing games, “Thats more fun than starting.
The Lakers were led by Maurice Evans with 27 points and Lamar Odom, who narrowly missed a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Odom said afterward that he is still struggling to get back in shape after playing so little over the summer following the death of his infant son.
“My legs are still not under me, Odom said. “Im not as strong as I want to be. If I had 10 rebounds tonight, I could have easily had 15. Im still mistiming the ball.
“This is a hard sport to play when youre not as strong as you should be. I have an uphill battle ahead of me.
Injury report: The Lakers traded one sprained ankle for another Friday as guard Sasha Vujacic was unable to play but forward Brian Cook returned after sitting out the night before. Vujacic is day to day.
That again left the Lakers with 10 available players and eight injured players only 11 days before the season opener.
Jacksons return: The Lakers are hopeful that coach Phil Jackson can return for the teams final exhibition game Thursday in Anaheim. It would be Jacksons first game back after undergoing hip-replacement surgery Oct. 3.
Star treatment: Lakers owner Jerry Buss will be honored Oct. 30 with a television star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Buss is credited with helping launch the Prime Ticket sports network in 1985.