Lakers coach Mike Brown was so disgusted with Bynum’s ill-advised shot that he parked the 24-year-old on the pine next to him for most of the remainder of the night.
In a normal setting, this wouldn’t ruffle any feathers. But when it happens two nights after Brown benched Kobe Bryant late in the team’s loss to Memphis, all of a sudden, it’s the drama du jour for the L.A. sports world. (Well, that and Magic Johnson and company buying the Dodgers, of course.)
Bynum appeared unwilling to recognize his mistake, joking about his release from his seat on the bench and then remaining on the bench during fourth quarter timeouts as his teammates huddled around the coaching staff.
“I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you,” Bynum said after the game. “I made one last (game) and wanted to make another one. I sweat that’s it. I guess (Brown) took offense to it and he put me on the bench.”
“I guess don’t take threes is the message. But I’m going to take some more. I just hope it’s not the same result. I hope that I make it.”
But the former Cleveland Cavaliers appears willing to hold his ground.
“If I feel like I have to take him out the game again, I’ll take him out the game,” Brown told Yahoo Sports. “If I don’t feel like he’s playing the right way, I’ll take him out the game. I didn’t feel like he was playing the right way. I didn’t feel like we were playing the right way as a club when he was on the floor. That’s why I took him out.”
Filling the shoes of Phil Jackson is a daunting task, and one that Brown has not seemed up to during stretches this season. But credit him for not backing down and allowing his players to completely run the show in L.A. — even if it ends up costing him his job.
And maybe Brown’s motivational tactics are working. Bryant returned from his benching to score 30 points and knock down a pair of jumpers in the final 64 seconds to help the Lakers hold off the Warriors.
The Lakers need Bynum playing the type of basketball that made him an All-Star down the stretch as they try to move up the Western Conference ladder — or at least hold onto the No. 3 spot for the playoffs. Los Angeles currently holds a 2 1/2 game lead on the Clippers and Mavericks with 16 games to play.