I’m sad to report that nobody at Lakers practice Saturday was planning to watch the Clippers-Timberwolves game at 5 p.m. It’s just the Clippers’ luck that they play directly opposite (and one channel down from) the USC-Notre Dame game.
Andrew Bynum has a big game Sunday against his home-state New Jersey Nets, which also brings a matchup against another promising young center in Nenad Krstic. Bynum’s night against Utah on Friday was one of the topics of interest at practice.
The Lakers worked on exactly what you would expect after playing the Jazz – – transition defense, defending interior passes and rebounding position. The Lakers also can look forward to a desperate Nets team coming to town after losing their first three games on this road trip.
By Ross Siler
EL SEGUNDO–There are the ups and downs to be expected from Andrew Bynum, starting at center for the Lakers only days after his 19th birthday. Then there was the sight of Kobe Bryant having to calm down Bynum on Friday as he barked at the referees.
Bynum played only 14 minutes in the Lakers loss to Utah, with coach Phil Jackson saying afterward that his big man wasnt given enough of a chance to play in what he described as a “roughhouse game.
A traveling call cost Bynum a basket in the second quarter. The play that really set him off, though, came with 1:35 left before halftime. Bynum thought he had position to draw a charge against Matt Harpring only to be whistled for a foul instead.
Bynums frustration nearly got the best of him before Bryant intervened and walked the teenager away from the referees.
“Hes starting to feel like hes a contributor and when he gets calls that go against him, he should get calls that go for him once in a while out there, too, Jackson said. “I dont want him to get a technical, but its OK that hes starting to have a voice.
Bynum had a tough matchup against Utahs Carlos Boozer. He finished with four points and two rebounds and went to the bench three minutes into the third quarter after getting blocked by Andrei Kirilenko. That was where he stayed the rest of the game.
Back at practice Saturday, Jackson wanted to get Bynum – – who has sat in favor of Kwame Brown the last two games – – the chance to run five-on-five and get his confidence back.
“Today was a day we wanted Drew to get back and be aggressive out here because we need him to play for us, Jackson said. “We need those 25 minutes or 20 minutes, whatever he can give us, to be productive minutes.
Well known: The one thing forward Luke Walton wont need for tonights game against New Jersey is a scouting report on Richard Jefferson, his close friend and roommate for two years at Arizona.
“Ive been playing against him for eight years, Walton said, “so its like playing against the guys in practice where you know their moves, you know what they like to do.
Walton and Jefferson lived together this summer in San Diego and trained at a nearby gym along with Antoine Wright, Brian Cook, Kareem Rush and Danny Granger. Charlotte assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff worked out the group regularly.
“Its one of those things where we all feed off each other, said Walton, who had to listen to a summers worth of trash talk about the Nets two victories over the Lakers last season.
The biggest difference tonight is that Walton will be in the starting lineup and will match up from the get-go against Jefferson, who is playing his way back from a sprained ankle on New Jerseys road trip.
Locked in: Kobe Bryant played the entire fourth quarter Friday and scored only two points. Jackson described Bryant as looking “leg-weary after the game, though Bryant said Saturday it was more a matter of picking his spots.
“My legs felt OK, Bryant said. “Kwame was rolling, Lamar (Odom) was rolling. I was facilitating the offense and going from there, just waiting for my moment to take it over. It never got to that point because they stretched it out to a four-point lead, five-point lead.
“So my moment never came. But I was champing at the bit, waiting for a three-point deficit, two-point deficit. You better believe my legs would have looked fresher than anything.
Also: The Lakers will play their next eight games at Staples Center, including a Dec. 2 road game against the Clippers. . . .Cook is suffering from strep throat, with Jackson saying, “I probably should have left him in the locker room (Friday).