NBA / Jun 4, 2010 / 2:45 pm

The NBA Finals X-Factor Is Andrew Bynum

Andrew Bynum (photo. Jeff Forney)

Way back when, on a night that must seem impossible to remember for Celtic fans after last night’s Game 1 loss, utter domination on the glass clinched the team its 17th NBA Championship. They outrebounded the Los Angeles Lakers 48-29 that night, finishing with an absurd 14-2 advantage on the offensive boards. If last night’s game is any indication, the Lakers remembered that atrocity, and remembered it well.

Celtic fans reveled in the team’s 131-92 win, the biggest ever in a clinching victory. And, in what seemed like frustrated excuses at the time, Laker fans pointed out the absence of Andrew Bynum in the line-up as the main reason for the team’s single-handed destruction of the L.A. frontcourt and commanding of the glass. Well, two years later, it looks like they might have been right after all.

The oft-injured 22-year-old, who had his knee drained on Monday in preparation for the Finals, is used to playing through pain. Bynum, averaging 9.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in the playoffs, helped the Lakers control the glass to the tune of a 42-31 advantage. His final line of 10 points and six rebounds did not properly demonstrate his importance to the team’s Game 1 victory. Opening the game with a surge of aggressiveness, Bynum helped set the tone early in his team’s 102-89 win. For a team that was so thoroughly dominated in the paint by Boston in 2008, Los Angeles looked nothing like the Finals squad that had its title hopes dashed by its rival only two years earlier.

Though much of the talk in the aftermath of Game 1 will deservedly focus on Lakers center Pau Gasol, who finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds (eight of them offensive), Bynum’s presence in the paint was equally as important in providing opportunities for the Spaniard on both ends of the floor. With Kevin Garnett showing his age, the younger Lakers frontcourt was able to thrive in last night’s victory. With a sufficiently healthy Bynum and vengeful Gasol, the Lakers are certainly in a position to control the glass for the remainder of the series. And if that ends up happening, the NBA Championship may very well find its way back to Los Angeles for a second straight year.

What do you think? How important is Andrew Bynum to a Lakers victory?

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  • boomshakalaka

    Bynum is definitely an important factor to the Lakers winning the title. However I think that if Artest continues to play well and is consistent in doing what he was hired to do, the Lakers can win even without Bynum being a factor.

    I would say Artest is just as important as Bynum, if not more so.

  • LakeShow84

    Bynum importance lies in the fact he allows Gasol to play his natural position..

    Without Bynum out there Gasol has to match up against Perkins and that would wear him out.. Tough or not.. Perk got weight on him and has good leverage in the post..

    And it helps Bynum has good hands and good footwork..

  • Diego

    Yeah, LakeShow84 nailed it. Man, if Bynum ever gets healthy, look out! (Well, actually it would just mean the Lakers would win the finals even a little easier next year.)

  • buffaloballa

    bynum is doing a reverse paul pierce in the finals, they need to roll bynum out in a laker wheelchair before game two, sit it right next to jack…

  • Three Stacks

    If the Lakers win the championship and Bynum is able to be a factor, do they still go through w/ the alleged Bynum for Bosh deal? If he plays out of his mind, do the Lakers keep him even if the Raptors offer maybe Calderon or Jarrett Jack along w/ Bosh if we throw in Luke or Sasha?

    Farmar played well yesterday, but it concerns me when he plays well because it increases the chances of him getting resigned. Thanks for playing well, but no in way in hell do I want you on my team next year.

    My favorite part of Game 1 was when the Celtics cut a 20 point lead to 11 with about eight minutes left. Odom took a horrible 3 that was completely out of sync, but instead of pulling Lamar, Phil Jackson takes Kobe out of the game. Immediately the ball movement gets better, the Lakers use their offensive set, and they get a couple easy baskets. They maintain control of the game and Kobe gets a breather to finish the last 6 min strong.

    This was genius in so many ways. It doesn’t kill Lamar’s confidence, shows the bench it can produce against Boston as long as they follow the offense, encourages sharing the ball, saves Kobe’s legs a bit. One of those small things that may have long term implications. Please, pay the man his money.

  • kobeeeeee

    yeak bynum is legit. he should stay a laker forever. I just hope he gets he 100% health back. that is the key. if this happens the lakers will roll for the next 4 years for sure. kobe will remain/play like that for tzhe next 4 years if he cuts his work in the regular season in the coming years and let bynum and gasol get their numbers and then he takes over in the playoffs. with this approach they will really dominate and threepeat and fourpeat.

  • SlimeBucket

    Absolutely keep Bynum instead of Bosh unless his knees are that bad. Gasol already is not getting enough touches and you could argue he is the best offensive player on the Lakers. I don’t think Bosh will mesh in as well and Andrew is a much better defensive player. Plus I think Andrew makes around $10-$12 million range where Bosh is going to want more that when his numbers are going to go down. Also I think Bosh has a loser’s mentality. He has been losing for seven years. I haven’t ever seen him takeover a playoff game. Even Tmac and Ron Artest had some dominant playoff series even when their teams lost the series. His numbers are not that much different than Brook Lopez and they were both on crappy teams. Would you be gaga to trade Brook Lopez for Andrew? You got to look past the fancy name and see what you actually get.

  • sh!tfaced

    Don’t you mean Andrew Bynum’s knee?

  • SlimeBucket

    Yeah, I meant keep Bynum unless Bynum’s knees are that bad. I mean hopefully Toronto isn’t that stupid to take Bynum anyway because of the suspect knees but then again they gave the Turk 50 million right? Also I don’t think Andrew is a leader so I think he would sulk just like the Turk on a losing team plus leaving LA for Toronto winters. Man there are some bad GMs in the NBA.