From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: This development isn’t simply a matter of Bynum hitting a defensive groove. He’s acknowledging a specific role and embracing it wholeheartedly. More importantly, he’s truly grasping the importance of a defensive impact. Drew has always understood the crucial nature of clogging the middle and hitting the glass, but that’s not the same thing as truly understanding. After all, this isn’t the first time Drew’s been asked to prioritize defense. But as Bynum explained after Monday’s win over Orlando, there’s now a tangible connection felt. “I just think it’s because I’ve realized it’s a way to get into the game without having to dominate the ball on offense. We have scorers on this team. It’s just a way to keep your energy level high. … I just did it a couple of times and was like, ‘Wow, it works.’”
From Andy Kamenetzky, Land O’ Lakers: For a recent ESPN The Magazine feature called “Compatibility Test: Is he your Ideal (Team)mate?,” our buddy Sam Alipour tested the simpatico nature of new teammates Kevin Durant and Kendrick Perkins. Among the questions asked were “Lakers: Team to beat or old news?” As you can see, the two aren’t yin and yang simply because of body type. Durant: “They’re the reigning champions and still playing like it.” Perkins: “Yesterday’s news. I don’t like Pau Gasol or Phil Jackson. Phil is arrogant. Pau is soft. Kobe tries to bring out his toughness, but he’s still soft.” On like Donkey Kong, right? Actually, I doubt it.
From Dave McMenamin, ESPNLA: Pau Gasol called Wednesday’s Los Angeles Lakers practice “a hard one,” as the team got things going after an off day Tuesday. Turns out Kobe Bryant got a hard day’s work off. Bryant, who came in to the Lakers’ practice facility on the off day to receive treatment on the left ankle he sprained two games ago against Dallas, opted to sit out Wednesday. The Lakers’ next game is not until Friday at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “It’s still an ankle that was badly sprained,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. “He’s got to be doing therapy a lot. Today, he stayed off it. Tomorrow he may come out on the court.”
From Broderick Turner, LA Times: Two days after his 18-rebound, four-blocked-shot performance against Orlando’s Dwight Howard, considered by many the best center in the NBA, the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum was still all the rage. He has been a towering presence since the All-Star break, a force that has helped the Lakers produce the best record in the NBA at 10-1 since Feb. 22. Bynum has dominated the backboards and been an intimidator on defense with his 7-foot, 285-pound frame. “That’s where he can really impact the game a lot on this team,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “Obviously, some nights he’s got to score if he’s got the hand. But every night he can change it with rebounding and defense.”
From Mark Medina, LA Times: Usually the olive branch behind Phil Jackson’s voice of reason, calmness and perspective, Lakers guard Derek Fisher found himself questioning his coaching tactics during Wednesday’s practice. “He annoyed us and got on our nerves a lot,” he said at the team’s facility in El Segundo. The reason? It appears Jackson put heavy emphasis on conditioning and running drills, something that did not go over well with the 15-year veteran. “I’d say I’m not a marathon runner,” Fisher said. “I’m a basketball player. I think he got the two in reverse today.”
From SoCalGal, Silver Screen and Roll: At Lower Merion High School, Kobe played on the varsity squad as a freshman, a year when the team didn’t do much; from his sophomore through senior years, Kobe led the team to a 77-13 record and played all five positions (remind you of anyone?); the team won its first state championship in 53 years, with Kobe averaging 30.8 PPG, 12 RPG, 6.5 APG, 4 SPG and 3.8 BPG; the Lower Merion Aces went 31-3 in his senior year; he ended his career as Southeastern Pennsylvania’s all-time leading scorer with 2,883 points (surpassing Wilt Chamberlain and Lionel Simmons); he played at Adidas’ ABCD camp with Lamar Odom (Kobe was named MVP), and worked out with the 76ers, going one-on-one with Jerry Stackhouse. As a senior, Kobe received several awards, including being named Naismith High School Player of the Year, Gatorade Men’s National Basketball Player of the Year, a McDonald’s All-American, and a USA Today All-USA First Team player