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Lakers coach Mike Brown caused a big of a controversy when he supposedly benched Kobe Bryant. Photo by Jeff LewisBryant and Brown say that it’s no big deal, but Bynum alludes to the coach proving a point. Bynum was benched in 2nd half of their next game.By Jason LewisSentinel Sports Editor
Media members and basketball fans have been looking for an intriguing storyline after Lakers head coach Mike Brown did not play superstar Kobe Bryant for about a four minute stretch late in the Lakers 102-96 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but Bryant is not giving any information that could lead to another Lakers soap opera. When asked about the issue after the game, Bryant smartly kept his opinion, good or bad, about the situation to himself. But it was easy to see that Bryant was not happy with the situation. He could have spoken his mind and caused another blowup, which has become all too common with this team. But instead he diverted the Lakers away from another mini-meltdown.Brown did not offer an explanation for the odd substitution, which has caused this issue to linger around. He may have been giving Bryant a rest, because the Lakers were down by 14 points with just over five minutes to play, and Bryant had played the entire second half up until that point. Bryant usually comes out of the game late in the third period and comes back in early in the fourth. Or maybe, as Lakers center Andrew Bynum alluded to, Brown may have been trying to make a point. If that was what Brown was trying to do, then he’s playing high stakes poker because if Bryant blows up, he’s liable to take down the entire team. The Lakers were not playing well offensively, but that may not be Bryant’s fault, who was 7-for-15 from the floor in the game. Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace were a combined 6-for-24. For the Lakers sake, they better hope this is a non-story, and it is good to know that Bryant handled this correctly in post game interviews, even if he was hiding his true feelings. It is interesting that Bynum alluded to Brown proving a point. In the Lakers 104-101 victory over the Golden State Warriors, Bynum was benched in the second half of the game. This Lakers team continues to evolve in Brown’s first season as the Lakers head coach. Their offense averaged about 93 points per game in the months of January and February, but this month they are averaging about 101 points per game. But their defense has not been nearly as stingy as of late. Early in the season they were holding teams to the low 90s per game. But this month that number is up to 98 points per game. As their offense has improved, their defense has started to struggle. There is still time left in the season, but it looks like they will end up with the third seed in the playoffs, behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers play the Spurs three more times this season, so they could make up some ground and make a run at the second seed.
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