Jackson: Bynum still a month away

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said tonight it could be another month before injured center Andrew Bynum can play in a game. Bynum has been out since suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 31. He was expected to be out for up to 12 weeks.

“I’m not a trainer and I’m certainly not a physical therapist on top of it, but he’s still a month away from being a player,” Jackson said before the Lakers played host to the Golden State Warriors. “Best-case scenario is that he plays the first week of April. On the pace he’s been going, it’s really hard to see him doing that in two weeks.”

Bynum expects to perform a variety of basketball-related drills Friday.

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Sun returns to D-Fenders (Updated)

Sun Yue, a rookie guard from China, was re-assigned today to the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ developmental league team. Sun played four games earlier this month with the D-League team and averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 36 minutes. He has played only 10 games with the Lakers, scoring only six points in a total of 28 minutes.

UPDATE: Sun scored four points on 1-for-6 shooting in the D-Fenders’ 103-91 victory over the Iowa Energy. He also had five assists, two rebounds and two blocks in almost 23 minutes.

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Bynum’s next step

Lakers center Andrew Bynum said today during a radio interview that he planned to begin basketball-related activities Friday. The 7-foot Bynum has been sidelinded by a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee since Jan. 31.

“I’m going to increase my lateral movement come Friday and I’m going to try to get back on the court and do a little bit of drills on Friday as well,” Bynum said during an interview with John Ireland and Steve Mason of KSPN (710 AM).

In addition, Bynum said his participation in a full practice with his teammates is still a few weeks away, and he remains hopeful of playing in an undetermined number of regular-season games next month. The Lakers end their regular season April 14.

“As far as when I’m coming back, it’ll be as soon as I’m ready, man,” Bynum said. “It will definitely be some time in the middle of April.”

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Ariza’s guarantees

Trevor Ariza said today that he would guarantee that he would not make the same mistake he made Tuesday night in not fouling Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers when the Lakers had a foul to give in the closing seconds. Iguodala’s 3-pointer at the buzzer made the Lakers losers.

Ariza also said he would guarantee that the Lakers would not cough up a third consecutive double-digit lead when they face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night. The blew leads of 15 points in a victory Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks and 14 points in Tuesday’s loss to the 76ers.

Asked if the Lakers’ lack a killer instinct, Ariza merely laughed. “Nah, I don’t think that’s what it is,” he said. “I just think we kind of relax when we shouldn’t. We take things for granted a little bit, but I guarantee you that (squandering a big lead) won’t happen again.”

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Why didn’t Trevor foul?

Trevor Ariza said after the game that he expected Andre Iguodala to drive to the basket on the final play, not pull up for a 3-pointer.

“I didn’t expect it,” Ariza said. “I thought he was going to try to go to the rim. I could have fouled him on the way up, but I didn’t expect him to pull up. He hit a tough shot. He’s a good player and that’s what good player do, they hit tough shots.”

Lakers coach Phil Jackson seemed nonplussed that Ariza didn’t foul before Iguodala got the shot up. So did center Pau Gasol.

“We shouldn’t have gotten to that point anyways,” Gasol said. “That’s the learning part of it, and also hopefully the fact that when there’s six seconds left and we have a foul to give, we can’t take that kind of a chance and let that guy take a three and win the game. At least put him on the line and make him earn it.”

Kobe Bryant said he was OK with Ariza’s defense on the play.

“In hindsight we should have taken the foul,” Bryant said. “Trevor play him and played him well. He was 0 for 6 on threes but he made the big one at the end….

“Trevor contested it, hats off to him. He’s an extremely talented player and I obviously think the world of him. We spent a great deal of time talking in the summer and I was happy with the way he played.”

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From the locker room

Blech. That’s kinda how it felt inside the locker room after the Lakers strange loss to the Sixers on Tuesday night.

Lamar Odom kind of summed things up.

“Next,” he said, when a reporter asked about the team’s mood after the sour loss. “Next practice, next game. It’s just a game that we have to put behind us as soon as possible.”

We expected Kobe Bryant to be irritable and upset after the loss, but seemed to be in a similar mood as Odom.

“Do I look concerned?” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “No, I’m not concerned. It’s just a good lesson for us. It’s a lesson learned and thats the key. Sure you want to win all these games, but you also want to learn from them so when you get in the post season it doesn’t happen again.”

Pau Gasol seemed a bit more openly disappointed, saying that “we just weren’t controlling out there” but noting that “I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page. Now we just need to take care of what we need to take care of and play our basketball.”

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Pau Gasol x-ray negative

Pau Gasol had an x-ray on his right pinkie after the game, but it was negative. His pinkie got whacked early in Tuesday’s loss to Philadelphia, but apparently didn’t hurt his shooting stroke much as he went 9-for-12 from the floor.

Gasol is now 21 for 25 from the field in his last two games.

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Lakers lose 94-93 on Andre Iguodala’s buzzer-beater

Wow, didn’t see that coming. It was looking like just another ho-hum uninspired win over a mediocre team. Kobe Bryant hit a 18-foot jumper with about six seconds remaining that looked like it would be the game-winner, 93-91, but Andre Iguodala came out of the time out and buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer in front of the outstretched arms of Trevor Ariza to give Philly the stunning win.

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Kobe documentary

“Kobe Doin’ Work,” the Spike Lee documentary that was filmed during the Lakers-Spurs Western Conference Finals last year, will debut at The Tribeca Film Festival in New York on April 25. The festival runs April 22-May 3 in lower Manhattan. ESPN will then air it on Saturday, May 16 at 4:30 p.m.

On Tuesday, Bran played in his 933rd career game, passing Jerry West for second most in franchise history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,093) holds the record.

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Jackson breaks down the MVP race

Lakers coach Phil Jackson had this to say tonight about the MVP race, which most handicappers believe comes down to a contest between Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat:

“Single-handedly Wade has helped his team out. You know Cleveland puts the ball in the hands of James umpteen times a game. All the way down the stretch, he creates shots for other people or for himself. His defense has improved in a manner that’s extremely impressive and Kobe is Kobe. He’s the reigning MVP guy. So, it’s a hard choice. I’m glad I don’t have to make it.”

Reporters, rather than coaches, vote on the MVP award in the last week of the regular season.

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