When the Lakers fell behind 3-0 in their second-round series against the Mavericks, Andrew Bynum said there were trust issues among him and his teammates, but on Sunday, they all had more than just communication breakdowns during a 122-86 Dallas blowout.
The Lakers got run out of the building, getting outscored by 20 points in the second quarter alone and 12 points in the fourth quarter, when the team essentially quit on the season. But the biggest stain for the Lakers after the 36-point loss had more to do with Bynum’s foul on J.J. Barea with 8:21 left, with the Mavericks leading 101-68.
Barea drove down the lane and went up for a layup. Bynum had no chance of making a play on the basketball and instead decided to drive his elbow into Barea’s chest while the 6-foot guard was in midair. ESPN play-by-play man Mike Tirico immediately called it “one of the biggest bush league things” he’d ever seen, and Bynum was ejected from the game.
Bynum then promptly took off his jersey and walked off the court. In his own words, according to USA Today:
“They were breaking us down, so I just fouled somebody. I was just kind of salty about being embarrassed. It was embarrassing to have the smallest guy on the court keep running down the lane and making shots.”
Obviously, the only solution to getting embarrassed on the scoreboard was to lose his temper and nearly cause serious injury to a player about to move on to the conference finals. That it happened just one day after Rajon Rondo nearly broke his elbow while bracing for a fall adds to the danger of what Bynum did. Plus, it never makes you look good when Ron Artest is the one trying to calmly escort you off the court.
Now, add in that Phil Jackson is likely walking away from the game of basketball, that Kobe Bryant isn’t getting any younger and that during this series, the Lakers look nothing like the team that won the past two championships, and immediately people are ready to blow up the team.
After Bynum’s flying elbow, it’s not all that crazy to start imagining scenarios in which Los Angeles trades their budding young center for superstar big man Dwight Howard. Both players have just one year left on their respective deals (Bynum has a team option for 2012-13), and many believe Howard is simply done with Orlando.
Of course, the Lakers have shown extreme patience with Bynum, who’s dealt with several serious leg injuries over the past few years, and to give up on him now would be difficult. The embarrassment put forth on Sunday, though, could make it a bit easier.
While there’s still plenty of basketball left this spring, get ready for a summer’s worth of Bynum-for-Howard rumors.
Should Andrew Bynum be suspended at the beginning of next season for this cheap shot? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
“Well, first of all, you don’t smoke peyote. That’s one thing.”
–Phil Jackson, when asked for his response to Rick Carlisle’s suggestion that the iconic coach would get bored after “meditating and smoking peyote”
You know, after Saturday night, it’s not all that crazy to assume that Rajon Rondo is not human like the rest of us.
Good use of some The Price Is Right sound effects, but I think they should’ve gone with the fail horn.