Andrew Bynum finished with a season high 37 points, combining for 71 as Kobe Bryant scored 34, leading the Los Angeles Lakers on back-to-back road wins (only second time this season) with a double overtime victory 116-111 over the Memphis Grizzlies, putting the Lakers at the third spot in the Western conference, at the expense of their hosts.
The Grizzlies came into the game winning 12 of their last 15, but despite Marc Gasol winning the Spanish brothers battle, they just didn’t have enough firepower in the end to match with the Lakers, winning their third consecutive game and 7th in 10. Rudy Gay out with a concussion hurt them as well. I’m not even going to mention Z-Bo.
It was funny hearing Kobe Bryant talk after the game, saying that their suddenly featuring Andrew Bynum as opposed to the beginning of the season. Like it has anything to do with anyone else but him – what he tells the players, and what they get off him through his actions and demeanor. Seeing Bryant pass to Bynum in the clutch against the Celtics suddenly changed the formula. I don’t think Mike Brown deserves the credit.
The big games he had at the start of the season, he was having good games, but he wasn’t being featured. This is different. We’re featuring him, and we’re looking for him to make plays out of double-teams, and make plays for others, not just himself.
The players, not Brown, suggested that they should run Pick n’ Rolls with Bynum, with Bryant and Gasol finding their center for easy alley oop dunks. Gasol finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists, while Bryant finished with 34 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. Bynum had the huge 37-16 night, shining above all the rest.
You can often take a look at numbers, and find out why a team lost. The Memphis Grizzlies shot 2-19 from the three. The Lakers have an excellent perimeter defense, and it was sharp as usual on Tuesday night. O.J. Mayo running berserk from the bench (7-25, 14 points) while Marc Gasol had a very rough time in the paint (20 points, 10-25 from the field). More numbers? The Grizzlies just took five shots from the line. You can yell bed refereeing, and you’d probably be partially right. ? Bad game-plan and great defense? You’d be right as well. It’s always somewhere in the shades of grey.
If Bryant has actually realized that not the entire game has to flow through him, and actually keep pushing the ball or playing for Andrew Bynum, averaging over 26 points in the last five games, shooting over 57% from the field this season, than the Lakers will be a more dangerous team in the postseason than many gave them credit for.