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Tag:Andrew Bynum
Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:06 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2012 3:14 pm
 

5 Things to Watch: Lakers at Heat

The Heat need LeBron James, who is a gametime decision with flu-like symptoms, against the Lakers Thursday night in Miami. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore


The Heat and Lakers are probably the most recognizable teams in the league at this moment in time. Featuring a likely six All-Stars between them, it's a marquee matchup of the season. Even with Dwyane Wade out and LeBron James a gametime decision, all eyes will be on South Beach Thursday night to see if the Lakers can get past the wall they've recently hit against LeBron's teams, and if Kobe Bryant can continue what has been an incredible month for him. The Lakers need this game to avoid another loss to a playoff team, and their second loss in three games, while the Heat need a win to stave off a disastrous four losses in five games stretch. With that, here are 5 Things to Watch or Miami Heat vs. L.A. Lakers 2012, Round 1. 

1. A Sick Attitude: LeBron James isn't feeling well. And it's not even the Finals! (Hey-O!) James is a gametime decision against L.A. due to "flu-like symptoms" that he's been dealing with this past week. James was also not feeling great against the Spurs and missed several layups and jumpers in the first half. Then apparently he had a Hi-C juice box at the half because he came out and demolished the Spurs in the third quarter to help the Heat turn a double-digit deficit into a double-digit route. That's what he can do. The question will be if his condition has worsened and how he reacts to it. Thanks to Michael Jordan, expectations actually raise if you have the flu. So LeBron's under pressure not only to win, but to extra special while sick. With the compact schedule, there's little rest, so James could be far less than 100 percent Thursday night. Which pretty much dooms the Heat. This is not the Hawks.

2. Spreading the Wealth: Kobe Bryant has been ridiculous over the past week, Mavericks game aside. He's been on tear of scoring 40 per game which came to an end against the Mavericks, but they got the win anyway. He's also been shooting an insane amount. His usage rate, or percentage of possessions used, is at 39.7 percent. So basically 4 out of every 10 times the Lakers come down the floor, he's the one who winds up with a shot or turnover. Against Miami, he may want to get everyone else involved so the Heat's help rotation defense doesn't neutralize everyone else, leaving him to go it alone. Granted, Dwyane Wade being out opens up chances for him (Shane Battier remarked after practice today that he was going to get some Hail Mary's in before the game). But the Lakers can dominate the Heat inside. An efficient game from Bryant that uses Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum's advantage over a small Heat frontline to open up opportunities for Kobe could be the difference. That way Kobe gets the points, and the win.

3. The Inside Man: Well, I was worried about Andrew Bynum tearing the Heat apart, but Eddy Curry might play. The Heat are saved! But seriously, Bynum should be able to have his way with the smaller Joel Anthony and much smaller Chris Bosh. The Heat may even put Dexter Pittman on Bynum due to his size, but the youngster won't have the experience or muscle to hang with the wunderkind. If Bynum gets touches, the Lakers can play at their pace and rough up the Heat. Do that and you slow down the Heat's transition attack, their biggest asset.

4. Old Friends: Mike Brown knows LeBron James' tendencies as well as anyone in the league, having coached him for years in Cleveland. And setting aside whatever personal history exists between them, Brown will likely have his team prepared to combat James' effectiveness, flu or no flu. Whether it's goading him into his ineffective mid-range jumper, bringing help at the right time and position, or attacking one hand or another, Brown will have one of the best books on James you can have in this league, and he has a quality defensive roster and Metta World Peace to implement on him. Classic matchup: superstar power versus coaching stratagem.

5. Next Generation: Norris Cole and Darius Morris could have a lot to say about this game Thursday night. Cole provides a full-speed, no hesitation bucket creator for the Heat they desperately need coming off the bench. Morris provides an athletic point guard, which they haven't had in eons. Derek Fisher's savvy and Mario Chalmers' athleticism and improved shooting should cancel one another out, which means whichever guard can make the most of the attention drawn by their superstar big brothers will make a big swing in a game that features a lot of veterans in role positions. You hate for a game to come down to two rookies, but considering the matchups, whichever handles the pressure better could help their team to a monstrous win.

