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Andrew Bynum’s turn to be benched by Mike Brown after taking three

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Everyone made a big deal out of Kobe Bryant being “benched” a few games ago during crunch time. That wasn’t really a benching.

What happened with Andrew Bynum Tuesday night, that was a benching. And because Bynum acted like a three year old told he couldn’t have another lollipop, this issue could linger.

It all began two minutes into the third quarter. The Lakers grabbed the ball off a Warriors miss and pushed it up court, but when nothing developed they reset the offense and Bynum came down court to join the play. When he did he got a pass out near the top of the arc and…

Bynum stepped into and took a three. Which he missed to the right. Not that it mattered, the ball probably wasn’t to the rim before coach Mike Brown had called Josh McRobert’s number and told him to check in. Bynum only played a couple of minutes the rest of the way.

The bigger issue was Bynum’s immaturity when benched — he joked and laughed about the shot, refused to join team huddles or high-five teammates coming into timeouts, and generally just sulked. Then there were his post-game comments. Via Kevin Ding of the OC Register.

“I don’t know what was bench-worthy about the shot, to be honest with you,” Bynum said. “I made one (with 1.2 seconds left in the last game, a loss to Memphis), and I wanted to make another one. I swear, that’s it. I guess he took offense to it, so he put me on the bench.”

Bynum is now 1-8 for his career from three. Do you really think he doesn’t understand why a coach doesn’t care if he takes a three at the end of an already decided game versus taking one early in the shot clock of a six-point game (at that moment) early in the third quarter? As for him not getting off the bench to be in team huddles, via ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“He took me out of the game, so I just sat where he put me,” Bynum said.

Very mature, Andrew. Combine that with his saying a few weeks back he was loafing on the court, and him getting thrown out of the game in Houston, and you start to see a little pattern.

Kobe Bryant seemed to be the only guy with some sympathy for Bynum. In part because as team leader he needs to keep Bynum engaged. But as Kevin Ding noted it’s in part because Bynum is a rising young star who wants a bigger role on a team with veterans and chafes against his restrictions — a lot like Kobe when he came into the league. Kobe gets him.

Bynum has always fancied himself as more than a traditional center, even though that is his strength. It frustrated former mentor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that a young Bynum didn’t want to work as much on his back-to-the-basket post moves as much as face-up moves from 12-15 feet out. Bynum does not want to fit in your mold.

But that doesn’t excuse not being a good teammate. Even for a night. And how he acted on the bench was the real issue, not the shot itself. Same with other recent actions.

Bynum’s career has been marked by impatience and immaturity. He is thoughtful, well read and smart, and drafted into the NBA (and one of the league’s most visible teams) at 17 he had to do a lot of growing up in the spotlight. It’s been a bumpy road at times.

Tuesday night felt like a regression to the Bynum of five years ago with his attitude. He doesn’t need to be repentant upon his return, not with the fans and media anyway, but he does need to make sure his teammates know he is still with them, that he still has their back.

This was a real benching, unlike the Bryant situation (Brown sat Kobe for a brief rest but when the Lakers went on a quick 6-0 run he decided to ride what worked, maybe for a little too long but the Lakers were +7 that quarter when Kobe sat and -2 after he returned at the end of the game). But there is a similarity:

It’s another silly “crisis” for Mike Brown to deal with that really is not much of a big deal in the locker room but will dominate the talk outside it. Welcome to coaching the Lakers.

Reports: Raptors looking hard for power forward upgrade at trade deadline

Al Horford Thaddeus Young
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There are precious few windows in the NBA when everything comes together for a franchise and it can make a deep playoff run (well, unless you’re the Spurs). When those opportunities arise, teams have to grab them. Carpe Diem.

The Toronto Raptors are the clear second-best team in the Eastern Conference, and the top seed Cavaliers do not look invincible. But the Raptors have a glaring hole in their lineup at the power forward spot. The Raptors start veteran Luis Scola, but they are 10 points per 100 possessions better when he is off the court than on it — not one Raptors lineup with Scola and center Jonas Valanciunas has a positive plus-minus this season. They have Patrick Patterson off the bench, but he has a limited offensive game that would cause matchup issues in the postseason.

The Raptors want to seize their moment — expect them to be active at the trade deadline trying to upgrade at the four.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun said that in a recent ProBasketballTalk podcast. He said their ideal player would be Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks. However, if the Hawks decide to keep him or the price is too high, the Raptors are looking at other options as well, something Brian Windhorst discussed in a recent radio conversation in Toronto, as transcribed by The Brooklyn Game.

