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NBA Saturday: Bryant Defends Bynum
Posted By Alex Kennedy On April 7, 2012 @ 10:11 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Andrew Bynum has received a lot of criticism in recent weeks. He attempted a three-point shot and then laughed about it on the bench. He refused to join his teammates in several huddles and then went back and forth with head coach Mike Brown through the media. He skipped a meeting with general manager Mitch Kupchak and was fined an undisclosed amount by the Los Angeles Lakers.
The latest incident displaying Bynum’s immaturity took place on Friday night, when he was ejected from a close game against the Houston Rockets. The 24-year-old center taunted the Rockets’ bench in the fourth quarter and was thrown out of the game, even though he had just been warned by Brown and his staff to be careful because he was playing with one technical foul.
“He picked up his second [technical] when he could have helped us win the ballgame,” Brown said. “Watching that was concerning because we discussed it right before he went out there.”
“I don’t know why he did it,” Brown continued. “I don’t know if it was selfish or not. He was playing well and could have helped us win. He left his teammates out there. It’s not right. We’ll handle it internally. We’ll address it.”
Kobe Bryant knows what it’s like to enter the league straight out of high school and develop into a star. He also knows a thing or two about butting heads with a coach. In recent weeks, it seems Bryant has grown closer to Bynum and, on Friday night, he defended the center.
“He’s a bright guy,” Bryant said. “We’ll talk about it, but it’s not something that we need to have a heart-to-heart over. It’s a learning process. This is his first year where he’s really being featured and coming into his own. There are a lot of other responsibilities that come along with that. It’s different. This is his first year with all of it. Everybody has to be a little patient. He has been extremely productive for us.”
Bryant likes seeing Bynum’s mean streak and he doesn’t want the center to lose that fire.
“The key is to find a balance,” Bryant said. “You don’t want him to lose the edge or the rage that he’s playing with, but you want him to find a good balance where it doesn’t take him over the top. The challenge for players who compete at that level is to find the balance. That can be difficult at times.”
This season, Bynum has averaged 18.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and two blocks. Bryant said he’s not worried about Bynum. He viewed the ejection as a learning experience and thought that the center would be fine.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Bryant said. “It’s just something that he has to be aware of. We’re not reinventing the wheel.”
The Lakers currently hold the third seed in the Western Conference, with a 35-21 record.
Howard, Van Gundy Move On: With the playoffs right around the corner, the Orlando Magic are doing their best to move past the team’s recent drama between Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy and focus on basketball.
“There’s nothing for me to say,” Howard said. “We just have to play basketball. That’s the only thing that matters.”
“I answered the question honestly, let’s move on,” Van Gundy said. “That was my only intention. At least there’s no more speculation. It’s not going to go back and forth. It happened. To me, it’ll go a day or two and then people are off of it, rather than it hanging out there and people bringing it up again.”
“I don’t really regret doing it,” Van Gundy added. “It’s the speculation. Everybody’s sort of trying to massage the situation without saying anything, and I don’t know, to me it’s always easier to be honest and move on.”
Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy have discussed the situation behind closed doors and have moved on.
“We keep that in the family,” Howard said of his discussions with Van Gundy. “We keep that between each other and the locker room. There’s no need for me to go back on whatever he said. Whatever we discussed has to stay between me and him and the team. There’s no need for me to try and clear the air with anybody.”
“It wasn’t awkward last night,” Van Gundy said. “It wasn’t awkward today. It wasn’t any different than it was two days ago, three days ago, two weeks ago, three weeks ago or anything else.”
The Magic currently sit in the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, with a 32-23 record.
“We’re capable of getting through anything,” Howard said. “Right now, the leader is being attacked from all angles, and it’s my job to stay strong for the team and not allow anything to break my spirit or who I am as a person and a player.”
Previewing the Summer Trade Market: This offseason could be very interesting, especially if a number of notable players resurface in trade talks. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Josh Smith among others could all be shopped under the right circumstances.
There could be a number of blockbuster trades this summer, and Derek Page breaks them all down here with help from myself, Eric Pincus, Lang Greene and Bill Ingram. This is an excellent article that previews what should be a very active summer.
HOOPSWORLD Chats: There is only one chat on today’s schedule. Derek Page’s weekly chat will get underway at 11 p.m. ET. Make sure to submit your questions early because this chat fills up fast. To view HOOPSWORLD’s upcoming chat schedule, click here.
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