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Bynum can't wait until next season

June 06, 2008|Mike Bresnahan | Times Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Andrew Bynum is experiencing the vocal pro-Celtics crowd, the intense media presence, the NBA on its largest stage.

All that's missing is the playing time.

Bynum's seat is at the end of the Lakers' bench, in a suit. He's making the most of it, trying to soak in his surroundings while hoping to play a more active role in future NBA Finals.

"I would love to be a part of it, obviously, but I'm going to be able to get the experience and the atmosphere, at least, and be ready to come back next year," Bynum said. "I think it's obvious that you would be kind of upset a little bit, but you've got to deal with that. It is what it is."

Sidelined since Jan. 13, Bynum underwent left knee surgery May 21 and began minor range-of-motion exercises at the team hotel Thursday, the first step in his rehabilitation after having cartilage debris removed and rough spots on the underside of his kneecap smoothed out.

"They found a couple of things in there that weren't on the MRI and they took them out," he said. "I'm fine. I'm just waiting. They said about four more weeks before I can start jogging and stuff like that. I'm looking forward to going to the track in July so I can start working out again. It's been a long time."

Bynum, 20, was born four months after the Lakers and Celtics last faced each other in the Finals. He admitted he needed to brush up a bit more on the Boston-L.A. rivalry.

"The only thing I do know about the history is that we're 2-8 in the Finals against them, so I'm hoping to improve that record a little bit," he said.

For now, he can enjoy the moment. Then he can look ahead to next season, which he hoped would be historically memorable.

"It's definitely going to be special," he said. "It'll be my first time playing with Pau [Gasol]. I think once we get that combination going, I can't see anybody stopping us. I think we're going to try and chase the Bulls' record."

Chicago set an NBA record by going 72-10 in 1995-96.

Father vs. son?

Bill Walton played two years with Boston in the mid-1980s and picked the Celtics to beat the Lakers in the Finals, according to a story in the Boston Globe.

One small catch: Walton's son, Luke, plays for the Lakers.

"As a professional, he's choosing the Celtics, but he wants the Lakers to win," Luke Walton said. "It's a win-win for him that way. He either picks right or his kid wins."

Added attention

Gasol will be busy, and not only on the court.

Twenty-seven media members from Spain were given credentials for the Finals, mainly to cover Gasol's first trip to the championship round.

Overall, the Finals will air in 46 languages in 205 countries, with 280 international media members from 35 countries and territories expected at TD Banknorth Garden and Staples Center.

Done that

Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher looked at the long, hype-driven days leading up to the NBA Finals and laugh.

They've been here four times before, winning three titles, and they talked to teammates about it before Game 1.

"The thing that we tell them is it's just basketball," Bryant said. "All this hoopla is not going to play the game for you. Once you step out there, you've just got to do what you've been taught."

Said Fisher: "There's been three or four or five days now, talking about the matchup and the anticipation. As a player you definitely get to a point where you just want to get out and play the game and work off some of that energy that you've been building up for the last four or five days."


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