Jordan Farmar certainly hasn't taken long to get adjusted to the team.
Farmar's clutch layup with 34 seconds left was enough to give the Lakers a three point lead and an 87-84 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night.
Andrew Bynum led the way with 24 points and 7 rebounds, followed by Farmar's 21 points and 5 assists.
"Coach Kurt cleared it out for me on the side [on the] pick & roll," Farmar said. "The guy guarding me turned his head and I just went the other way."
"I was gonna dunk it. I should have dunked it. But I just wanted to win, so it was pretty simple."
Bynum hit two big free throws with 59 seconds left, a pair that would give the Lakers the lead for good.
"That was nice to see," coach Kurt Rambis said after the game, "but he was just a shade over 50% for the entire ball game. I think he can eventually be a very good free throw shooter."THE BREAKDOWNAndrew Bynum
This was, in my opinion, Bynum's best SPL game so far.
Bynum's 24 & 7 set the tone for the game and his presence freed up the rest of the team for open looks off of double teams. In the post, there wasn't a defender on the Grizzlies that could guard him. His power and agility allowed him to score with relative ease, the most impressive display coming on an and-one dunk on Alexander Johnson. The Grizzlies often threw a second defender at him, and he handled it well, kicking it out to the open man. Gradually Bynum is starting to get more aggressive and more confident with his back to the basket. There were even a couple times where he showed flashes of a face-up game down low.
The Grizzlies were fronting Bynum on many instances, but with Bynum's length, he had no problem securing the lofty passes thrown by his teammates.
On the boards, Bynum was solid again. For the most part, when a rebound was available, Bynum did a solid job of boxing out and securing the rebound strong with both hands. He's starting to leap when rebounding and isn't going for the boards flat-footed as he might have done a year ago.
In fact, overall, Bynum did a better job establishing position on Tuesday night, whether it was when he was being fronted or posting up against the Memphis centers or bodying up down low to snatch a board.
Bynum finished the game with one shot block (a stat that I question myself), but his presence on defense didn't show up in the box score. His wingspan constantly allowed him to bother shots in the paint, whether it was coming on weak side help or guarding Greek center Andreas Glyniadakis.
After an opening game where he was plagued by foul trouble against Glyniadakis, I asked Bynum if he was looking forward to the match-up at all.
"I wasn't really looking forward to the matchup. You know I didn't really play a lot first game. I played like 20 minutes because I was in foul trouble. They stopped calling those fouls on me and I'm doing the same thing. He's a pretty good player. Like I said, I was a step slow today, I don't know why. My knee hurts or something I don't know."
His two clutch free throws with 59 seconds left gave the Lakers a big push in momentum, signifying the team taking the lead for good for the remainder of the game.
I asked Andrew if he'd say, "I make them when they count," like a former Laker center might have.
"No, I don't say that," Andrew laughed. "I just go out there with confidence and hope I [make them]."
Hopefully Bynum can build off this confidence and continue performances like this one.Jordan Farmar
As in the two games before, Farmar's presence on the floor meant so much whether or not he was putting up the numbers he did.
Jordan's 21 points and 5 assists established the tempo for the game. He looked to push the ball on reasonable fast break opportunities. Farmar seldom forced it, a result of that being just two turnovers for the game. At the same time, he did a good job of distributing the ball and picking his spots.
"I have very high expectations for myself," Farmar said after the game. "Higher than anybody, any fan, any GM can put on me."
He had his first real test of speed against the Grizzlies, going up against quick point guard Kyle Lowry for a good portion of the game. Farmar passed with flying colors. Not only did he have the "deceptive" athleticism to keep up with Lowry, he routinely denied penetration on the defensive end.
On offense, Lowry and the Grizzlies' backcourt posed few problems for Farmar. An example of this being when Jordan blew by Lowry in the second quarter, drew the foul and converted on the and-one layup. Further evidence is shown in Farmar's 21 points.
What's interesting to note is that Farmar did not miss a single two-point field goal in this game. He shot 7 for 10, all three of his misses being from downtown.
His crunch-time layup is just additional proof of his leadership abilities and calmness under pressure to make rational decisions. Farmar attacked the basket, as he should have, in such a situation. Leading the UCLA Bruins to the NCAA title game wasn't an accident.
What is nice to see is Farmar looking for Bynum early and often. I asked Jordan for his thoughts on the tandem he and Bynum had formed.
"I look for him all the time," Farmar replied. "He works his butt off down there [and] gets good position, rebounds, helps us when we get beat on penetrations and things like that. So I definitely look for him a lot. You know he has great hands and finishes around the basket, so I try to give it to him as much as I can."
The best part of all this is he's very comfortable in the Triangle offense.
"It's pretty basic to me," Farmar said. "It's basic basketball principles. When one thing happens, a series of events happen. I just understand it. It's what I'd do naturally if I [was] playing at the park or somewhere else. The movements they have are just basic basketball, so it's not a difficult transition for me.
He played under control and played on both ends of the floor. You can't ask for much more from a player. Just keep practicing those outside jumpers.Danilo "J.R." Pinnock
After being almost a non-factor in the first three quarters, Pinnock stepped up in the final few minutes, scoring 5 of his 7 points in the fourth.
Pinnock started to attack the basket and heated up just a bit in the fourth.
He continues to show signs that he can break down his man off the dribble and create his own shot.
Something to note was that he made a horrible decision with 20 seconds to go that gave the Grizzlies a shot to send it to overtime. Pinnock overdribbled, lost control of the ball and threw it out of bounds. Thankfully for the Lakers, they held their ground (thanks to some tough defense by Farmar) and secured the ball for the win.
It wasn't exactly his best game, he seemed just a bit lost out there when it became the Bynum and Farmar show early on.Marcus Slaughter
To start the game, Slaughter's court awareness was a bit low.
He left Hakim Warrick wide open for a baseline jumper in the first quarter. Moments later, he fell asleep and missed a pass from Jordan Farmar on the perimeter.
I was about to say he had no ability to swat, but Slaughter came up with a big block on a Memphis player's dunk attempt on the break in the opening quarter. We'll see if he shows this ability more. That got him back in the game.
He showed some nice hangtime when attacking the rim. He's able to finish at the hoop at a decent level, which is good to see.
Slaughter, for the most part, moved the ball well in the Triangle. In fact, he wound up with four assists just by making smart, not impressive passes.
Still, I think he's a bit of a tweener trying to find his spot on the team. He's going to have to show a real standout ability to make the team.Von Wafer
I won't say much other than this was a disappointing game for Von Wafer. He played just 15 minutes, but really didn't have a memorable game.
I'll reiterate that I'm confused why they are trying to mold a guy who loves to shoot into a ballhandler in the Triangle. Von didn't make the best of decisions out there today. He threw the ball away a couple times, in fact. I just don't see him as a point guard.
Hopefully Von steps it up from here on out.Devin Green
Not a good game for Green either. He played 30 minutes but really was a non-factor the whole way through.
Green went 0 for 5 from the field and missed the majority of his free throws. Green also guarded Hakim Warrick for much of the game. Warrick put up 24 and 9. Not the best showing on that end either.
The remainder of the team either didn't provide a significant contribution or did not receive enough playing time for proper evaluation.
Keep tuned in for more interviews and analysis with BDG's SPL Exclusive reports and ClubLakers.com's complete coverage of the Summer Pro League over the next couple of weeks.