The Laker lead was 45-29. Alas, it was too early in the game for it to be of any significance to the team. The 16-point advantage was attained just seven minutes into the second quarter, and if there’s anything we’ve learned from the Lakers this season, it’s that no lead is secure unless it comes at the end of the final buzzer.
As they’ve done often this season, the Lakers started the game focused. Their shots weren’t falling with regularity at the onset, but their saving grace came on the heels of their defense. They allowed the Warriors just 16 points in the first quarter on 31% shooting and then went off on a run that created that 16-point lead midway through the second quarter. As easily as they built that lead, however, they also just as easily lost it and, going into the halftime, led by just seven points.
The ensuing 24 minutes after the break will surely be a hot topic in post-game news stories and sports talk radio, because after Kobe Bryant’s “benching” in Sunday’s loss, came Andrew Bynum’s benching in the midst of today’s win. Two minutes into the third quarter, Andrew Bynum attempted a three-pointer in transition and was immediately sent to the bench 30 seconds later. He didn’t play again until the fourth quarter, but after missing a jump shot, a layup, one of two free throws and failing to show any sort of effort on defense, he was sent back to the bench where he remained for the rest of the game.
The Lakers could have used him in those final minutes, on defense or to get some easy scores, but as fate would have it, they still had Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol on the floor, who combined to score 15 of the Lakers’ 25 points in the fourth quarter. It was a team win, with even the Laker bench contributing to the effort. Unfortunately, Bynum bowed out of this one and never looked back up, which is a real shame considering the efforts his teammates put in.