The Los Angeles Lakers are the two-time defending NBA champions, but the San Antonio Spurs have been the best team in the NBA this season. At 51-11, the Spurs have an insurmountable eight-game lead over the Lakers in the loss column, so the Lakers won't be catching San Antonio for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. However, for the Lakers to beat the Spurs, whether today or in their potential playoff matchup, the Lakers will need center Andrew Bynum at his best.
Bynum had a quiet nine points on Friday night against the Bobcats, but he absolutely dominated the middle. He had a season high in rebounds (17) and blocked shots (six) as the Lakers won their sixth straight game. Dexter Fishmore of Silver Screen and Roll was quite impressed with Bynum's performance:
He was quick, rangy and aggressive and swallowed up nearly everything the Cats tried to get around the hoop. His presence visibly intimidated Charlotte ballhandlers, who for long stretches simply stopped trying to penetrate for fear of Bynum's rock-star-from-Mars awesomeness. Drew's performance tonight was another step in his development into a guy who can tilt the playing field in the Lakers' favor without a lot of touches.
Bynum's stellar play of late earned him player of the week honors at Silver Screen and Roll:
It took a while, but Andrew looks to have completely shaken off any rust from his last injury. He looks confident in his knee, and it's translating to confidence in his game. The Bynum Smash has returned, and with it the Lakers we love to love have to. The Lakers have held their last three opponents under 90 points, in large part to Andrew's defense and rebounding.
When the Lakers lost to the Spurs in San Antonio in December, Bynum was still coming off the bench, only in his seventh game back, as he had 10 points and seven boards in 22 minutes. In the Lakers' one-point loss to the Spurs at Staples Center in February, Bynum had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 29 minutes. If he can stay on the floor today, and play like he has been of late, Bynum can help guide the Lakers to a much-needed win today in San Antonio against the Spurs.
For more news and information on today's game, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.