Andrew Bynum has advice for Dwight Howard: Get used to not touching the ball with Kobe around

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Dwight Howard tried to avoid talking about Andrew Bynum when the topic came up, and what he did say what right out of the “NBA cliché handbook.”

Bynum on the other hand had no problem talking about Howard and the Lakers.

He says he understands Howard’s challenges, because it’s not easy getting used to playing next to Kobe Bryant. It’s the kind of thing that could stunt a players growth. From CSNPhilly.com.

“I think Dwight’s a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe obviously, and not touching the ball every single play,” Bynum said…

“Later I thought I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how at the end it could stunt growth,” Bynum said. “Winning championships there was fun. But obviously my time there is done. Health is the main concern with me now.

“I don’t regret anything. Personally, they traded No. 1 for No. 2 and that is what happened.”

Bynum’s not wrong, this season will be an adjustment for Howard. His points per game is down two from last season, which not so coincidentally is how many fewer shots a game Howard is getting this season over last.

Howard would happily make that sacrifice if it meant winning games, and eventually playoff games. So far it really hasn’t. When Steve Nash and Pau Gasol return to the Lakers lineup — both of which could happen this week — the Lakers are going to look to Howard to won the boards and the defensive paint, then get his points. How much he’s willing to make that sacrifice may depend on wins.

As for Bynum, he just needs to get on the court. He has long thought he should get more touches in the Lakers offense, that he should be more of a focal point. He’s got that now. He’s the man. Well, he will be once he gets on the court. Which is part o the reason the Lakers were willing, even eager, to make this trade.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.