After the Los Angeles Lakers held the Denver Nuggets 16 points under their season scoring average of 104 points per game in Game 1 of their seven game series and Andrew Bynum had one of the best defensive playoff performances of all time, Nuggets head coach George Karl says it was all because Bynum cheated.
Karl says Bynum played an illegal zone defense on “about 30 possessions” in Game 1, which helped him get 10 blocks as part of his triple-double. Bynum didn’t exactly deny the accusations, he just admitted that he may have found a loophole in the NBA’s defensive 3-second rule.
“If people cut through the lane, you can touch them and you can stand there the whole time,” a smiling Bynum said when told of Karl’s accusation after the Lakers’ practice Monday. “That’s part of the game.”
I’m sure George Karl knows the rule and while he may think what Bynum does is cheating, he may have just been posturing hoping that he might get in the minds of the refs and get a few more defensive 3-seconds calls. Or just that Bynum would do more to avoid those calls and get out of the lane. There weren’t any defensive 3-second technicals handed out in Game 2, but Bynum also only had two blocks. Actually, JaVale McGee had six blocks so maybe Karl taught him how to use Bynum’s trick.
The Nuggets scored 100 points in the second game of the series, 12 more than the first, and only lost by 4. They were able to give the Lakers a much more competitive game this time around and may be closing the gap. Like they say, you’re not out of the series until you lose a game at home, so if the Nuggets can play well in games 3 and 4 and maybe if Karl’s strategy of getting in the ears of the refs pays off, we could be looking at a longer series.