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Andrew Bynum keeps scoring even as Lakers struggle

The center has 19 points in a loss at Denver and 21 in a loss to Houston.

November 17, 2009|By Mike Bresnahan

Despite the many inconsistencies over the Lakers' last two games, there was one consistent source of scoring: Andrew Bynum.

The 22-year-old center had 19 points on eight-for-13 shooting Friday against Denver and 21 points on eight-for-12 shooting Sunday against Houston.

It's obvious he should be getting the ball more often.

"I thought he was open," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said after the 101-91 loss to Houston. "I don't think we delivered the ball well. I think there were times when he got surrounded and had to kick the ball out, but he got only two shots in the second half. He's the most effective scorer we had out there. It's a shame we didn't get it in [to him]."

He actually had three shots in the second half, but Jackson's point remained the same.

Bynum is averaging 20.8 points and shooting 59.6%. He is also averaging 11.8 rebounds a game, making him and Toronto's Chris Bosh the only players in the league averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds a game.

Someone should recognize that fact, though Bynum declined to say so Sunday.

"I have no idea," he said when asked if he should get the ball more often. "We just need some good practices and that's really what it's going to take."

Bynum was less deferential when asked about the Lakers' apparent lack of hustle Sunday, particularly on the boards. The Lakers were out-rebounded by the undersized Rockets, 60-38. Bynum had 11 rebounds.

"I was out there hustling, but I think as a unit they didn't," he said.

Ariza's homecoming

Trevor Ariza mixed the good with the bad in his return to Los Angeles.

He missed his first nine shots and made only two of 12 on the night while scoring nine points. He also had six turnovers, an obvious effect of trying to do too much with the ball.

On the other hand, he had four steals, two blocked shots, four assists and eight rebounds. Oh, and his team won.

"We know that he's the guy that we have to stop, basically, and [Aaron] Brooks," Jackson said before the game.

Ariza is averaging 18.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists in his first season with the Rockets after signing a five-year deal with them over the summer.

Ariza's increased numbers are somewhat attributable to more minutes and more shots as a go-to guy after being the Lakers' fourth or fifth option.

On Sunday, he also reminded Lakers fans of his strong defense.

On one play, he blocked a shot by Kobe Bryant and then stole the ball from him after Bryant corralled it. On another play, Ariza picked Bryant clean near the top of the key and dunked at the other end.

Jackson said he never considered the alternate reality of the Lakers with Ariza still on their roster instead of Ron Artest.

"Not a moment," he said, part of his don't-look-back mind-set. "You can't do that."

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