Bynum’s foul upgraded to a Flagrant-2

The NBA informed the Lakers Wednesday night that Andrew Bynum’s foul on Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace in Tuesday night’s game has been upgraded from a Flagrant-1 to the more serious Flagrant-2 violation, but that Bynum will not face further punishment.

An NBA spokesman confirmed, Thursday afternoon, that Bynum will not face further punishment.

Bynum seemed relieved upon learning that he will not be suspended, but was still concerned with Wallace’s health. Wallace suffered a cracked a rib and partially collapsed lung on the play. He left Staples Center on a stretcher and was taken to Centinela Hospital.

Bynum said Thursday that he called Wallace’s cell phone and left a message, but has not heard back from him.

“I didn’t try to hurt him,” Bynum said Thursday after practice. “His momentum was great, and if you look at the play, once he hit me I kind of spun around because I didn’t know he was coming that fast.

“I wish him the best of luck and hope that he recovers.”

Bobcats coach Larry Brown said he didn’t think Bynum should be suspended.

“That kid waited at our bus, trying to get to Gerald, and he apologized to me,” Brown told the Charlotte Observer. “If he had a history of that (rough play), I might feel different, but I just think it was a hard foul.”

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Busy, busy, busy

This figures to be a hectic day, what with the Lakers practicing and then flying off to snowy Minnesota for the start of their six-game trip Friday. We might learn whether Trevor Ariza is fit enough to join his teammates for the flight after suffering a concussion in Tuesday’s double-OT loss to Charlotte. We also might find out of the league will suspend and/or fine Andrew Bynum for sending Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace to the hospital with a broken rib and collapsed lung. As if that’s not enough, we will also learn the names of the All-Star reserves during TNT’s pregame show at 4 p.m. Pau Gasol is expected to make it, although he had better hope it’s not based on his last game. Gasol had a real stinker against Charlotte.

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Afternoon update

Trevor Ariza showed slight improvement the day after suffering a concussion in the Lakers’ loss Tuesday to the Charlotte Bobcats. He was injured when he ran into a pick set by the Bobcats’ Juwan Howard in the opening seconds of the second quarter. A team spokesman said Ariza would be examined by Dr. John Moe on Thursday and it would be decided then whether the backup forward is healthy enough to travel with the Lakers to Minnesota.

Also, Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace suffered a broken rib and a partially collapsed lung after crashing to the court after Andrew Bynum fouled him late in regulation time Tuesday. Wallace was sent to a local hospital and did not join his teammates for their trip to Portland. There was no immediate word from the league office about a possible suspension for Bynum, who received a flagrant foul for his hip check and forearm shiver.

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From the locker room

All night you had a feeling this might be coming. One, the Charlotte Bobcats have a recent history of beating the Lakers. And two, the whole building was just dead tonight.

That malaise seemed to be contagious as the Lakers seemed stagnant and distant all night.

“Our energy was probably lagging all game,” Lamar Odom said.

Said Kobe Bryant:

“There was nothing Ronny Turiaf about tonight.”

Andrew Bynum was a bit more descriptive in assessing what went wrong with the Lakers normally high-powered offense.

“We got kind of locked into one side of the court, and weren’t swinging the ball,” Bynum said.

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Kobe Bryant not in a great mood

Kobe Bryant fouled out at the end of the first overtime in the Lakers 117-110 double-overtime loss to the Bobcats, so he had quite of bit of time on the bench to reflect on how the Bobcats were able to take it to the Lakers, once again.

Still, by the time he emerged from the Lakers locker room around 11:15 p.m., he hadn’t cooled off much at all.

The following is the full one minute, 57 second Q&A session we had with him. I think the last quote is most telling, since it’s basically a way of saying the Lakers lacked energy and hustle on Tuesday.

Q: Was this loss more about not coming up with stops, or key baskets?
A: It’s always stops

Q: Why do you guys have a propensity to give up a three when a three is the only thing that can kill you?

