Lakers plan to start Bynum in Game 4

PHOENIX – Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum(notes) figures to be in the starting lineup for Game 4 of the Western Conference finals on Tuesday after Phil Jackson declared him fit to play.

Jackson said after the Lakers’ Game 3 loss that he was considering sitting Bynum, who is nursing a right knee injury and committed four fouls while playing only eight minutes on Sunday. But after speaking with Bynum on Monday morning, Jackson agreed to let his young center play.

“I just want to play unless they tell me I can’t,” Bynum said after Monday’s practice. “A suggestion is a suggestion. An action is an action. I’m going to keep playing. It’s not going to [get better] if I sit down.”

Said Jackson: “He’s going to be OK.”

Bynum injured his knee at the end of the first round and considered having arthroscopic surgery like Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy(notes), but he thought the layoff would have been too long. He said he will have surgery after the season. The delay will allow him enough time to have the proper rehab before playing again next season.

“I was quoted five weeks,” Bynum said. “I didn’t want go through the surgery, sit out a couple days than five more weeks of rehab, then come right back for the [NBA] Finals.”

Bynum also doesn’t want to miss anymore time after sitting out the entire 2008 playoffs with a knee injury.

“It has a lot to do with that and a lot to do with wanting to be a part of it,” Bynum said. “I guess if I’m playing bad people say whatever. But for me, just being out there trying to do anything, any time I have a good game it’s an extra, it’s a plus. I’m just looking at it that way.”

Bynum is averaging 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 15 minutes through three games in the West finals. That’s a drop from the 15 points and 8.3 rebounds he averaged during the regular season. He said he had a “little bit of pain” Monday morning.

“The pain has been the same,” Bynum said. “It hasn’t increased.”


Hill: Coach K should stay

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ coaching job. One of his former players, however, thinks he should stay in college.

“He gets his fix with the Dream Team,” Suns forward Grant Hill(notes) said. “He gets the best players without all the headaches. What I mean by that is if you go through a season, there are things that come up. Not every situation is ideal in terms of having the chemistry or camaraderie that we have or the Lakers have, the teams that are playing right now. He can get those [Team USA] guys to buy in. They’re all-stars who suppress their egos and buy into what they’re doing.

“But if he turned down the Lakers, turned down New Jersey, I can’t see him going to Cleveland. I think he’s happy, he’s content and they got some good players there. We’re about to make another [championship] run [at Duke]. He’s in a good place: Lifetime contract; involved with the business school.

“I’m trying not to be biased, trying to be objective, he really was what Dean Smith was 10 to 20 years. He is college basketball. He’s the face. He knows he has a good thing going and I can’t see him leaving.”


Nash OK

Suns guard Steve Nash(notes) broke his nose in Game 3, but practiced Monday and is expected to play. He had his nose reset Monday after initially trying to push it back into place during the game.

“I’m lucky that it doesn’t affect my play,” Nash said.


Tip-ins

The Suns’ Game 3 victory was sparked by using a zone defense the majority of the game instead of the customary man defense. The Lakers expect to see more of it. “If we have to play our girly zone, as somebody said, we’ll play our girly zone,” Suns coach Alvin Gentry said. … Kobe Bryant(notes) is not surprised to see the Boston Celtics on the verge of making the NBA Finals. “Give them [time] to prepare and they’re going to prepare like you wouldn’t believe. They are going to hone in on things you do and take them away from you. If you can’t make adjustments one through eight or whoever is playing, you’re going to have problems. They started the season off the right way. They had an idea of what they wanted to play for. Once they stepped back and let [Rajon] Rondo do what he does, that team started taking off,” Bryant said. … Lakers forward Ron Artest(notes) on Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez(notes). “I don’t even know who’s better: him or his brother [Brook Lopez(notes) of the New Jersey Nets]? His brother is really good, [but Robin] is hitting jumpers and left-hand layups and jab steps, free throws. I don’t know.” Said Bryant: “He’s a twin. His brother can play. He’s got to do something.”

Marc Spears is an NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter.
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Updated Monday, May 24, 2010