From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- While Kobe Bryant again sat out, Andrew Bynum cleaned up.Pulling down the first 30-rebound game in the NBA in more than two years, Bynum made Bryant's third missed game in a row an afterthought by the time the Los Angeles Lakers finished off the San Antonio Spurs 98-84 on Wednesday night.The 7-footer became the first player with 30 rebounds in a game since Minnesota's Kevin Love corralled 31 against the New York Knicks in 2010. Bynum also had 16 points while joining Love as the only two players in the last 12 years to hit the 30-rebound mark."It's great to have 30 boards, but my shots not working and I'm little upset about that," said Bynum, who was 7 of 20 from the field. "For me, I'll remember shooting poorly."That's not what anyone else will recall.Metta World Peace scored a second-high 26 points, and Pau Gasol added 21 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers improved to 2-1 without Bryant, who is still letting his sore left shin heal. Lakers coach Mike Brown said there is still no timetable for when the NBA's leading scorer might return, but added that Bryant isn't nagging him to play.Brown said Bryant, who is averaging 28.1 points, wants to be cautious and not exacerbate the injury that halted his streak of consecutive starts at 138 last week. And two nights after barely squeaking past lowly New Orleans, the Lakers played far livelier this time without their superstar.The previous single-game mark for rebounds in the NBA this season was 25, set twice by Orlando's Dwight Howard and Milwaukee's Ersan Ilyasova. Bynum had already matched that by the end of the third quarter."They had some air balls that fell right to me," Bynum said. "So I just had my hands ready."It was that kind of night for the Spurs, who've now followed an 11-game winning streak by losing two in a row for the first time since January. Falling in Utah on Monday night was hardly shocking: Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili didn't even make the trip that night in coach Gregg Popovich's pursuit to keep his stars fresh as possible for the playoffs.But the Big Three were back for the Lakers, and few saw this coming -- especially with Bryant sidelined in a suit.Parker and Ginobili might as well have taken another night off. Parker scored four on 2 of 12 shooting and Ginobili scored 9. Duncan had 14 points and just two rebounds.Danny Green led the Spurs with 22 points."They played great and beat us to death," Popovich said. "There's nothing else you can say about it."San Antonio trailed by as much as 26 and grabbed just one offensive rebound.Los Angeles has seven games left and are in third place in the West, 4 games behind the Spurs for second place. San Antonio remained just a game out of first despite the loss since Oklahoma City also lost Wednesday night.Bynum tapped missed shots to himself with ease over the undersized Spurs frontcourt, and nearly single-handedly outrebounded the entire Spurs lineup combined. San Antonio finished with 32 rebounds. It's the second time the Spurs have been beaten up on the boards: One of Howard's 25-rebound nights was also against San Antonio."He got a lot of position rebounds tonight," Duncan said. "He obviously is a big body and he had eight offensive rebounds, which really hurt us. All in all, we just did not play well."Bynum is the fifth Lakers player to grab 30 rebounds in a game, and the first since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978."One of the ways we can control the tempo is by trying to rebound," Brown said. "And Drew took it upon himself. Obviously, the 30 rebounds is amazing."NOTES:Spurs G Gary Neal (gastroenteritis) did not play. ... Ginobili surpassed 10,000 career points, joining Duncan, Parker, David Robinson and George Gervin as the only other players in Spurs history to reach the milestone.
BOSTON – Before Monday’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Avery Bradley talked about how hard it was going to be for both him and head coach Brad Stevens to accept his minutes restriction.
The 6-foot-2 guard, returning to the lineup after missing 18 straight games with a right Achilles injury, logged just under 15 minutes (14:58) on Monday while scoring six points on 2-for-4 shooting as well as tallying a game-high three steals.
“I wish I played a little bit more,” Bradley said following the game. “But it felt good to be out there.”
Stevens had similar thoughts on Bradley’s limited return.
