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Bynum sure of playing

Knee won’t keep him off the court

By Robert Mays
Globe Correspondent / June 10, 2010

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A day after saying he was “questionable’’ for Game 4 of the Finals, Lakers center Andrew Bynum asserted yesterday that he felt confident his knee would be healthy enough for him to play.

Bynum’s slightly torn meniscus has been a concern throughout the playoffs. His decision to have the knee drained prior to this series allowed Bynum to play more minutes and be less inhibited in Games 1 and 2, but a cross-country flight and a tweak of the joint in the second half of Game 3 led to doubts about his availability for tonight.

“It was real swollen right after the game, but it’s come back down to normal,’’ Bynum said. “I think that happened at the end of the third quarter, but by the fourth it was better. I’m going to play.’’

Bynum has a history of knee problems, and he has gotten used to playing with pain and its limitations.

“It hurts when I do certain movements, like quick-twitch stuff or running really hard and stopping,’’ Bynum said. “It’s just something I have to deal with.’’

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said that he while he was optimistic about Bynum playing, how the knee reacts to the day of rest will be critical.

“He’ll go through the process he goes through, which tries to take some of the swelling down and alleviate some of the discomfort, and then he’ll have some recovery time between now and then, 36 hours or whatever it is,’’ Jackson said.

Bynum’s teammates have taken notice of his willingness to play injured, and Pau Gasol said he has come to appreciate the toughness that Bynum has displayed.

“I’m very impressed,’’ Gasol said. “I’m very proud of him. It’s been remarkable, his effort and his will to be out there with the team.’’

Glad he stayed
After two below-average games and plenty of foul trouble, Lamar Odom had his best performance in Game 3 with 12 points and 5 rebounds. He was a valuable sixth man all season and a decisive factor in the Western Conference finals against Phoenix, but there were times in the offseason when he wasn’t certain about his future with the organization.

Odom consulted members of his family in New York and others before deciding that another chance for a title in LA was the best situation available.

“When I thought about it, I couldn’t leave after just winning the championship, after having the opportunity to do it again with these guys,’’ Odom said. “It was something I just couldn’t do.

“It’s part of the business that you think about your family and where you want to raise your kids, and I just realized that LA was the place I wanted to be.’’

Heartbreak hotel
Coming back to Boston brings up some less-than-pleasant memories for several Lakers. Bynum said that while going to Amway Arena in Orlando — where the Lakers clinched the championship last season — led to a feeling of satisfaction, walking into TD Garden has a sobering effect.

“When we got to Orlando, we still smelled the champagne,’’ Bynum said. “When we go in there, we just feel comfortable. In this locker room, it’s like a drain almost coming in before the game, because it was just tears.’’

Gasol said the feeling at the team hotel is similar.

“To me, every time I stay in that hotel, it reminds me of the last night I slept there after Game 6 [in 2008] and how bad I felt and how long of a night it was for us,’’ Gasol said.

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