If you want to find a reason why the Los Angeles Lakers have won eight straight games, look no further than Andrew Bynum. Bynum controlled the middle tonight in Atlanta, with 16 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks, and helped -- with fellow 7-footer Pau Gasol -- hold the Hawks to 39.8% shooting on the night. The Lakers have held six of their last eight opponents to under-40% shooting, and in their eight-game winning streak Laker opponents have shot a collective 40.2% from the field.
The Lakers have held five straight opponents to 87 points or less. Bynum has been a huge part of the defensive resurgence of the Lakers, aggressively pursuing the ball at every opportunity. During the eight-game winning streak, Bynum is averaging 12.1 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in 29.8 minutes per contest, while shooting 63.5% from the field.
In his last three games, Bynum has 50 total rebounds, following up a pair of 17-rebound efforts against the Bobcats and Spurs with a 16-board game tonight. In the last 25 years, Bynum is just one of four different Lakers to have three or more straight games with 16 rebounds.
|Lakers with 16-Rebound Streaks Since 1986-87|
|Pau Gasol||2009-10||4||78 (19.5)||3-1|
|Shaquille O'Neal||2003-04||3||60 (20.0)||3-0|
The Lakers still have a tough road ahead of them this week, with road tilts remaining in Miami (Thursday) and Dallas (Saturday). Bynum was a non-factor in the Christmas Day matchup with the Heat, with six points and five rebounds in 18 minutes in the Lakers' 96-80 loss. That was only Bynum's sixth game back off knee surgery, but now the big man literally has his legs under him. If Bynum plays anywhere near his current level of play on Thursday in Miami, the Lakers will send the Heat to their sixth straight defeat.
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