That's Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers providing late help defense, declining to make a play on the ball and body-checking Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley to the floor. Bynum earned a flagrant-2 for the offense, and Beasley earned a trip to the trainer as he injured his hip when hitting the hardwood. Despite the sensible results, both teams' coaches took issue with the ejection.
Wait ... both teams' coaches?
The Lakers' Phil Jackson obviously defended his player, saying that Bynum "didn't do it in a way that was malicious." But Wolves coach Kurt Rambis -- a longtime Lakers assistant who coached Bynum as a very young player -- joined the defense.
"I know Andrew, he wasn't going up to do anyting malicious," Rambis said. "He was just going to protect the basket. So I think he was making a good basketball play out of it. Those [flagrant fouls] are judgment calls by the referees. Unfortunately, Michael got hurt on it."
I know Stan Van Gundy drives everyone nuts by defending Dwight Howard on foul calls and technicals and everything. But isn't that what you want from a coach, someone to defend his players? Of course, Rambis is defending his players; in this case, his player happens to play for the other team. His loyalty remains with the Lakers, which is really too bad for these Wolves and their fans. That Rambis feels the need to defend an opponent who maimed one of his current team's best players -- bad intentions or not; I will ask you to check out where Bynum's elbow is, though -- is outrageous, frankly. Maybe it's just simple honesty and continued nostalgia for the fists-and-fights game Rambis played in the '80s. But it looks awful.
What's more concerning is that no one in power seems willing to address Bynum's penchant for lazy reaction plays that hurt other players. I think we all remember the Gerald Wallace saga, in which Bynum cut off a taking-flight Wallace in the lane with his hip, and Crash ended up in the hospital. To hell with intentions: Bynum's lazy reactions get opponents seriously injured, and need to be addressed. Kudos to the refs for booting him. Shame on the coaches on both sides for defending him.