Coaching Staff Sells Bynum on Defense, Lakers Roll

Over the Lakers last 10 games, he’s averaged 12.1 points per game, 12.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. During the Lakers last four road games his numbers rose slightly averaging 13.8 points, 15 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. The difference in rebounds and blocks, a testiment to Bynum’s hard work in the lower post could also be attributed to the Lakers implementation of a crafty new way to defend the pick-and-roll.

Simply put the re-vamped pick and roll defense begins with the wing players running opposing players off the their spots, funneling them into the painted area where Bynum acts as a plug, blocking any dribble penetration, high percentage shots and uncontested lay-ups. The lone soft spot in the defensive strategy is the mid-range game, although Jackson concedes defeat should the Lakers get burned in that aspect.

Against San Antonio it was just what the Lakers needed to beat a team gunning for a championship run, holding one-half of the Spurs’ Parker/Ginobili offense to a minimum and taking Tim Duncan almost completely out of the game.

It isn’t an abberation if you’re noticing that Bynum is getting more blocks and altering more shots, it’s merely a result of the Lakers running an efficient defense and Bynum doing his part. The extra effort on the boards is an added bonus.

“Rebounding-wise, for sure [I’ve raised the standard],” Bynum said. “That’s one thing I’ve always kind of been knocked on for, not getting enough boards.”

Bynum may be more focused on defense, but against Dallas he showed that every once and a while he can contribute on offense, scoring a season-high 22 points.

“My focus isn’t really offensively,” Bynum said. “Right now I’m just kind of playing off my teammates. Defensively is where I’m just trying to alter shots and really rebound. It keeps you in the flow of the game when you just pursue the ball. It’s a way to get more touches on the basketball without having to dominate the ball offensively.”

Next: Bynum’s new-found role has Kobe singing his praises

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