A: We’ve just got learn from our mistakes.

Q: On that sixth foul, were you more disappointed in yourself or the actual call?
A: I don’t know, doesn’t matter

Q: When you were sitting on the sidelines, what positives did you see with your team?
A: None, we lost.

Q: On being animated when Lamar was late on the rotation that allowed Diaw to hit a game-tying 3-pointer. Was that anger at Lamar, or frustration at game being tied?

A: Diaw made a big shot

Q: What do you have to get right before Friday to avoid getting knocked off there?
A: We just need to play better. We’re looking forward to this trip, just got to go out there and play solid basketball, see if we can’t beat them.

Q: Why does Charlotte give you so much trouble?
A: They give a lot of teams a hard time, a lot of top teams. They play extremely well

Q: How hard was it to be on the bench for that second overtime?
A: It was tough

Q: What was going through your head when you were on the bench?
A: Just try to point out some things that I may see out there during the course of the game. Try to help them out.

Q: So more coaching and less Ronny Turiaf?
A: There was nothing Ronny Turiaf about tonight.

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Lakers fall in marathon

The Lakers lost to the Charlotte Bobcats, 117-110, in double overtime, which might be the least of their concerns when they leave Thursday to begin a six-game trip. After all, they might be without Trevor Ariza, who suffered a concussion when he ran into Charlotte’s Juwan Howard in the second quarter. They also might be without Andrew Bynum, who sent the Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace to the hospital with a possible broken rib.

Ariza was nauseated and dizzy, according to Lakers coach Phil Jackson. It was unclear whether Ariza would be fit to play Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the first stop on the Lakers’ longest trip to date. He was hurt in the opening minute of the second quarter and continued to play for several minutes before heading to the locker room.

Bynum could be suspended for his hit on a driving Wallace, who crashed heavily to the court and had to be helped to the Bobcats’ locker room. Bynum was given a flagrant foul on the play, which happened with 2:08 left in regulation. Wallace was taken by stretcher from the arena and transported to a local hospital for further tests.

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Halftime: Bobcats 49, Lakers 48 (Updated with Ariza injury)

UPDATE: Trevor Ariza suffered a concussion and had to leave the game with 4:52 remaining in the second quarter. He will not return to the game.

The Lakers trailed for most of the first half as Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant misfired early and often. Gasol had seven points on 3-for-11 shooting and Bryant had 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting. The Lakers trailed by as many as 10 points before rallying in the closing minutes of the half. Gerald Wallace led Charlotte with 12 points. Andrew Bynum had 11 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers.

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Bynum honored

Andrew Bynum earned Western Conference player of the week honors for his standout play in victories over Cleveland, the Clippers, Washington and San Antonio. He scored a career-high 42 points and also grabbed 15 rebounds in the Lakers’ win over the Clippers last Wednesday. He averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in four games.

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If Kobe can suck it up….

… Apparently Sasha Vujacic will too.

Sasha said he’s going to give it ago tonight, despite spraining his left ankle in practice yesterday.

Apparently, this show of determination was inspired by Kobe Bryant’s recent history of playing through pain.

“If my captain can play,” Vujacic said. “I can too.”

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Medical news

There were several updates on the medical front following today’s practice. Nothing earth-shattering, but they involved three guards, including Kobe Bryant. Otherwise it was a pretty quiet day around the Lakers’ training facility.

Bryant said his injured right ring finger was much improved after Monday’s practice. It had pained him in recent games and practices after he dislocated it in the opening minutes of the Lakers’ victory Jan. 19 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jordan Farmar had an ice pack on his surgically-repaired left knee after practice, but was otherwise unharmed after scoring 14 points in 17 minutes in his return to the active roster Sunday. There was no swelling or pain, he said. He had surgery Dec. 24.

Backup shooting guard Sasha Vujacic suffered a mild sprain of his left ankle during practice, but is expected to play Tuesday night against Charlotte. He missed two games two weeks ago because of back spasms, but has returned to form.

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