Your Plus-3 for the game:

- Don't be surprised to see Chris Bosh heavily involved in trying to draw out Pau Gasol, who has struggled with defense in space this season. Bosh has excelled at the pump fake and go, but if his jumper isn't falling, Gasol can pack the lane along with Bynum, keeping the Heat in mid-range jumper mode.

- The odds of a physical conflict in this game are pretty high. Between Udonis Haslem, Andrew Bynum, Bryant and Battier, Matt Barnes, Metta World Peace and the rest of the Heat bench, this will likely not be a pretty game.

- Mike Miller hit his shots against the Spurs in his first game back. He better hope he hasn't used them all up. The Lakers will bring a lot of help and cheat inside on drives, which means Miller will have looks. If he knocks them down, that puts the Lakers' defense into disarray.
Posted on: January 19, 2012 2:35 pm
 

Howard leads second returns for All-Star 2012

Posted by Royce Young

The second batch of All-Star ballot returns are out and leading the entire league again in votes is Dwight Howard with 1,161,797 votes with Kobe Bryant still second with 1,110,379. Second in the East is Derrick Rose (1,040,210), who jumped LeBron James (972,580) and second in the West Kevin Durant (973,152).

If the voting ended today, the East's starting five would be Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and Howard. In the West it would be Chris Paul, Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum.

And looking over the vote totals, those starting lineups seem to be a bit set in stone, barring injury. Nobody is really all that close to catching anyone (Dirk was close to Griffin in the last voting, but Griffin has opened up a 300,000 vote lead).

So, are the fans getting it right so far? Kind of looks like they are, quite honestly. Can't argue with the West too much. I still take a little issue in that Kevin Love has been absolutely killing it in Minnesota so far this season averaging 26-15, but he's not part of Lob City, so it's hard to see him ever topping Griffin. Same goes for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is off to a fantastic start.

In the East, there's really nothing to change. Melo isn't really a power forward, but you can fudge the All-Star rosters a bit. Rajon Rondo isn't playing better than Rose, there's no better 2 in the East than Wade and of course LeBron and Howard are the best at their positions in the entire league. Injuries have played a role early in the season though, so you have to wonder if everyone will be healthy for the All-Star Game.

If the voting holds like this -- and it should -- we'll have a pretty accurate representation of the best in each league to start the All-Star Game. Again, I'd go with Love over Griffin, but that's not a sure thing case to make at this point. And it's not going to change anyway.
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:40 am
 

Are the Clippers more complete than the Lakers?



Clippers 102 Lakers 94: Recap | GameTracker

It was impossible watching the Clippers' win over the Lakers Saturday night at Staples who the best player on the floor was. Kobe Bryant dazzled. He hit impossible shot after imposible shot, including a fading three-pointer with a defender taking up 85 percent of his vision and a turnaround mid-range jumper with similar contest. He finished with 42 points on a decently efficienty 14 of 28 shooting, and only had two turnovers. 

And yet Chris Paul was the best player on the floor Saturday night, even with him having left before the game was over thanks to a strained hamstring late in the fourth quarter after essentially icing the game with another jumper. He finished with 31 points, 6 assists, and one turnover. But it wasn't the assists or turnovers or efficiency that made Paul the best Saturday night, nor was it the win he walked out with. It was his ability to work within the flow of an offense, to keep his teammates involved while also taking advantage of scoring opportunities with his array of skills. Paul hit some tough shots just as Bryant did, but the timing, causation, and execution were completely different. 

Bryant has been on a ridicuous scoring streak, hitting the 40 mark four times in a row. The easy answer is that the Black Mamba is doing enough, he simply isn't getting help. But the only real differences between this team and last year's title contender is the absence of Lamar Odom and Shannon Brown. But the subtle differences have a huge impact, and the same problem that has bugged L.A. for years is once again popping up. 

