Bynum Comes Up Big, Odom and Bench Follow

Okay, it’s time to confess. Who watched Carmelo Anthony’s dominant offensive performance against the Celtics and thought how great it would’ve been had the Lakers traded Andrew Bynum and Ron Artest for him?

You don’t have to answer that. Not now, not ever.

Just know this. When the Lakers’ two offensive juggernauts Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol went a combined 5-for-22, totaling 19 points, it was Bynum, Lamar Odom and Artest that produced the bulk of the team’s offense in the Lakers’ 87-78 win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Bynum’s no stranger to having big games. He’s shown in the past that he’s more than capable of taking on the team’s offensive load if necessary. Most of his break-out performances have happened in the regular season, Bynum hasn’t exactly gotten a chance to show fans how effective he can be during the playoffs because of his various injuries. He enters these playoffs closer than he’s ever been to being 100 percent healthy, and the Lakers are reaping the benefits.

“Everybody is going to have their chance and this is his time as far as the arrival of Andrew Bynum,” Lamar Odom said. “This is like his time to kind of show everyone what he can do … He’s doing everything at a high level and he’s doing it with kind of this ferocious style.”

The Lakers’ center ended the night with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Aside from his contribution on offense, he was also the main catalyst in the points-in-the-paint disparity between the two teams. The Lakers had 50 to the Hornets 32. The number was virtually switched from the previous game wherein the smaller Hornets out-scored the Lakers in the paint. Credit Bryant for running Chris Paul off his spots all night long, but Bynum changed shots and did his best to plug the paint and protect the rim.

“We stayed in front of [Paul] for the most part,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He made some big plays for them … but I think we did a better job being attentive to him, and that’s as good as it gets right now.”

Next: Artest and Odom contribute, make up for Gasol’s second consecutive lack-luster game

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