by Craig Kwasniewski
In soccer they call it bad form, in baseball they call it a slump and in golf they call it "not hitting the mark." Whatever it is Andrew Bynum's going through it as he played his worst game since the Kobe Video Guys era. That and a few other thoughts on the Lakers 112-103 win over Sacramento from my seat in Section 316:
Bynum's "slump" continues: At the 9-minute mark of the second quarter Andrew Bynum had 2 points and 4 fouls and was done for the half. At the 4 minute mark of the 4th quarter he fouls out with a WWE takedown flagrant foul of Spencer Hawes which enabled Sacramento to cut a once-huge 15-point lead down to 3. I wrote on Thursday that Bynum looks out of shape and I read that he's bitching about sitting on the bench during crunchtime. Hey, way to respond Drew! Way to earn the coach's respect by comitting a TON of dumb fouls (including that horrendously Ill-timed flagrant) and doing nothing offensively (6 of his 8 points were off alley-oops because the defense stopped worrying about Bynum's lacadaisical offense. I'm starting to understand all the coded "hints" from the other Lakers about playing hard. They're talking about Bynum!!! Enough of playing Benoit Benjamin ball (trailing late on fast breaks, hanging out at halfcourt on offense and NOT rebounding or rotating defensively).
Jackson is still searching for a reliable lineup: Lakers' PF Josh Powell got a lot of productive minutes in the 2nd quarter. It was actually refreshing to see a big rotate over to close off the lane to penetration. Weeks of watching Bynum simply watch on defense made me forget what an actual defensive rotation looks like. Unfortunately, Powel put up a house of bricks from the freethrow line, going 1-5 from the stripe. Whatever... to me more Powell is a good thing. He's really the only Laker capable of playing a bruising Eastern Conference-type of physicality. Maybe Walton, Odom and Bynum can learn a thing or two defensively from the guy.
Radmanovic continues his Luke Walton impression: Vladi Radmanovic, meet bench! I'm reading that PJ never mentioned to Vladi that he's getting relegated to the best seats in the house. Has he not watched tape of his game? Maybe PJ's finally tired of the mental mistakes or maybe PJ's sending a message to everyone not named Kobe, Pau or Dereck: play hard or I will Luke Walton you!
Boston looms on the horizon: They way the Lakers are playing, I can't see them even hanging with the C's or Christmas Day. Where's the passion? Where's the heart? Where's the defense? It could get ugly on Christmas Day.
Sacramento's Future: Quick advice to the Kings front office: Keep Reggie Theus! Despite the youth and the lack of playoff-contention talent, the Kings play hard for their coach and look headed in the right direction with the likes of Salmons, Garcia, Martin, Udrih and Hawes. They're record reflects more on key injuries to Martin and Garcia than coaching. The Kings are just a productive low-post threat and one more season of experience as a team away from an eighth seed.