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NBA Playoffs 2012: Andrew Bynum Must Get More Touches in Game 6

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMay 10, 2012

DENVER, CO - MAY 04:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball against JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Pepsi Center on May 4, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 99-84 as the Lakers hold a 2-1 advantage in the series. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant may have gotten hot down the stretch on Tuesday, but that doesn't change the fact that Andrew Bynum should be getting more touches.

Bynum averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds during the regular season, shooting nearly 56 percent from the floor. He's averaging 18.0 points on 60 percent shooting in the postseason. Yet, he got a grand total of eight shots against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday...and he still ended up with 16 points.

I have no problem with Bryant closing out the game for the Lakers. He's earned the right to take as many shots as he wants down the stretch. However, Bynum simply has to get more shots throughout the course of the game. He's been the best center in the NBA this season, and he's not getting the respect he deserves from his own coaching staff.

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers falls to the floor after his shot against the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 1, 2012 in Los Ang
Harry How/Getty Images

It's not just Bynum's dominance from the floor this postseason, either. He's significantly raised his free-throw percentage. Despite shooting 69 percent from the charity stripe in the regular season, Bynum is shooting nearly 77 percent from the line against the Nuggets in the playoffs. He's doing everything in his power to show how important he is to the Lakers, yet he still hasn't gotten enough recognition.

There's another thing: The Nuggets recorded five blocks against the Lakers on Tuesday. Bynum wasn't blocked once, even by JaVale McGee. That's because he's an overwhelming force in the paint, and he simply can't be pushed around this season.

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If Kobe wants the fourth quarter all to himself, not even Bynum's brilliance this season should prevent him from going in for the kill. However, Bynum has the ability to help the Lakers build a strong lead before the final frame.

The Lakers head to Denver on Thursday. After their Game 5 loss, they are going to have to play solid ball to advance to the next round. Bynum can either be a hero or a forgotten man. It's the Lakers' choice.

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