As much as ESPN hyped the head-to-head matchup between Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum before last night’s Magic/Lakers game, you would’ve thought that, you know, Bynum had actually done something to earn space on Dwight’s marquee. But choosing to ignore all the warning signs that this might be the most disappointing big-man “battle” since Emeka Okafor turned Luke Schenscher into an Australian Toaster Biscuit in the 2004 NCAA title game, the national media seemed bent on making Howard/Bynum the dominant headline on the NBA schedule … Unfortunately, that headline belonged in the Police Blotter section. Six minutes into the first quarter, Howard served Bynum with a nice lefty hook shot and a back-to-the-basket shimmy that led to a finger roll, and Bynum wound up on the bench with two fouls. Bynum came back to start the second quarter, but after blowing a defensive assignment and then picking up his third foul, he was on the bench less than three minutes in. Not coincidentally, the Magic built a 20-point lead during the second quarter that paved the way for a 92-80 victory … Howard finished with 21 points and 23 rebounds in 45 minutes, while Bynum had 10 points and 12 boards in 26 minutes. Even though a lot of Bynum’s production happened in what was essentially garbage time, we know some of the more staunch Bynum/L.A. supporters will argue that Bynum was on pace for a 20-and-20 stat line had he played as many minutes as Howard. But here’s the thing: Part of being a legit NBA star is staying on the court to show what you can do. We can paint all kinds of “if” scenarios for guys like Bynum, but guys like Howard actually take care of business … This game looked a lot like last year’s Mavericks/Lakers series. The Magic rained threes all over the place (12-for-27), and just when it looked like L.A. had figured out a defensive solution, one of Orlando’s guards would play the J.J. Barea role and get an easy layup out of the half-court set … Kobe Bryant, naturally, tried to get L.A. back into it by himself. We know it’s fun for Kobe-haters to look at his FGA’s and puff their chests out when it’s anything over 20, but if you watched this game you’d know that Kobe (30 pts, 11-22 FG) didn’t really have a choice. He was performing miracles out there — running hooks over three defenders, Gregory Hines-level footwork to set up lefty scoop shots, fadeaway bankers plus the foul — but his teammates never showed up to support him. Metta World Peace was so bad (8 mins, 0-4 FG, 1 PF and NOTHING ELSE), he made 27 people quit the Peace Corps last night just to disassociate themselves from his name … If you’ve ever flipped to a Magic game, seen Big Baby Davis in the post and thought you’d stumbled upon the premiere of Honey, I Shrunk Dwight (And Put Him on a Beef Brisket Diet) on ABC Family, just know that you’re not alone … Keep reading to hear about that “other” Los Angeles team …
Smack / Jan 21, 2012 / 8:23 am
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