Without a doubt the Lakers have played their best basketball since the All-Star break in route to a 10-1 record since that break. What has made this run even more impressive is that many of the games have come on the road against perennial playoff teams.
While all of the Lakers have played great during this run, the one player who stands out has been Andrew Bynum. This recent run further proves that when Bynum plays well, the Lakers are at their best.
Since the break Bynum is averaging 12.1 points per game, providing the Lakers with another solid scoring option. Perhaps more importantly, Bynum has averaged 12.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. This is exactly what the Lakers need from Bynum, his size advantage can make him a premier player on the glass and great shot blocker.
While his numbers scoring wise since the break may pale in comparison to those such as Kobe Bryant, Bynum has found ways to dominate games despite not lighting up the scoreboard. A great example of this was the Lakers blow-out win over San Antonio, without a doubt their best performance of the year. In that game Bynum only scored 4 points, but tallied 17 rebounds and 3 blocks. Bynum was also physically imposing, altering several shots.
His performance last night against the Orlando Magic was even more impressive, as he put in 10 points, 18 rebounds, and 4 blocks. The numbers mean even more when you realize they came against Dwight Howard, the best center in the league.
Simply put, as this run by the Lakers suggests, when Bynum is a force rebounding and protecting the rim, the Lakers are nearly unbeatable. In fact it can be argued that in the Lakers’ only loss since the break Bynum was underutilized.
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