The NBA: Bynum is Back

Andrew Bynum's first game of the season was
a veritable humdinger.

*All images are by the Associated Press.

Andrew Bynum was probably itching to play after missing 4 games due to a suspension, and it showed. Despite the persistent trade issues involving him, Pau Gasol and a certain Orlando center, Bynum was still able to produce monster numbers as the Lakers beat the Nuggets at home. Bynum and Gasol seemed to make a strong statement by combining for 46 points, 18 rebounds, 3 blocks while shooting 20-of-28 from the floor. In other games, Houston and Detroit got great games from some key players to hand maiden losses to Atlanta and Indiana respectively. Also, Tyson Chandler finally gave the Big Apple a glimpse of his potential with 22 points, 7 boards and 3 rejections, OKC withstood Durant’s first off-night against Phoenix, San Antonio continued to roll at the expense of the Jazz, and Monta Ellis’s absence continued to plague Golden State.

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

LAL over DEN, 92-89 – LA’s bigs make a statement: We can do without Dwight.
DET over IND, 96-88 – Pistons hand the Pacers their first loss thanks to Greg Monroe’s second-straight awesome game.
HOU over ATL, 95-84 – K-Mart’s 27 points, Hill’s double-double and Lowry’s 18 dimes help the Rockets hand the Hawks loss #1.
NYK over SAC, 114-92 – Tyson Chandler’s first great game shows how scary the Knicks can be.
OKC over PHX, 107-97 – Thunder go to 5-0 despite Durant’s first subpar shooting night.
SAS over UTA, 104-89 – The Spurs are gaining some momentum behind the strong play of Parker, Manu and DaJuan Blair. They also gave Pop his 800th win. Props to Pops.
PHI over GSW, 107-79 – Steph Curry is missing Monta Ellis really bad.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 29
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 27
Manu Ginobili (SAS), Carmelo Anthony (NYK) & Lou Williams (PHI) - 23

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Jordan Hill (HOU) – 15
Andrew Bynum (LAL) & Chuck Hayes (HOU) – 13
Jonas Jerebko (DET), Spencer Hawes (PHI) & Josh Harrelson (NYK) – 12

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Kyle Lowry (HOU) – 18
Kobe Bryant (LAL) – 9
Darren Collison (IND), Toney Douglas (NYK), James Harden (OKC), Tony Parker (SAS) & Ty Lawson (DEN) – 8  

Kyle Lowry's 18 assists is a personal-high and, so far,
a 2011-2012 season-high, too.

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Elton Brand (PHI) – 5
Marcin Gortat (PHX) – 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Timofey Mozgov (DEN) – 4
Tyson Chandler (NYK), Tiago Splitter (SAS) & Devin Harris (UTA) – 3

Timofey Mozgov was a solid presence down low
for the Nuggets.

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 6
Manu Ginobili (SAS) – 5
Lou Williams (PHI), Toney Douglas (NYK), Josh Harrelson (NYK) & Daequan Cook (OKC) – 4

Kevin Martin continued his torrid shooting as
Houston handed Atlanta its first loss.

Dec. 31, 2011 First Five
C – Andrew Bynum (LAL) – 29pts, 12rebs, 2blks, 1ast & 1stl
F – Tyson Chandler (NYK) – 22pts, 7rebs, 3blks & 1ast
F – Carmelo Anthony (NYK) – 23pts, 7rebs, 5asts & 1stl
G – Manu Ginobili (SAS) – 19pts, 11rebs, 5 triples, 4asts & 1blk
G – Kevin Martin (HOU) – 23pts, 6 triples, 4rebs & 2asts

If Tyson Chandler consistently plays like he did tonight against SAC,
then NYK might make a good case for the East's top seed.

Honorable Mention:
Greg Monroe (DET) – 19pts, 11rebs, 4asts & 1blk
Al Jefferson (UTA) – 21pts, 11rebs & 2blks
Jonas Jerebko (DET) – 20pts, 12rebs, 3 triples, 1ast & 1stl

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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