“I think they’re gonna go for it. I think from what I understand, from what I’m hearing, they’re pretty aggressive in the trade market. They’re looking for power forwards. I’ve heard them attached to Thaddeus Young. I’ve heard them attached to (Nuggets forward) Kenneth Faried. I’ve heard them attached to (Suns forward) Markieff Morris. They have extra draft picks. I wouldn’t trade that New York Knicks pick unless it was for a blockbuster acquisition, because you can’t protect it, you can’t protect another team’s pick. I would do it if I could put, like, a top-five protection on it. But you can’t do that. You can’t say, allright, we’ll give you two of our picks if it falls in the top five. But they have assets to do it. They have some young players.”.

The Nuggets have tested the market for Faried, and he is available, his energy/glue-guy game would pair well with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Although, if I were Rockets GM Masai Ujiri and I was talking to Denver, the name Danilo Gallinari would come up a lot, more often than Faried. His shooting and pick-and-pop skills would fit with the Raptors guards well.

Young would be a good fit and an upgrade. Morris could be an improvement on the court, and he’s on a reasonable contract, but there are concerns about time he could miss (suspension and maybe jail) for a pending felony assault case with his brother Marcus.  The Raptors also need to ask themselves if they have the right internal structure and locker room leadership to provide the support/guidance teams need if they bring Morris on — something incidents Wednesday night emphasized. But Morris is better than anyone on the Raptors’ roster.

The Raptors have multiple first-round picks coming up they can move, the New York park would have to be included in a Horford deal but not necessarily the others. There are also young players that the team is high on, such as Lucas Nogueira, that could be moved in the right deal.

Raptors fans were angry last season at the deadline when Ujiri didn’t pull the trigger on any deals, but that seemed the right move at the time. The Raptors were a few steps away from the top rung of the East, and the reported deals would not have changed that picture.

This season feels different. Expect a bold move out of Toronto during or after All-Star weekend. Carpe Diem.

Jared Sullinger tries to invade Clippers huddle (video)

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 22:  Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics reacts during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls at TD Garden on January 22, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeat the Bulls 110-101. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Nice box out, Cole Aldrich.

Lamar Odom makes appearance at Kanye West fashion show

Workers set up the area where Kanye West will show his Yeezy collection at Madison Square Garden during Fashion Week, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in New York. West will also perform songs from his latest album, "The Life of Pablo," out on Friday. (AP Photo/Leanne Italie)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Lamar Odom made his public return at brother-in-law Kanye West’s New York Fashion Week show on Thursday.

Odom’s appearance marked the first time he’d attended a public event since he was hospitalized in critical condition in Las Vegas in October 2015 after he was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel with cocaine in his system. Odom, who is estranged from Khloe Kardashian, had been moved from a Los Angeles hospital to a private facility in January.

As West walked Odom to his seat with the Kardashian and Jenner families, the crowd at Madison Square Garden for West’s Yeezy runway show cheered and shouted Odom’s name.

J.B. Bickerstaff calls Rockets ‘broken team,’ ‘fragmented bunch’

Houston Rockets interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff rubs his head in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Washington Wizards, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Houston. The Wizards won 123-122. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
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Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been unafraid to sharply assess his team.

But after last night’s loss to the Trail Blazers – Houston’s third straight defeat and sixth in eight games – Bickerstaff kicked up the rhetoric even further.

Bickerstaff, via Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

“We’re broken,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s that simple. We’re a broken team, and we all need to use this break to figure out how we’re going to impact change. If we don’t want to impact change, then we need to be made aware of that, too, and we’ll go in a different direction.

“We can’t continue to go out and play this way. It’s easy to see it’s a fragmented bunch. You can’t win that way.”

This is why Dwight Howard is on the trade block. The Rockets are so incohesive, there’s no simple solution in sight. This increasingly looks like a lost season for Houston, which should emphasize future planning – like dealing Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent at age 30 this summer.

Yet, the Rockets are just a half game from playoff position. They obviously dreamed much bigger when the season began, but at this point, merely making the postseason should qualify as a success.

It’s Bickerstaff’s job to get them there, no matter how unlikely. He has certainly shown little fear in trying, whether it’s giving these quotes or pulling all five starters simultaneously shortly into a game. He’s trying to put his mark on this team.

The players just aren’t responding, not more than periodically, at least. From James Harden down, nobody plays with the requisite focus and energy.

Nothing in Bickerstaff’s assessment is surprising. It’s just surprising he said it so bluntly publicly.

Then again, that’s nothing compared to what veteran Houston guard Jason Terry said. Eric Ringering of 750 The Game:

https://twitter.com/ringering45/status/697664478993756164