LA Daily News Blog
: The Lakers played more close games than just about anybody in the NBA last season. So why not continue the trend Tuesday night in their third summer-league game?
They did just that in an 87-84 victory over Memphis at the Pyramid and maybe learned a couple of things in the process.
For starters, Andrew Bynum can make free throws when they matter (at least in July) and Jordan Farmar isn’t afraid of making the big play down the stretch or sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong on the court.
Bynum went 8 of 15 from the foul line Tuesday but hit two free throws with 59.6 seconds left to cap his 24-point, 7-rebound game. Farmar drove for a layup with 34.1 seconds left and the Lakers survived from there.
``I was shooting them pretty good up until today,’’ Bynum said of his free throws. ``I’m probably going to go shoot some right now.’’
As a rookie, Bynum converted just 8 of 27 free throws, a Shaq-like 29.6 percent. He was so shaky at the line in the first half Tuesday that he conferred with special assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during one timeout about what was going wrong.
He said afterward he wasn’t following through and might as well have been ``praying’’ his foul shots went in. Bynum had made 10 of 14 free throws in the two summer-league games before Tuesday.
But the Lakers believe that Bynum won’t merely be an adequate free throw shooter in his career, but a good one.
``We’ve heaped a lot of expectations on him in that area,’’ assistant coach Kurt Rambis said. ``We think that he’s going to be big enough and strong enough to be able to get himself to the line. So we want him to shoot for that 80 percent range on his free throws.’’
Farmar, meanwhile, looked like more than a 19-year-old rookie in beating Tarence Kinsey for his big layup in the final minute. The Lakers cleared out the court for Farmar, who was gone as soon as Kinsey turned his head.
Before that, Farmar showed his feistiness in the final minute by standing directly next to Memphis’ Junior Harrington as the Grizzlies guard went to talk to an assistant coach during a blood timeout prior to Bynum’s free throws.
It was something Farmar - - who finished with 21 points and hit 7 of 10 shots - - never thought twice about, even as a first-year professional.
``I was just playing around, trying to make him uncomfortable, and act like I knew what was going on,’’ Farmar said. ``I have no clue. Whatever they say, I don’t know their calls anyway.’’
Rambis said: ``He goes over there and listens. That’s the smart, crafty little move that he did. I liked that. He has as much right to stand there as the opposing player.’’
Bynum got most of his points off dunks and lobs and might have had a 30-point game had he not struggled so much from the line. He hit 8 of 11 shots with the Grizzlies playing what he called ``ridiculous defense.’’
``They were totally fronting me all the way on the high side with small guys, not really having any backside help,’’ Bynum said. ``So we just kept abusing that situation.’’