Andrew Bynum's presence in the Pacers playing rotation, and most notably the immediate impact he made in the first half, was the story that had people buzzing while leaving the Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
Bynum played a couple of eight minute stretches in each half, sending the Fieldhouse into a frenzy during his first stretch with four quick points and eight rebounds as the Pacers extended their first half lead. It was far from the numbers that were impressive. The ability to catch a post pass in traffic, turn and dunk the ball is something new around BLF.
Bynum is enormous and to see such strong hands grabbing the ball in traffic, whether in the post or gobbling up rebounds, gives the Pacers a presence on the court they will certainly enjoy when Bynum can give them minutes.
Bynum was +7 in the first half and -10 in the second. Roy Hibbert finished the game +14 and the starters closed out the win with Lance Stephenson making plays and David West capping off an efficient 24-point night with the final six points for the Pacers.
But the story was Bynum and the glimpse of what he can bring in these short bursts of playing time, if he can show up consistently. Bynum's ability to play consistently is left up to his knees which he admitted after the game are always day-to-day.
"Today it didn't bother me because of adrenaline and I had two months off, so it's going to feel good," he said of his right knee. "The key is how it responds and how we can keep inflammation out. If we have inflammation, that starts the whole (troublesome) process. Right now we don't have any."
Bynum seems comfortable minimizing expectations and not making future promises. This sets the bar low and allows the big man to overdeliver when he's able to play. Just like he did on Tuesday.
The Pacers have two days off before playing in Philly on Friday and Detroit on Saturday. Doing some work in practice on Wednesday would be a great sign, as would being available for back-to-back games. Although, the Pacers may want to skip those back-to-backs with Bynum with an eye toward keeping that pesky inflammation from slowing him down.
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