NBA Roundup: Kobe Out for Preseason, Bynum Still Recovering, Battle in LABy Debbie B.
As the NBA preseason is nearing its end, some veteran plays are taking it easy for the last few games while others are seeing their regular season debuts pushed back.
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant will miss his final two preseason games due to a sore right foot. His return is to be determined.
For the Philadelphia 76ers, the return of Andrew Bynum is delayed. So much for being ready for the Oct. 31 regular season opener.
And in the Battle of Los Angeles, the Clippers defeated the Lakers 97-91 on Wednesday.
Bryant Out for Last Preseason Game
With a right foot strain, veteran Bryant will miss the team’s final two preseason games. He was out for Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers and will be on the bench for Thursday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. The player will have his foot examined over the weekend and it could shed some light on when he’ll return to play.
The injury came on Sunday when he tripped over the foot of the Kings’ rookie Thomas Robinson during the third quarter.
From Bryant’s absence, the team’s starting five has played only one game together in the preseason. This includes Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace.
The Lakers’ regular season will open on Oct. 30 when they host the Dallas Mavericks.
With their 0-7 preseason record, this represents the worst one in the team’s history.
Is this a sign of the season to come for this team? There’s still some hope for Bryant. He has 12 to 1 odds to be the league’s MVP.
Bynum Won’t be Ready for Season Opener
Bryant’s former teammate, Bynum, is also struggling with an injury.
He was out for the majority of the preseason due to a bone bruise along with his recovery from a summer knee blood spinning treatment.
The player just can’t get back up to speed.
On Wednesday Bynum performed in a team drill, felt some discomfort and stopped practicing. The team has been taking a cautious approach but has rolled the dice with Bynum as their key player. He will supposedly not return to the court until he’s 100 percent ready.
The 76ers open their season on Oct. 31 against the Denver Nuggets and Bynum probably won’t be participating.
But no one will come out and say it, especially Bynum.
On Wednesday, Philly basketball reporter Tom Moore tweeted, “Bynum: ‘I’ll be out there as soon as possible.’ still a chance to play in opener, he says.”
Unfortunately for the 76ers, Bynum had a career-best year in 2011 with an average of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds; he made the All-Star team for the first time. Bynum was the league’s No. 3 rebounder, No. 20 in scoring and No. 6 in blocked shots per game.
Bynum enters the season with 15 to 1 odds to become the league’s rebounds per game leader.
Clippers (4-3) defeat Lakers (0-7) 97-91
Handing the Lakers their seventh consecutive loss, the Clippers’ Eric Bledsoe owned Wednesday’s game, just shy of grabbing a triple-double, with his 22 points, 11 assists with nine steals.
Bledsoe was also allowed to take the limelight as his teammate Chris Paul sat on the bench along with the Lakers’ Bryant and Dwight Howard, who was recovering from some soreness after Sunday’s game. He is expected to play in the Lakers’ final preseason game on Thursday.
Paul will also return to play in the Clippers’ last game against Denver on Thursday.
For the Lakers, Pau Gasol led the team in scoring with 17 points followed by rookie Robert Sacre and Metta World Peace at 13 points each. Jordan Hill contributed 12 while veteran Steve Nash added four points and seven assists.
Nash expressed frustration about the lack of wins. Not helping matters is the 20 turnovers committed by the Lakers on Wednesday. This led to 33 Clippers points.
Can the Lakers turn it around in the regular season and see another championship this year? The bettors have some hope, giving them +275.