Lakers Without Bynum for Blazers, Suns

In coming two games against the smallish Portland Trail Blazers (Sunday) and Phoenix Suns (Tuesday), L.A.’s biggest player will not be on the court.

Center Andrew Bynum was suspended for two games for committing a flagrant two foul against Minnesota’s Michael Beasley halfway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against the Wolves. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak fielded the call from the NBA, and relayed the suspension to Bynum and Phil Jackson.

“I thought two games was excessive, but who knows,” said Jackson after the team’s Sunday shootaround.

The Lakers, of course, have a lot of experience playing with Pau Gasol at the five and Lamar Odom at the four, positions Jackson said they’ll be comfortable playing in Bynum’s absence. Odom will spend some time on the perimeter as well.

Assistant coach Chuck Person said the Lakers will likely have Ron Artest guard Portland’s Gerald Wallace, whom the Blazers have been starting at power forward in a small line up of late, with LaMarcus Aldridge playing in the post. Portland thus brings center Marcus Camby off the bench, who may have started were Bynum in the line up for Los Angeles. Bynum was quiet in his lone game against Portland on Feb. 23, scoring six points with four boards, though his defensive presence was key in deterring action around the rim.

Phoenix starts shooting big man Channing Frye and the four and Robin Lopez at the five, though backup Marcin Gortat gets the majority of minutes inside. Bynum appeared in only one of L.A.’s three games against Phoenix this season, scoring 14 points with seven boards in a Jan. 5 road victory, and was out (knee) during a home loss in November and road win in October.

Could having a few days without games at least help Bynum rest his usually sore knees?

“We’ll put a spin on it that it’s a positive for us,” concluded Jackson.