Andrew Bynum showed that he's not afraid to protect the paint during Monday's win over LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
During the fourth quarter of the Lakers' Monday night victory over the Cavaliers, LeBron James drove the baseline and left his feet to attack the rim. Anyone who's seen LeBron in that situation before knows he has one thing on his mind, and that's finishing the play with a powerful slam dunk.
Andrew Bynum was aware of LeBron's intentions, but he had some of his own: namely, to make sure that Cleveland wasn't allowed any layups or dunks that might have begun to swing the game's momentum back in their favor.
So he leveled him.
Bynum went up and made contact with LeBron in the air, causing King James to land a bit awkwardly. LeBron didn't take too kindly to the foul, and got up and threw a hard look in Bynum's direction before beginning to move towards him. Kobe Bryant came over to assure James that there was no malicious intent, and that was that.
Was the foul from Bynum all that serious, where LeBron should have been looking for a fight after the whistle blew? Andrew didn't think so.
"I really didn't think it was that crazy of a foul," Bynum said. "He was going to come dunk the ball. I wasn't going to stand there and let him just dunk on me."
Take notice, NBA: Andrew Bynum will not be dunked on.
More importantly though, Bynum's awareness of the situation -- and the fact that he showed a willingness to protect the paint against one of the game's top players -- are strong signs of his continuing development, which has to be exciting for the Lakers to see.