When the Lakers' offense stalls out to any degree, that's when Bryant's hero mode kicks in. And right now he's John McClaine. He's launching cars up into the air at helicopters and bringing down hover jets with trucks while taking out hordes of terrorists. But the problem is that in doing these amazing feats, he essentially removes any possibility of the Lakers' whole becoming greater than the sum of their parts. There is no flow, there is no rhythm. There is simply waiting for Bryant to score in order to try and rebound the miss or get back on defense if he hits. The result means that the Lakers' weak parts look weaker while Bryant looks stronger in comparison. 

This isn't entirely about Bryant. This is about Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol's assertiveness, and the shot making of other players. But those elements have to be allowed to thrive and they can't with Bryant testing the limits of what is possible just because he thinks it's hot. And it's not about how many field goals Bryant takes. He can shoot 50 times, if the shot is a result of the Lakers' offense functioning at the level it can and needs to. Instead, however, Bryant is taking perimeter shots, pull-up, contested, with 18 seconds or more on the clock. He's throwing up baseline runner J's over double teams. And he's hitting! But everyone knows that isn't sustainable. Bryant coul be scoring 40 points a night on 15 shots plus fouls, that's how good he is. But instead he operates on this plane. 

But maybe the bigger issue is the lack of a real playmaker, like Paul, on the Lakers. For years, that role has been filled by the system. The triangle under Phil Jackson naturally gave the stars on the Lakers the chance to distribute, create, and produce. Now under Mike Brown, the Lakers are struggling for an offensive identity. 

The Clippers are the opposite at this point. The may be flawed conceptually, but they are making it work with the pieces they have. The Lakers elected to challenge Paul to score Saturday night, taking away his weapons. He responded by showing them what an efficient shooter he is and burning down their Nets with an array of mid-range jumpers and leaners. The Lakers tried everything, but when they threw doubles and traps at Paul, his teammates had already been involved and were ready to produce. Chauncey Billups with 19, Caron Butler with 13 and even Randy Foye (who was not good overall) with 13. The Clippers have a complete team top to bottom, and that's a huge reason for their wins over Portland, Miami, and the Lakers. They may not be as good, but they are a more complete team. 

The Lakers were hurt by rebounds. They were hurt by inexperience. They were hurt by a slow start for Bryant. And they were definitely hurt by the brutal nature of their schedule. But if they want to get back to being a title contender, they have to stop with the sideshow stuff. Watching Kobe Bryant do his damage is amazingly fun to watch, but it's no longer 2006. The only way the Lakers are going forward is if they do it together. If they want a blueprint, all they have to do is take a good long look at little brother. 

 
Posted on: January 13, 2012 7:17 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 2:19 am
 

3-on-2 Fast Break: Clippers vs. Lakers



3-on-2 Fast Break is a weekly feature here on Eye on Basketball where our intrepid bloggers tackle two questions, comparing two elements. This week, we focus on Saturday night's showdown at Staples between the Los Angeles Cippers and Los Angeles Lakers. Follow Eye on Basketball on Twitter and like us on Facebook

1. Let's keep it simple. Which of these two teams wins on Saturday night and why?  

Royce Young: Lakers. The Fighting Kobes are in a really good rhythm right now. Kobe is playing great, Andrew Bynum is looking dominant and all the pieces are fitting together. The Clippers kind of put all their eggs into the basket of beating the Heat and while I'm sure they'll be up for the Lakers, they've got to get past that overtime win first. And don't think the Lakers have forgotten everyone getting all excited about the Clips sweeping the two exhibition games at Staples in early December. People were talking about the changing of the guard in L.A., but those games didn't count. This one does. 

Ben Golliver: The Lakers have some serious positive momentum going thanks to a four-game winning streak which could become five if they top the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. That the Clippers get two rest days heading into this one while the Lakers are stuck with the back-to-back gives Lob City an edge, but that probably cancels out the revenge factor that the Lakers are feeling after getting wiped up in two highlight-filled preseason games. Chauncey Billups has hit double figures and shot at least 6 free throws in four consecutive games for the Clippers; they will need his production if they are to keep pace with Kobe Bryant and company. Chris Paul finally had his signature game with the Clippers, scoring 27 points and making 11 assists in a Wednesday win over Miami and he gave the Lakers fits in last year's playoffs. I see him doing it again on Saturday to give the Clippers the win.

