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Bynum can feel the pain

He sympathizes with fallen Celtic

By Monique Walker
Globe Staff / June 17, 2010

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LOS ANGELES — Lakers center Andrew Bynum understands the frustration of Celtics center Kendrick Perkins. Game 7 of the NBA Finals is tonight, and Perkins will not be able to play after tearing two ligaments in his right knee in Game 6, while Bynum is planning to drag his own ailing right knee through one more game.

Perkins is sidelined because he tore the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in the knee trying to grab a rebound in the first quarter. In 2008, Bynum could do nothing but sit and watch as an injury kept him out of the Finals against Boston, a series Los Angeles lost in six games.

At times, Bynum has been more of a spectator than a participant in this series, but he sounded certain yesterday that his knee can survive one more game.

“For sure, definitely,’’ he said. “I’m going to try to stay out there as long as I can and go through as much pain protection as I can.’’

Bynum asked to be taken out of Game 6 in the third quarter because of pain and swelling in his knee. He played 1:42 in the third and sat out the rest of the half, playing a total of 15:53 for the game.

Bynum put up his strongest performance of the series in Game 2 — scoring 21 points, blocking 7 shots, and grabbing 6 rebounds in 39 minutes. But the effort came in a 103-94 loss. Since then, Bynum’s playing time and production have been limited. He played 32 minutes in Game 5 but had just 6 points and 1 rebound in the loss.

After Game 6, Bynum wished Perkins the best. He was part of the play, getting tangled up with Perkins when the injury occurred.

“It’s unfortunate what happened to him,’’ said Bynum. “I know where he’s at, so I wish him the best, and I hope he’ll be able to play.’’

The Celtics have options to compensate for Perkins’s loss.

“You know, it’s funny, I was sitting on the bench, and they got Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett on the court at the same time, and those guys have had great careers,’’ Lakers forward Lamar Odom said. “Glen Davis is a fighter, as well.’’

When Bynum is out, Odom tends to get the vast amount of playing time. After averaging a double-double against Phoenix in the Western Conference finals, Odom is averaging 8.3 points and 5 rebounds a game in the Finals.

“We expect a tough game,’’ said Odom.

Soccer shocker
Before Pau Gasol started his preparation for Game 7 yesterday, he tuned in to check on the score of the Switzerland-Spain World Cup match. He was shocked by Spain’s 1-0 loss, an upset for his native country’s team. “Yeah, tough loss,’’ Gasol said. “Not the way that we expected our team to start a championship, of course, and it puts them in a position where they have to win probably [the] two games they have left against Honduras and Chile.’’ . . . Kobe Bryant doesn’t like to get caught up in history. He hasn’t expanded much on his thoughts about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry through the years. And he isn’t changing his approach now that the teams are going to play a Game 7 for the NBA title. “It’s got nothing to do with me,’’ Bryant said. “I look back, years from now or even when I was a kid, you talk about being in this situation, I’d be really excited. But when I’m in the moment right now, I’ve got to play. I’ve got to focus on that. I can’t focus on the hype about it.’’

Monique Walker can be reached at mwalker@globe.com.

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