The difference between the 19-year-old Andrew Bynum and potentially the 24-year-old Bynum were well illustrated by Sunday’s game. Bynum finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes but could have had a 20-10 game against Memphis.
The Lakers tried to establish Bynum early on. He started the game by missing a putback and getting called for three seconds. He then was blocked by Stromile Swift the first of two times in the game. Kobe Bryant tried to slip a pass to Bynum that the 7-footer couldn’t hold onto.
Bynum finally got a basket when he dunked off a pick-and-roll with Smush Parker. He finished the first quarter with seven points on 3 of 7 shooting with three rebounds. It could have been a lot more and Bynum could have rode that momentum throughout the game.
He played more than 8 minutes in the fourth quarter and did not score or get to the foul line. The focus obviously was on Kwame Brown coming back from injury but Bynum could have had a big night, especially considering he was called for only one foul all game.
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Parker heard boos from the crowd in the fourth quarter after he had a shot blocked by Damon Stoudamire, then fouled Stoudamire in the aftermath. Parker is in a deep rut right now and again hurt the Lakers down the stretch. He went 1 for 4 in the quarter and made 1 of 2 free throws after the Grizzlies closed within seven points.
Parker redeemed himself with 3:28 left when he stole an Eddie Jones pass and raced the other way to finish a fast break when Bryant flipped him a between-the-legs pass. But Parker continued to say after the game that somebody stole his “mojo.”
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Lamar Odom seemed excited to have gotten the call to shoot a technical foul free throw after the Grizzlies were called for defensive three seconds in the second quarter. Bryant shot almost every technical last season but was on the bench when the situation arose Sunday.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson couuld have opted for Kwame Brown, Maurice Evans, Vladimir Radmanovic, Jordan Farmar or Odom. Evans is a career 76.6 percent foul shooter compared to Odom’s 71.3 percent; Odom has shot better at the line this season than Evans.
Odom hit the technical and went on to convert all three free throws when he was fouled on a 3-pointer in the third quarter.