Matt Moore: The matchups here are enough to make your head spin. All-Star, phenomenal, once-in-a-lifetime guards? Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. Behemoth young centers with size, strength and defensive ability? Andrew Bynum and DeAndre Jordan. Crafty veterans on the wings? Ron Artest, Derek Fisher, Steve Blake and Matt Barnes against Chauncey Billups, Caron Butler, and Mo Williams. Power forwards with huge scoring ability who are almost unguardable? Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin. It's a tight set of matchups. I like the Clippers in this one. We saw what Paul was able to do against the Lakers in the playoffs last year, and they haven't upgraded a defender to guard him yet. On the other end, Pau Gasol doesn't like it when things get physical and the Clippers are in-you-face as they come. Bryant can swing this as he can any game, but I like Lob City to open up and outrun the older Lakers. 

2. We know Kobe's going to score, Griffin's going to dunk, CP3 is going to dish, and Pau is going to do Pau things. But what's the big unknown in this game that will end up deciding it?  

Royce Young: Points in the paint. Who gets the most easy baskets? Both teams are pretty solid defensively and both teams have players that can fill it up. But jumpshots only carry teams so far, especially late in games. The Lakers have Bynum and Gasol who are paint monsters, while Griffin gets a lot of his easy in transition. Execution will be tough because you know this game will be physical. It's going to come down to the little things like free throws, turnovers and again, easy baskets in the paint. Both teams can defend it well, but who is going to break down the other defense enough to score simple points. 

Ben Golliver: 
The answer to the big unknown question is always Andrew Bynum. He poured in his career-high 42 points against DeAndre Jordan back in 2009 and he's shown spurts of serious offensive productivity in this young season. Given that the game is on the second end of a back-to-back there's no guarantee that Bynum can fully exploit what is an exceedingly difficult match-up for Jordan. The only person who can keep Bynum off the offensive glass in this one is himself. The Clippers are second-to-worst in rebound rate on the young season and Jordan can be bullied with Bynum's width and strength. 

Matt Moore:  
Turnovers. The Lakers have turned the ball over a stunning amount this season up until the past few games, also notably the best games of Bryant's season. The Lakers are last in turnover percentage differential, while the Clippers are top-four in that same category. The Clippers also rank 3rd in transition offense according to Synergy Sports. The Lakers are ninth in transition defense. If the Clippers can get out and run, that's going to put more wear and tear on an older and banged up Lakers team. But if the Lakers get to grind it out, expect the Lakers' superior experience to win the day.
Posted on: January 12, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Dwight Howard leads first All-Star ballot returns

Posted by Royce Young

The first All-Star ballot returns are out and leading the entire league in votes is Dwight Howard with 754,737 votes with Kobe Bryant second with 690,613. Second in the East is LeBron James (640,789) and in the West Kevin Durant (633,538).

If the voting ended today, the East's starting five would be Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron, Carmelo Anthony and Howard. In the West it would be Chris Paul, Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin and Andrew Bynum.

And looking over the vote totals, those starting lineups seem to be a bit set in stone, barring injury. Nobody is really all that close to catching anyone (Dirk is closest behind Griffin, and he's more than 100,000 votes back).

So, are the fans getting it right so far? Kind of looks like they are, quite honestly. Can't argue with the West too much. The one quibble I'd have is that Kevin Love has been absolutely killing it in Minnesota so far this season averaging 25-15, but he's not part of Lob City, so it's hard to see him ever topping Griffin. Same goes for LaMarcus Aldridge, who is off to a fantastic start. I'd also like to mention that Kyle Lowry has gotten off to a terrific start this season, but it's not good enough to top Paul.

