Andrew Bynum has left the Indiana Pacers. It was mutual.

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Well, that couldn’t have gone much worse.

Let’s take a look back at the Andrew Bynum era in Indiana: 36 minutes over the course of two games, scoring 23 points and pulling down 19 rebounds during what amounted to two little tests in the regular season. Oh, and he used a lot of training room ice. Spent some time in the anti-gravity treadmill. That’s basically all of it.

Andrew Bynum’s time in Indiana is done, the team announced Wednesday — he will miss the remainder of the playoffs and not be with the team.

“We want to thank Andrew and our medical staff for trying to get the issues with his knee resolved,” Pacers President Larry Bird said in a released statement. “We wish him the best in the future.”

The Pacers signed him as a free agent Feb. 1 for $1 million. Despite Bird’s public protestations, this was really a signing designed to keep Bynum away from the Heat or another team that might use him against the Pacers in the playoffs (at the time of the signing that was a concern). If the Pacers got anything out of Bynum, great, but when he was signed the guys in the locker room shrugged.

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To be fair Bynum is not at fault for the collapse we have seen in Indiana — he was barely around the team, he didn’t change the chemistry, he was not taken seriously enough to damage chemistry. It’s not Bynum’s fault that somehow Roy Hibbert has morphed into a poor man’s Kendrick Perkins on the court. (The Danny Granger for Evan Turner move by Bird had a bigger impact in the locker room and on the court.)

Bynum’s NBA future going forward is largely nonexistent. He has serious knee issues and doesn’t like to play through pain in them. His chances in Cleveland and Indiana largely went poorly — he can do some things still on the court but he can’t really get and stay on the court.

I like Bynum, he’s smart and honest. He’s got a diversity of interests in his life, he is curious and likes to explore. That makes for an interesting person. However, it doesn’t really make for a great NBA player — that requires a singular focus that is just not in Bynum’s nature.

Because he’s big and skilled some team may give him a small, non-guaranteed contract. Maybe a training camp invite. But the days of investing in Bynum are gone, and soon he will be free to bowl when he wants, to flamenco dance his way across Europe without being bothered by nagging NBA responsibilities and fans.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.