Pivot Points: Andrew Bynum Is Dominant for LA Lakers, Minus Pau Gasol

There may be some truth to the whispers about the ability of Los Angeles Laker center Andrew Bynum to coexist in the starting lineup with forward Pau Gasol, and evidence of that was on display in a win against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.

For the second consecutive game Bynum delivered a virtuoso performance by scoring 24 points, with 11 of them coming in the fourth quarter as the Lakers managed to hold the lead and persevere for the win as Gasol looked on.

Bynum followed his 8-8 shooting performance on Sunday versus the Dallas Mavericks with a 10-16 display versus the Rockets, and added eight rebounds, as the Lakers avenged an earlier home loss to Houston.

Lamar Odom fell one assist shy of a triple-double with 17 points, 19 rebounds, and nine assists while Kobe Bryant scored a quiet 22 points after being hit on his injured finger early in the game.

Ron Artest scored seven points in his first action since Christmas and had a steady, if unspectacular, performance since suffering a recent concussion and elbow contusion.

The story on this night, though, was Bynum who had receded into the shadows since Gasol made his triumphant return to the Laker lineup after being sidelined by a hamstring strain on his right leg.

In the beginning of the season Bynum seemed to have made great strides, and his game showed a maturity and level of effort that had been missing previously in his career.

He started asserting himself in the paint for the Lakers, and his combination of agile footwork and soft hands made him an ideal component in the Los Angeles version of the triangle offense.

This was reflected in his numbers as he began the season averaging more than 20 points per game to go along with 11 rebounds. He had finally begun to live up to the promise of his potential, and the huge contract he signed earlier.

Then Gasol came back, seemed to be in midseason form, and ...

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