Coaching Staff Sells Bynum on Defense, Lakers Roll

Along with his season-high point total, Bynum also logged in a game-high 37 minutes. His production value kept him in the game for extended minutes, at least extended for his standards, although the Lakers remain cautious over his surgically repaired knees. Bynum’s new-found defensive knack is going to come in handy during the playoffs, Laker fans have good reason to feel touchy around the subject of health when it involves Bynum, let’s hope this year is different than the previous two.

“He’s at full strength now,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “He’s got the feel for it, and he knows what he’s doing out there. … Drew is just really coming into his own.”

It wasn’t just Jackson taking notice of Bynum’s maturation, his teammates are also praising the young center.

“He was sensational,” Bryant said. “He looks like he’s kind of figuring things out. I don’t know if he’s putting something in his cereal in the morning or what, but something is clicking in for him in terms of exactly what we need from him and how to play big down in the post.”

During a time when big, dominant centers are a dying breed in the NBA, Bynum at times displays facets of his game similar to those perfected by many of the great centers in Lakers history. He’s definitely not close to being mentioned in that illustrious group and his enormous potential is sometimes de-railed or impacted by injury, causing some to view him as a risk instead of a commodity. Although he’s yet to prove his own defensively against arguably the best center in the league, Dwight Howard, he’ll get his chance when the Lakers face Orlando at Staples Monday night.

We saw the Celtics trade away their starting center for youth and offense coming off the bench. This even after all the fuss the Celtics coaching staff made over the 2010 title being decided by rebounds. It’s strikingly similar to a trade the Lakers may have contemplated, but never really had the opportunity to pull the trigger on.

But no one seriously thought Melo-for-Bynum was that great an idea right?

Next: Steve Blake and other game notes

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