In the East, there's really nothing to change. Melo isn't really a power forward, but you can fudge the All-Star rosters a bit. Rajon Rondo isn't playing better than Rose, there's no better 2 in the East than Wade and of course LeBron and Howard are the best at their positions in the entire league.

If the voting holds like this -- and it should -- we'll have a pretty accurate representation of the best in each league to start the All-Star Game. Again, I'd go with Love over Griffin, but that's not a sure thing case to make at this point. And it's not going to change anyway.
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:51 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Smart moves

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we find out if canning Westphal was the right move, if the Hawks need to detonate it, and who's in the trade market. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. All right, so Westphal's out, Keith Smart is in. Was committing this early to Smart the right move for Sacramento?

KB: Yes. First, you need someone with knowledge of the roster/overall strategy and relationships with the players. Smart has established both. Second, and more important, you can't ask Smart to sit in the first chair without the backing of the organization -- particularly when the DeMarcus Cousins fiasco has such a tenuous hold on the locker room. With no security, Smart would have no juice. With no juice, he'd get run over by Cousins in a hurry. Another point: No self-respecting coaching agent would allow his client to be thrust into an interim situation without some assurance that the organization was backing him. As with all coaches, if it doesn't work out, you can always fire him later.

2. Atlanta actually was playing pretty well until Thursday when all of America decided they were the worst team in the history of everything. Is it time to blow up the Hawks?

KB: I'm really trying to stay away from knee-jerk overreactions in this shortened, chaotic season. So much of what we are watching is atypical and very difficult to evaluate given the circumstances. But in the long run, I don't see the Hawks going anywhere positive with more than $120 million locked up in Joe Johnson. The cynic in me wonders if the ownership group was thinking, "That won't be our problem," and now that they haven't been able to sell the team, well, it's their problem.

3. If Andrew Bynum keeps playing like this, it has to make L.A. hesitate on a trade for Howard, right?

KB: No way. Dwight Howard is Dwight Howard.

4. Give me a team that might get active in the coming weeks in a desperation trade to save the season.

KB: I'll give you three. It seems that the Warriors will be involved in almost every trade scenario out there. They're being super aggressive. The Wizards are in a bad place, obviously, but I'm not sure what trade possibilities could help them in the short term. (Though if I were Ernie Grunfeld, I wouldn't be too comfortable.) And as I mentioned in Postups, don't be surprised if the Knicks look to break up the Melo-Amar'e tandem if things really go south.

5. What are your New Year's NBA resolutions?

KB: No more hotel lobbies unless I'm getting Marriott points.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: December 31, 2011 6:57 pm
 

Theory and Proof: Andrew Bynum surprises in debut

Posted by Ben Golliverandrew-bynum-2012

THEORY: Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum is a prime candidate for a slow start in a lockout and suspension-shortened season.

PROOF: 29 points, 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, 13-for-18 shooting in 32 minutes in his debut against the Denver Nuggets. Not exactly what we expected. 

The last time we saw Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum in an NBA game, he had stripped himself half-naked in frustration after getting ejected for delivering a dirty, dangerous hit on Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea.

That day marked the beginning of what would be a long lockout for Bynum, who has dealt with questions about his maturity, his health, his conditioning and his potential use as a trade chip for seven months. 

From the outside looking in, there were reasons galore to expect a slow, sloppy start from Bynum. While fully healthy for the first time entering a season in a few years, Bynum was suspended for the season's first four games due to the hit on Barea, meaning he lacked the first week conditioning ramp up afforded everyone else. He was away from the professional game for seven months, given a two-week period of training camp and preseason and then forced to wait as everyone around him -- teammates and opponents -- continued to progress.

That's just the tip of iceberg. Bynum is dealing with a new coach, Mike Brown, and his new systems. He's dealing with a new rotation surrounding him that lacks forward Lamar Odom, dumped in a trade to the Mavericks. He's playing with the knowledge that his front office nearly blew up the roster to acquire point guard Chris Paul in trade and knowing that he is the No. 1 most desired chip if and when Orlando Magic GM Otis Smith bites the bullet and moves All-Star center Dwight Howard. Of course, Bynum is also dealing with continued scrutiny of his offcourt behavior, which includes a number of recent traffic citations and an embarrasing incident in which he was caught parking in a handicapped spot while grocery shopping.

