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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 23, 2010

NBA: Lakers’ Bynum apparently wants Boston, too

By Lisa Dillman
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Just wondering if 2-0 is the new 3-0 in the NBA playoffs. ...

It used to be that a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series meant merely holding serve, if a team like, say, the Los Angeles Lakers opened at home. Now 2-0 seems to be treated like a stranglehold, a near-lock on a spot in the next round.

But enough about the media.

L.A. fans on Wednesday fast-forwarded to a meeting in the Finals with a certain green-and-white-clad nemesis, chanting "We Want Boston!" near the end of Game 2 at Staples Center against the Phoenix Suns.

Boston moved one step closer Saturday night, beating Orlando, 94-71, to take a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

And, a few hours earlier, Lakers center Andrew Bynum edged forward, although, in fairness, he was asked about the possibility of facing the Celtics, not volunteering to speculate.

"It's going to be amazing playing against those guys again," Bynum said after practice at the team's training facility in nearby El Segundo. "Because we lost (in 2008), we're going to have a lot of fuel and a lot of ammo. They're definitely a great team. They have great veterans on their squad. ... The first step is closing out Game 3, and then after that, we'll be focusing."

Actually, Game 4 would still be required.

But you have to like Bynum's unvarnished look at it all. The other day, his coach, Phil Jackson, said he was "disappointed" to hear the Boston chants.

Then there was Pau Gasol's measured approach with the Lakers up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals. Game 3 is Sunday in Phoenix.

"I really didn't even listen to it," Gasol said of the chants. "I didn't hear, really. I understand the fans are excited about that, the possibility. But we ... as a team, have to be focused on Game 3, to start with, and we can't really look past that. Otherwise we're making a mistake.

"We understand the excitement, but we've got to take care of business first."

The Lakers have run off eight straight wins in the playoffs, starting with the final two games of the Oklahoma City series, despite injuries that have largely prevented the likes of Kobe Bryant and Bynum from practicing, again the case on Saturday.

Bynum said he just did some "lifting." But his personal status is secondary.

"It's not about me," Bynum said. "It's about the team right now. If the Lakers win championships, Andrew Bynum is going to be OK. If the Lakers lose championships, then that's when things are going to be messed up."



Speaking of lifting, Gasol had some amusing observations on life in the weight room. The increased time with the weights has had noticeable benefits on the court.

"I feel better strength," he said. "I hold my ground a lot better than I used to. Some days you've got to do what you've got to do."

Still, this hardly means he likes it.

"It's not something I really enjoy or have a lot of fun with but if it helps me to do my job at a higher level, it's good," Gasol said.

"I'm not going to be a meathead — ever. I'll take care of myself but I won't kill myself in the weight room and enjoy it that much."

Not like a certain teammate.

"DJ (Mbenga) enjoys it — he likes to look at himself in the mirror," Gasol said, laughing.