Even though the Miami Heat had more pressing matters closer to home to attend to, you kept waiting for the Tweet anyway. “Karma is a [bleep]” it would read, and it would be yet another contribution from @KingJames, spinning off his blast at former Cleveland Cavaliers pals from their 112-57 loss to the Lakers in January.
This time, it seemed that the San Antonio Spurs were in order for a little trash-Tweeting. Less than 48 hours after the Spurs had pummeled LeBron James’ Heat squad 36-12 in the first quarter of their game Friday in San Antonio, they themselves were the pummelees, 34-13, at the hands of the Lakers Sunday. Both times, blowouts ensued.
Yet such an ill-advised collection of 140 characters never came. Instead, what had been considered the Western Conference’s best team got dissed by the league’s two-time defending champions. And then tweaked — if not Tweeted — by L.A. big man Andrew Bynum. We’ll let our man T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times take it from here:
In a town noted for having no quit, Andrew Bynum added yet more embarrassing commentary on San Antonio’s collapse.
He said the Spurs’ “starters definitely quit.”
They were certainly no match for the Lakers’ size. Bynum and those in attendance (Jerry Buss, Jim Buss, Magic Johnson and George Lopez) were probably too much for these quitters.
The Spurs’ starters combined to score 29 points, and although Bynum scored only four — a dunk to start the first half and another to start the second half — he took only two shots.
It was his energy, his 17 rebounds for a second consecutive game and three blocked shots that seemed to take the zip right out of the Spurs, who had won 22 straight at home.
The Spurs could counter only with Tim Duncan — who appears ready to make the transition to church league basketball — and a short, fat guy in DeJuan Blair, whose head stands as tall as Bynum’s belly button.
If that wasn’t karmic, coming on the heels of Duncan’s sideline gloat of “Game over” Friday, nothing was. Still, it was the harm inflicted by Bynum on the court Sunday — those 17 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end, and a defensive presence that often made life insider miserable for the Spurs — that mattered more.
Forget the immediate sting, even. This was a reminder of what might have not been, as columnist Buck Harvey wrote in the San Antonio Express-News. If certain Lakers fans – and the Spurs – had gotten their way, Bynum would have been with Denver Sunday, replaced in trade by Carmelo Anthony in a deal rather pivotal for something that never happened. Harvey wrote:
Why not swap a gimpy center for a scorer who could someday replace Bryant as the franchise centerpiece? Over 75 percent of fans voted in favor of the trade in a poll on ESPN.com’s Los Angeles site, and an LATimes.com poll had similar results.
The Spurs would have voted for the trade, too. They always saw Anthony as beatable, as well as someone who would take the ball out of Bryant’s hands. Besides, the Heat game suggests the Spurs can handle multiple wing scorers.
But 7-footers? Just seconds into their first loss at home since November, the Spurs saw the impact. Then, Fisher missed, and Bynum grabbed the rebound and dunked.
Bynum went on to get 17 rebounds in only 27 minutes…
The 7-footer, who missed the first 24 games recovering from knee surgery, scored just four points Sunday – but that didn’t matter. As he did against Atlanta (five points, 15 rebounds) two weeks ago and as he did against Charlotte (nine points, 17 boards) Friday, Bynum focused on one end of the floor. And that was enough.
“He bothered a lot of people in the lane,” Duncan said, “and just his size was definitely the difference.”
On a day when the Heat came up small and the Boston Celtics still are learning how to fold Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic into a frontline that formerly featured Kendrick Perkins, the Lakers’ decision to stay tall looks smarter than ever.