George Karl: Andrew Bynum ‘Was Playing Nice Illegal Defense’

Andrew Bynum’s 10 blocks (on his way to a triple double) against the Nuggets in Game 1 were greatly aided by the illegal defense the Lakers’ big man supposedly played, and the refs’ willful ignorance of this repeated violation. Or so claims George Karl. From ESPN: “(Bynum) was playing nice illegal defense,’ Karl said in his postgame press conference after the Lakers won Game 1 of their first round series against the Nuggets 103-88 on Sunday. ‘He zoned up good. I think we got one illegal defense (called against the Lakers). I saw about 30.’ Bynum was called for a defensive three-second violation, or illegal defense, with 6:20 remaining in the third quarter with the Lakers up 64-47. According to the NBA rule book, a defensive player cannot spend more than three seconds in the lane while not actively guarding an opponent. ‘Actively guarding’ means the defender is within arm’s length of an opponent and in a guarding position. Karl said he repeatedly pointed out the violation to the referees throughout the game when he felt like the Lakers were practicing illegal defense, but didn’t expect it to get the whistle. ‘It just isn’t going to be called,’ Karl said. ‘We know it’s not going to be called. It’s just not a thing that’s called. We play too fast sometimes and we don’t let the call happen and then other times, the action creates the vision of the referees. (Bynum) was sensational defensively. Pau Gasol was good out front and they did a great job protecting the basket.’ […] When informed of Karl’s illegal defense comments, Bryant smiled and said, ‘Of course he did.’ Karl ultimately admitted that the Nuggets wouldn’t have won the game even with more illegal defense calls in their favor.”