During the first-round playoff series with the Denver Nuggets, All-Star center Andrew Bynum made some controversial comments that came back to haunt the team in the last three games. With Bynum’s “close-out games are actually kinda easy” statement, Denver was given a motivator to take down Los Angeles and they were almost able to pull off the unlikely first round upset.
After the Nuggets forced the Lakers to a Game 7, Bynum began to watch what he said to the media with opposing teams looking for anything to put on the dry erase board in the locker room to get a competitive edge. Despite Bynum thinking twice about making comments before games, the up-and-coming center has made a statement once again about the Lakers’ chances of winning an NBA title before Game 1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder via Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register:
“We’ll win this championship,” Bynum said, “if we commit to defense.”
A bold statement by the one player that failed to show up for the Lakers in the last few games of the first-round series with a lesser opponent in the Nuggets. Bynum was a force to be reckoned with in Game 7 with 16 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks, but the up-and-comer was nonexistent after Game 2.
It remains to be seen whether or not Bynum is officially back to form and ready to give the Thunder a run for their money with some dominant performances in paint. Even though it uncertain if Bynum is ready to impose his will against an extremely tough squad in Oklahoma City, the Lakers center might have a point in terms of Los Angeles potentially winning a championship if they can lock it down defensively.
When the Lakers are locked in on defense, Los Angeles is as tough to stop as any team in the league. The only problem is consistency. If the Lakers play consistently well on both ends of the floor in the second round, another series that goes the distance might be on the horizon.