Hopefully for the Lakers, Bynum's knee at "85-90 percent" will be enough to help stop Yao Ming in Game 2.
Most of the words that came after Tuesday's Lakers practice was about how the team was more than ready to put Game 1 behind them, and how they were dialed in and focused on evening the series in Game 2. But at least one player mentioned that they would not be 100 percent up to the task.
There apparently isn’t any swelling or pain, but the Lakers center said Tuesday he lacks the explosion and strength he enjoyed before his knee injury. And that brace doesn’t help.
“It’s just not ready,” he said. “I’m probably about 85-90 percent.”
This is obviously not what Lakers fans want to hear with their team heading into a semi-must-win situation Wednesday night, especially when Bynum is the first line of defense against the 7'6" Yao Ming, who just happened to score 28 points and grab 10 rebounds in Game 1. But didn't we already know this?
Sure we did. Bynum had some pain in the knee during L.A.'s first round series versus the Jazz, and that -- along with his foul trouble -- was the likely reason that Phil Jackson limited his minutes to the extent that he did. The Lakers didn't need Bynum to eliminate Utah, so getting him (and that knee) some extra rest to get ready for Yao Ming seemed like the logical way to go.
The knee isn't going to be back to 100 percent until next season. Bynum has said he can play through the pain, but expect more of the hook shots and jumpers that we saw him take in Game 1 instead of the monster dunks and alley-oops we were starting to get used to mid-way through the season.
If you ask us, a bigger concern than that knee causing some discomfort is the fact that Bynum has been in foul trouble during every game he's played in the post-season. Because whether he's at 85 percent or 100 percent, it means nothing if he can't defend within the rules and keep himself from getting sent to the bench with two quick fouls.