Fouls take Lakers out of game
LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles' 103-94 loss to Boston in Game 2 of the NBA Finals left several Lakers crying foul even though the foul count for both teams was identical (29) and the Lakers attempted 15 more free throws than the Celtics did.
Lakers coach Phil Jackson started off his postgame remarks commenting on the Celtics' 16-4 run to finish the game and immediately mentioned a call that he felt should not have been called on Andrew Bynum while he was setting a screen on the perimeter with 4:39 left in the fourth and the Lakers up by one.
"Drew got a call for an offensive foul," Jackson said. "I still don't know about that one. That was dubious."
Said Bynum: "I had a screen and they called an offensive foul on it. That was one of the turnovers late in the game. I mean, you could call that every play, so that's pretty tough."
Bryant was called for an offensive foul on the Lakers' first possession of the fourth quarter, picking up his fifth. Bryant played just 34 minutes because of the foul trouble, his lowest playing time total since Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.
"You've just got to be careful," Bryant said. "I don't expect to be picking up five fouls the next game ... You've got to play. You've got to play your game and let the whistles sort themselves out."
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Odom was not as diplomatic.
Odom finished with three points and five rebounds and played just 15 minutes Sunday because of his five fouls. It was his second consecutive whistle-challenged outing of the Finals after racking up five points, four rebounds and just 21 minutes of playing time because of five fouls in Game 1.
"Of course it's important for me to step up, or I would say, step out the way," Odom said. "You know, because ... When you have two games where I'm checking in at the four minute mark and out maybe before the one minute mark. It's tough, but that's just the way it is, that's just the way it's been for me this series. Maybe I shouldn't play defense."
Jackson joked that he was responsible for Odom picking up so many early fouls -- three within a 52-second span in the first quarter -- because he left him in the game.
"Again, my fault," Jackson said. "He got, bang-bang, two fouls immediately and I turned to my crew and said, 'Do you think he can play through this?' And as I was talking to them, he got his third foul. So obviously, he couldn't play through that sequence. He just basically got in the ballgame and got those three fouls and it really took him out of the ballgame."
While most of the talk out of Lakers camp was about fouls they felt shouldn't have been called on them, Bynum pointed out there were some that weren't called on Ray Allen, who scored 32 points and went 8-for-11 on 3-pointers, that should have been.
"He puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the defense when he's hot, because he occupies two people coming off the screens," Bynum said before offering the complaint, "I think he pushes off a lot though on the screens."
Lakers co-captain Derek Fisher admitted that the copious amount of foul calls through the first two games have affected both teams rhythms, but did not want to dwell on the subject.
"I don't know if it's worth discussing," Fisher said. "We can't really control it."
Bynum's big night
Bynum tied his career playoff high with 21 points, but more importantly played 39 minutes, the most playing time he's had by far since suffering a slight tear in the meniscus of his right knee in Game 6 of the Lakers' first-round series against Oklahoma City.
The 22-year old center was spectacular on both sides of the ball, adding six rebounds and seven blocks. To understand just how well Bynum played, consider that the 7-footer had seven blocks and was 9-for-12 from the free throw line in six games in the Western Conference finals against the Phoenix Suns and he had seven blocks and shot 9-for-12 from the free throw line on Sunday alone.
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Jackson thought the key to Bynum's night was his health.
"Well, he had two days between games," Jackson said. "I thought he recovered really well off of some swelling that he had on that knee and we were able to -- trainers were able to get that down and back in order and he was able to play, I think, great -- as good a physical shape as he could possibly be at this time of the year and we were pleased with that. I was just pleased that he could play 35 minutes plus. That was a big part of that effort he gave us tonight."
At Saturday's practice Bynum admitted that he was running with a limp, but two extended therapy sessions Sunday morning before the game loosened Bynum's knee up enough to make plays in Game 2 like when he jumped in between Glen Davis and Tony Allen to catch a lob pass from Odom at the rim and later when he closed out on the sharp-shooting Allen and caused him to launch an airball on a 3-point attempt.
"I'm just out there playing hard," Bynum said. "It is what it is with my knee, I've been telling myself that the entire playoffs.
"My doctors told me going in that it's not going to get structurally worse; I'm just going to have to fight swelling. I've never been too, too upset with the injury."
Bynum is averaging 15.5 points and six rebounds per game in the Finals compared to 10.0 points and five rebounds for Boston's starting (and perfectly healthy) center Kendrick Perkins.
They said it
"This is part of the process. If you want to be the best, you got to be able to get back up when you get punched." -- Fisher on the home loss.
This and that
Bryant shot 6-for-7 with Ray Allen guarding him in Game 1 and just 6-for-15 with Allen on him in Game 2 ... This is the first NBA Finals since 2004 (Lakers vs. Pistons) in which the home team did not sweep the first two games ... In NBA Finals series tied at 1-1, the Game 3 winner has gone on to win the series 28 out of 32 times.
ESPN Stats & Information contributed to this report. Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. http://twitter.com/mcten