The main story of the Los Angeles Lakers 108-99 win over the Houston Rockets at Staples Center on Tuesday night was the continued emergence of Andrew Bynum, who dominated the Rockets' diminutive front court on his way to 21 points and 22 minutes. After playing 60 minutes in two games over the weekend against the Denver Nuggets, Bynum was stretched to 38 minutes against Houston in his third game of the season.
Bynum is on absolute fire right now, averaging 22.7 points, 17.0 rebounds, and two blocks per game in three games this season. He has had at least 13 rebounds in three consecutive games, the fifth such streak in his career. The last Laker to grab 13 or more rebounds in a longer streak was Lamar Odom, who had a streak of five games in January 2010.
Bynum had a dominant defensive run down the stretch last season, averaging 13.7 rebounds in a 16-game stretch as the Lakers surged to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. But the Bynum of 2012, at least so far, has been a whirlwind of aggression on the offensive end, making himself the true center of attention on both ends of the floor.
Kobe Bryant was no slouch himself, scoring 37 points in 37 minutes, and adding eight rebounds and six assists with just one turnover. It was a vast improvement over his six-for-28 shooting on Sunday and 12-for-46 (26.1%) shooting in two weekend games. Kobe did make 14 of his 29 field goal attempts, which is good, but caused C.A. Clark of Silver Screen and Roll to notice:
Kobe ends up with one more shot tonight than he took in Denver, the ultimate double middle finger to everybody
After playing seven games in 10 days, head coach Mike Brown will give the team a day off on Wednesday as they prepare for their Thursday matchup against the Western Conference-leading Portland Trail Blazers. The Lakers have lost 16 of their last 20 games at the Rose Garden.
Dexter Fishmore added a few timely tweets about the game:
The Rockets had 10 second-chance points in the first half, none in the second.
Bynum helped to secure a 53-38 rebound advantage for Los Angeles.
My favorite stat of the night... Matt Barnes: 20 minutes played, 0 three-point attempts.
Indeed, Barnes was highly efficient on Tuesday night, scoring eight points on just one field goal attempt, making all six free throws, and adding five rebounds and three assists in 20 minutes.
For more Lakers basketball news and information, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.