Bynum or no, Jackson thinks Lakers can win Game 5

Associated Press Modified: June 12, 2010 at 2:16 am •  Published: June 12, 2010
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BOSTON (AP) — Andrew Bynum watched "Big Baby" and Boston batter his Lakers, believing all along he could have made a difference.

So even with a sore right knee that became impossible to play on in Game 4, Bynum wants to be on the floor Sunday night for the most important game of the season.

Phil Jackson plans to let him — on one condition.

"We'll use him if he's available and able, but we're certainly not going to put him in a situation that's either going to hurt himself or the team," Jackson said Friday.

Jackson said he doesn't have "any expectations" for his injured center, but thinks the Lakers can win even without him.

"We're going to try and establish the fact that we're going back to L.A. with a 3-2 lead," Jackson said. "We believe we can do it. We felt we let one get away last night."

More like the rougher and tougher Celtics took it.

With Bynum limited to only 12 minutes and on the bench for nearly the entire second half, Boston pounded Los Angeles inside in a 96-89 victory that evened the series at two games apiece.

The Celtics had a 54-34 advantage in points in the paint, with Glen Davis and Boston's bigs finding room in the areas that Bynum often controls.

"They miss him," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I mean, he has great size and length, and we attacked the paint yesterday, and Andrew wasn't there. So I mean, obviously when he's not on the floor, there's a big difference."

Neither team practiced Friday, the first of two days off before Game 5. The break comes at a good time for the Lakers, with Jackson saying he thought Kobe Bryant looked tired late in Thursday's game.

Jackson hadn't spoken to Bynum, who planned to see a doctor and get treatment. He has a torn meniscus and recently had fluid drained from the knee, but the swelling has returned. He said Thursday having it drained again could be another option.

He was optimistic he can play Sunday and will get a chance, if he won't be a liability.

"If he can't get back in defense transition-wise, and that's one of the things they're trying to attack with our first unit obviously, when Andrew is out there is try and run, then obviously he's going to hurt the team," Jackson said.

The Lakers may not have any better options. Sixth man Lamar Odom gets the bulk of the minutes in Bynum's absence, but he's been largely ineffective in the series and at 230 pounds, he weighs about 55 less than the 7-foot Bynum and is more easily shoved around by the Celtics.

That's what happened in the 2008 finals, and it was repeated Thursday.

"Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this matchup, and he has to break through kind of that mental gap that he had from that experience to move forward," Jackson said.

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