“Both Avery and I, we were both like, maybe five more minutes or six more minutes,” Stevens said. “But the plan going in was to play him through that first half, hopefully two good stints, about 15 minutes, and then increase that piece by piece over the next few games.”
Despite the long layoff, Bradley looked very much like the Avery Bradley that was playing at a near All-Star level prior to the injury.
You figure even with the long lay-off, Bradley’s defense was going to be close to where it was earlier this season.
But the fact that he was able to quickly get into a nice shooting rhythm – he made his first shot attempt – was indeed a pleasant surprise to him.
“I’ve been able to just get shots up and I was a little nervous to see how it was going to translate in the game,” Bradley said. “But I felt comfortable out there. I just tried to focus on defense and I told myself if I focus on defense I’ll make shots on the offensive end.”
Prior to the injury, Bradley was averaging 17.7 points per game which was second on the team, along with a team-leading 6.9 rebounds per game.
With his minutes being limited for at least this first week, there’s no telling how long it will take for Bradley to start posting those numbers again.
But Monday was a great first step in the right direction for a player whose talents will be essential for the Celtics to have the kind of finish to the regular season that they want going into the playoffs.
While building up towards being at the top of his game is certainly a goal Bradley has for himself, patience, trusting the rehabilitation process while maxing out his production with a small window of playing time, are all keys to his recovery.
“I wish it was split up or something in the second half but it is what it is,” said Bradley, referring to his playing time being limited to 15 or so minutes now. “I just have to go out there, no matter how many minutes I get, and play as hard as I can. That has to be my mindset.”
BOSTON – You knew sooner or later, Isaiah Thomas’ impressive scoring streak of games with 20 or more points had to come to an end.
That time was Monday night as Thomas had 19 points in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
While the Hawks certainly played well defensively against Thomas and the rest of the Celtics, the 5-foot-9 guard is quick to acknowledge that the Hawks didn’t all of a sudden come up with a game plan that can shut him down.
“They didn’t do anything special,” said Thomas after missing 17 of his 21 shot attempts. “I just missed a lot of shots in the paint that I usually make. I got to where I wanted to, but that wasn’t just me it was our team. We missed a lot of shots that we usually make and you got to tip your hat off to the Atlanta Hawks.”
In doing so, Thomas’ franchise-record streak of consecutive games with 20 or more points now stands at 43.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens saw first-hand how his players – including Thomas – missed a lot of shots they usually make.
But limiting Boston offensively always starts with how you defend Thomas.
“They were really aggressive on him,” Stevens said. “They were really tough on him. They bodied him up, they were physical, they had a bunch of different guys on him at different times, they were very active off of the screens.”
And as far as his streak of games with at least 20 points, Thomas said he’s not disappointed that it has come to an end.
“I’ll break it again,” he said. “I’m not worried about it, I’ll break it.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game which ended with a 114-98 Celtics loss to Atlanta.
He was arguably the biggest difference-maker on the floor Monday night. In addition to doing an exceptional job defending Isaiah Thomas, he also led the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting with four rebounds and five assists.
His ejection aside, Howard’s presence around the rim at both ends of the floor caused major problems for Boston. He finished with a double-double of 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting along with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Hawks did about as good a job as we’ve seen any team at defending Thomas who still managed to lead the Celtics in scoring with 19 points on 4-for-21 shooting. For a minute there, he seemed to be flirting with a quadruple-double. In addition to his 19 points, he also had seven rebounds, seven assists and seven turnovers.
His play was one of the few positives for Boston. He came off the bench to score 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting to go with five rebounds.
Only Paul Millsap logged more minutes on Monday than Prince whose defense and rebounding were huge. He had a near double-double of eight points and 12 rebounds.
This could be a dud for Boston almost every game, but they were worse than usual on Monday night. Atlanta had a 55-40 advantage on the boards which contributed to them dominating points in the paint (60-34), second-chance points (20-11) and fast-break points (15-7) which was fueled by rebounds followed by quick outlet passes to players in transition.