Bynum's ejection divides Brown, Lakers
LOS ANGELES — The saying goes: "If you don't learn from your mistakes, you're bound to repeat them."
And in Andrew Bynum's case you can add "over and over again."
Just 17 days after being ejected from a game in Houston that the Rockets won, the Lakers center did it again, getting tossed early in the fourth quarter because of a second technical foul. Only the venue was different; the outcome remained the same as the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 112-107.
At the time of his departure with 11:17 remaining in the game, Bynum was dominating offensively, scoring 19 points. Late in the game when the Lakers needed points, they would have liked to have had Bynum as an option underneath. Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert would have had a hard time stopping him and L.A. might have held on for a win.
Instead "we'll never know, will we?" said team co-captain Pau Gasol. "Because he wasn't there. They obviously finished the game better than we did."
Bynum hit a 2 foot hook shot and then ran down the floor, taunting the Rockets' bench. The All-Star center was hit with his second technical and an automatic ejection. Coach Mike Brown, knowing Bynum's penchant lately for doing bizarre things like giving high-fives to fans in Houston after was kicked out or laughing after being benched by Brown seven days later at Golden State, reminded Bynum that he had one technical and couldn't afford to get two.
"(That's what) really concerns me," Brown said. "The fact that we made sure he knew the situation at the start of the quarter. We told him not to pick up his second technical.
"I'm disappointed because we told him, he acknowledged us, and then he went out and picked up his second when I thought he could help us win the ballgame.
"Watching that tonight was very concerning."
Bynum was gone by the time the locker room doors opened to the media, but as has been their custom, Bynum's teammates have shown loyalty through his basketball lunacy.
"(As a captain I) talk to my teammates whenever I think I should," Gasol said. "In Andrew's case, though, I think we need to let him be himself. You've got to be careful and pick the right time to say something."
Gasol went on to say that Bynum is not becoming a distraction to the rest of the team.
"No that's not concerning to me and I hope it's not concerning to the rest of the guys, (Andrew's) a great guy, a great person and he's got a great heart. Emotionally, he's just got to bring it down a little bit."
Kobe Bryant, who led all scorers with 28 point in the loss, agreed with his co-captain.
"It's only been the last year or so that (Bynum) has been a (focal point) in the offense," Bryant said. "He's just starting to get used to that role and what goes with it. Now, he just has to find a middle ground and stay there."
Metta World Peace, who had a strong game with 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting, can empathize with Bynum and his current predicament, having been a main combatant in the "malice in the Palace" while with Indiana in 2004. Then named Ron Artest, he and some teammates went into the stands during a game with the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills and roughed up some fans. He was suspended for the rest of that season.
"Andrew is going to be fine," World Peace said. "He's young and he'll come around. I did a lot of (questionable) things when I was younger. And a lot worse than anything he's done. But I'm OK and I'm sure he will be, too."
The Lakers better hope Metta's right. Their championship hopes depend on it.
NOTES — The Lakers' record dropped to 35-21, while the Rockets moved to 30-25. All five Houston starters scored in double figures, led by guard Goran Dragic with 26. Dalembert had 12 points and six boards in 23 minutes off the bench….The 1971-72 Lakers were honored for the 40th anniversary of winning the Lakers' first NBA Championship in L.A. They had previously won five in Minneapolis before moving West. Jerry West, Elgin Baylor (who retired early that season), Gail Goodrich, Pat Riley, Jim McMillian, Jim Cleamons, Keith Erickson, Flynn Robinson and Leroy Ellis were all in attendance. Wilt Chamberlain, Happy Hairston and John Q. Trapp have passed away...as has longtime legendary announcer Chick Hearn. Wilt's sister, Barbara Harris, represented Chamberlain, and Hearn's wife Marge was there for the Hearn family. Head coach Bill Sharman and head scout Bill Bertka were also there. K.C. Jones, Sharman's assistant, was unable to attend. All received new championship rings to commemorate their accomplishments, which beside the title included a pro sports-record 33-game winning streak and a 69-13 record, best in NBA history at the time.