With 1:18 left in the third quarter, Andrew Bynum picked up a technical foul. Just before returning to the floor to start the fourth quarter, Laker coaches reminded Bynum not to get a second technical (and automatic ejection). Forty-three seconds into the fourth quarter, Bynum picked up his second technical and was ejected. Did Andrew succumb to a spontaneous outburst of anger in the heat of the moment arguing a call? No, he got thrown out for talking smack to the Houston bench after he had just scored. Middle-school stuff!
To recap: Two minutes after picking up his first technical, and 43 seconds after being warned not to pick up a second, Bynum did just that and was tossed. The Rockets were ahead 84-83 at the time. The Lakers proceeded to lose a close game.
Not that the Lakers have any serious problems.
The advent of Ramon Sessions has lifted the Lakers alongside the elite teams, but an immature superstar is too much baggage for any team, especially a team that already has Kobe Bryant. Kobe has some issues but he isn’t immature. And he isn’t stupid. I would guess that he gave Bynum some tough love after the game.
This is the same Rockets team—again playing without its dynamic backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin—that beat the Lakers 107-104 in Houston on March 20, and continues to be a serious playoff contender despite their problems. Goren Dragic killed them in March and he killed them again last night—26 points, 11 assists, three steals.
World Peace had his most impressive offensive game of the season (23 points on 8-13 shooting, 6-6 from the foul line), taking (and making) a diverse repertoire of shots. Barnes and McRoberts were both outstanding off the bench, and Sessions had a nice floor game with seven assists and six rebounds to go with his 10 points in 28 minutes.
Kobe continued his trend of taking fewer shots (20 last night, hitting eight). For probably the second time this season, five Lakers took at least ten shots. This is good stuff. Pau still isn’t shooting enough—only 11 shots in 37 minutes last night—but they’ve got eleven games to work things out.
The Bynum thing won’t be as easy to fix.