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.
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.
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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