Bynum shines in win over Boston

Bynum shines in win over Boston

Published Feb. 10, 2011 10:07 p.m. ET


BOSTON -- When George Mumford, a sports psychologist and long-time friend of Phil Jackson, addressed the Lakers on Thursday morning, he spoke to many players individually.

To Andrew Bynum, Mumford's words had particular resonance.

"He just talks about mindfulness and not letting outside things distract you, to train your mind to keep coming back to the center," Bynum said. "It really inspired me."

After a week of white-hot speculation from fans and media that Bynum could, or should, be shipped to Denver for Carmelo Anthony, the 23-year-old center, whose career has been marked by injuries, inconsistency and fits of brilliance, found his center on Thursday.

And so did the Lakers.

Bynum showed just what he can mean to the Lakers, scoring 16 points, grabbing nine rebounds and blocking a shot, and exerting far more influence on the Los Angeles' 92-86 victory over the Celtics than those numbers show.

"I was definitely more assertive," Bynum said. "I felt better. I'm starting to feel better."

This was a significant victory, given that it was the Lakers' first in six games against teams that have a better record than the back-to-back champions (San Antonio, Dallas, Boston and Miami), and they rallied from a 15-point second-quarter deficit to do it.

It also helped the Lakers earn a split of the season series and move within two games of Boston in the loss column in the race for home-court advantage.

But it was far from a statement victory. This was not the same Celtics team that pounded the Lakers by 13 in Los Angeles 11 days earlier. They've lost Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles heel) until the All-Star break and reserve Marquis Daniels (bruised spinal cord) for at least a month. Paul Pierce missed practice Wednesday with the flu, and they lost energetic reserve Nate Robinson (bruised knee) in the second quarter.

"They were undermanned," forward Ron Artest said. "We definitely have to move on from this. We've got a long way to go."

What was important to the Lakers was not the outcome, but that they showed the requisite level of competitiveness they will need to summon -- if not anytime soon, then certainly in the playoffs.

"It has to be just another game," Jackson said. "It can't be any more than that. As far as psychological effect and status effect . . . I know that all counts somewhere along the line. I think that's one of the things you want to have is some confidence in the regular season and how you handle them when you go into the playoffs."

On that count, there were some nice takeaways: