EDITOR'S NOTE: Head's up, BDL readers: The video clip below contains a swear word for manure. Don't say we didn't warn you.
Playing without Kobe Bryant for the third straight game as the All-Star shooting guard rests an injured shin, the Los Angeles Lakers needed strong performances from the rest of their roster to score a road victory on Wednesday night against a 40-15 San Antonio Spurs team that had rested stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili in a Tuesday night loss to the Utah Jazz. Mike Brown's team got that balanced, quality effort, with Metta World Peace popping for a season-high 26 points, Pau Gasol chipping in a 21-and-11 double-double, and the point-guard tandem of Ramon Sessions and Steve Blake combining for 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds in L.A.'s 98-84 win.
The biggest contribution, though, came from Andrew Bynum. L.A.'s often immature and often unstoppable 24-year-old center dominated the middle on Wednesday, grabbing an NBA season-high 30 rebounds — eight offensive, 22 defensive — in the win. San Antonio had 33 as a team.
Back in the locker room after the Lakers' big road win, though, Bynum downplayed his triumph on the glass, choosing instead to emphasize the offensive travails that led him to score 16 points on just 7-of-20 shooting: ''It's great to have 30 boards, but my shot's not working and I'm little upset about that [...] For me, I'll remember shooting poorly.''
Bynum was a bit more blunt, and foul-mouthed, about his struggles when KCAL-TV's Mike Trudell approached the center on the court following the final buzzer:
Ah, the unyielding perils of live television. Just a step slow on the ol' dump-button draw there, friends. Better luck next time.
Bynum might not want to talk about his rebounding performance, but we do. Hit the jump for more on the Laker big man's big night on the boards.
Bynum's night far outshined the league's best rebounding mark of the season before Wednesday. That belonged to Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks, who grabbed 25 boards in a February win over the New Jersey Nets. Bynum's own previous career high came just over a year ago, when he posted 23 rebounds against the Utah Jazz. He's had 20 or more boards twice this season, against the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers. It was the NBA's first 30-board game since the early days of last season, when Kevin Love hung 31 points and 31 boards on the New York Knicks. (Bynum got his 30 in four fewer minutes of floor time than Love, but he's also at least three inches taller than Love, so, y'know, things even out.)
Bynum becomes one of just nine players in the past 27 seasons to post a 30-rebound game, according to Basketball-Reference.com's handy Game Finder tool. He joins one-timers Love, Charles Barkley, Michael Cage, Dikembe Mutombo, Charles Oakley and Rony Seikaly, two-timer Kevin Willis and, of course, the immortal Dennis Rodman, who grabbed 30 or more misses five times in his career. He's the fifth player in franchise history to turn the trick, joining George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the last Laker to do it, in 1978.
He had 11 rebounds in the first quarter and 19 by halftime, setting a record for first-half boards by a Spurs opponent, according to the game notes posted on NBA.com. That Bynum had such a big night on the defensive glass — 22 boards on that end, grabbing 63.4 percent of available San Antonio misses while he was on the floor, according to Hoopdata's advanced box score — was due, in part, to his opposition.
The Spurs aren't a great offensive rebounding team, ranking 28th in the NBA in total offensive rebounds and 24th in offensive rebounding rate this year, and they've generally been a middle-of-the-pack or worse squad in that facet of the game over the course of the past few years. Part of that is by design, as the Spurs would rather hustle back on defense to prevent leakouts, limit fast-break opportunities and set their half-court defense. The result remains extreme — the Spurs grabbed just one offensive board on Wednesday, and it came from point guard Parker in the third quarter — but the process is, on some level, understandable.
That doesn't account for the offensive boards, though, and Bynum was beastly there, too. The Spurs are an excellent defensive rebounding team, leading the league in defensive rebounding rate, scooping up nearly 77 percent of available opponents' misses on the season. The Lakers as a team outperformed the Spurs' average opponent by about 10 percent on Wednesday night, corralling one-third of available offensive boards, with Bynum himself getting 21.6 percent of his teammates' misses while he was on the court. Only Bynum and Dwight Howard have grabbed at least eight offensive rebounds this season. And all those possessions matter against a team as good as the Spurs; the Lakers won by 14 and outscored San Antonio 13-2 in second-chance points.
All told, Bynum grabbed nearly 42 percent of all available rebounds when he was on the floor, a ludicrous number when you consider that the very best, most dominant rebounders in the game — your Howards, your Loves, your DeMarcus Cousinses, et al. — clear about 19 percent or 20 percent of available boards, on average. (Bynum himself is averaging 19.3 percent for the season.) It was a remarkable effort, one that outshines even dumb stuff like trying to steal the ball from a teammate to shoot another 3-pointer. It's something worth talking about, no matter how Bynum was shooting or what words he used to describe it.
Video via ImadoggyDogg.