To complicate things even further, Bynum was set to make his debut against the league's fastest team and highest-octane offense. The Denver Nuggets entered Staples Center on Saturday ranked No. 1 in pace and No. 2 in offensive efficiency. The Lakers, with questions about their lack of depth abounding, were facing a team that lacks top-end starpower but easily goes nine or 10 players deep to continually apply pressure and one that has two big men -- Nene Hilario and Timofey Mozgov -- to bang with Bynum.

But Bynum emerged -- from the layoff, the conditioning questions, the offcourt distractions and the challenging opponent -- as the player of the game on Saturday. He might not be the sole reason this game slowed down and got ugly, allowing the Lakers to eek out a 92-89 win in the game's closing seconds, but he was a big one.

17 of Bynum's 18 field goal attempts came in the paint. Five baskets came on follows or putbacks; 6 of Bynum's 13 rebounds were offensive. He helped L.A. win the points in the paint battle, 46-32, and he managed to stay out of foul trouble throughout. Bynum finished with 29 points, a number he has topped only once in the regular season, a career-high 42 points against the Clippers in January 2009 and he's only attempted 18 shots in a regular season game three other times in his career. Bynum scored L.A.'s first six points -- finishing with 10 in the first quarter -- delivering time-and-again as his team clearly looked to establish him early.

But the defining sequence came late, not early. With just under two minutes to play, the game tied at 89, Bynum swooped in to block a layup attempt by Nene, a swat that quickly led the other way in transition for the Lakers. Bynum sprinted -- have we ever seen him move this fast? -- to the other basket, collecting a pass from Derek Fisher and smoothly converting a layup to put the Lakers up for good. That bucket provided a leading margin that stood despite two long misses, a turnover and a missed free throw attempt from Kobe Bryant in the final two minutes.

The win pushes L.A. above .500, to 3-2, and Bynum's starring role buoys the spirits in Tinseltown, where the trade rumors, the rise of the Clippers and an injured wrist for Bryant have led to a lot of anxiety. Bynum's addition takes much needed pressure off of Bryant and provides insurance against inconsistency from Pau Gasol. The team's three-headed monster is back and looking, for a day, like it never left.

This season debut should help put to bed a lot of the lockout ghosts -- or illusions of ghosts -- for L.A.'s big man. Bynum now must turn his attention to the same problem facing every NBA player: finding a way to make a similar impact, night after night after night, in a compressed schedule that does its players, particularly the big guys, no favors.
Posted on: December 31, 2011 11:56 am
 

Will someone please take Bynum's keys?

By Matt Moore

This is getting ridicuous. 

TMZ reports that Andrew Bynum was pulled over in early December for "crossing a divider and driving on the wrong side of the road" while trying to pass a car. 

Oh, good grief.

This happened, in TMZ's words, "JUST DAYS BEFORE"  Bynum was pulled over and ticketed for having illegally tinted tail lights and no license plate... wait for it, and then after that pulled over going over 80 MPH in his Porsche.  This is after double-parking in a handicapped spot last July, and Bynum was ticketed for going 110 MPH in November of 2010. 

So to review.

Two speeding tickets.
Parked in a handicapped spot.
Illegally tinted tail lights. 
No license plate.
Drove on the wrong side of the road.

Look, if you want to say this has no impact on him as a basketball player, nor on his maturity as a teammate, that's fine. Maybe it doesn't. It certainly won't affect his play when he returns to the lineup Saturday against the Nuggets. But it's not exactly comforting to see Bynum repeatedly making the same mistakes. He's not getting into fights or criminal trouble. He's just committed a high number of unnecessarily violent fouls an has problems with driving regulations. 

But seriously, will the Lakers, Kobe, Mike Brown, someone get Bynum a driver? This is just absurd at this point.

No wonder Kobe Bryant takes a helicopter to games.  
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com