But, there’s still doubters – on both sides – whether the Lakers should’ve made this move. The general consensus seems to be that people agree that the Howard move was a good one for the Lakers. Although, there are some who felt Bynum had more to give and is closer to Howard’s level than everyone thinks.
While Bynum was dominant last year and was an All-Star, let’s not forget that the league is fairly thin when it comes to dominant centers, so the match-ups between these two are extra interesting.
So, I went to the archives to check out the head-to-head stats between the two, starting from the 2007-08 season, as this is when Bynum started to emerge as a good-to-great player and was getting minutes.
December 2, 2007 – Magic @ Lakers (Lakers lost 104-97)
Howard played 36 minutes, but took just 11 shots. He ended with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks and 4 fouls.
Bynum got just 28 minutes on the floor and took 9 shots. He ended with 10 points, 6 rebounds and an impressive 7 blocks. He also had 3 fouls.
WINNER: Bynum. It’s close who played better here, but Bynum’s 7 blocks in 28 minutes were impressive.
Bynum missed the next game due to injury, but the Lakers won in Orlando thanks to the new addition of Pau Gasol.
December 20, 2008 – Lakers @ Magic (Lakers won 117-113)
Howard had 19 points on 8-for-8 shooting. He also had 11 rebounds, but was on the court for just 29 minutes due to foul trouble and ended the game with 5 fouls.
Bynum was also in foul trouble – picking up 5 of his own – but he let the foul trouble get to him and had a terrible game. This seemed to be a recurring problem with Andrew, especially when playing against Dwight.
Andrew finished with just 3 points and 1 rebound in 12 minutes. 5 fouls in 12 minutes.
WINNER: Howard. By far.
January 16, 2009 – Magic @ Lakers (Lakers lost 109-103)
Howard was phenomenal in this game, aside from his 6 turnovers, that is. He played 40 minutes and posted 25 points, 20 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal as the Magic got revenge on the Lakers and beat them on their own floor.
Bynum managed to stay on the floor this game as he played 33 minutes, but he still picked up 4 fouls. He put in 14 points and got 2 blocks but only grabbed 3 rebounds. Kobe did have 13 boards though, en route to a triple double.
WINNER: Howard, again, by far. His 20-20 game was huge.
2009 NBA Finals
The Lakers obviously met the Magic in the Finals. This meant Bynum and Howard matched up 5 more times. Here’s the results:
Game 1 (Lakers won 100-75)
Dwight took only 6 shots – and made just 1 – but went to the line 16 times and made 10 of those shots at the stripe. He finished with 12 points, 15 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks in 35 minutes.
Bynum played only 22 minutes but had 9 points and 9 rebounds.
WINNER: Kind of close seeing as Bynum played just 22 minutes, but he did have 4 fouls, which held him back. Dwight posted solid numbers in each category. Got to give Game 1 to Howard.
Game 2 (Lakers won 101-96 in overtime)
A solid game for Howard again, aside from the 7 turnovers. He had 17 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 4 blocks in 47 minutes.
Bynum couldn’t defend Dwight – again – as he picked up 5 fouls and played just 16 minutes. He posted only 5 points and grabbed 1 rebound, though he did have 2 blocks.
WINNER: Dwight. His stat-sheet-stuffing nearly helped the Magic even up the series heading back to Orlando.
Game 3 (Lakers lost 108-104)
Bynum stayed out of foul trouble this game but saw just 23 minutes of court time. He had 4 points, 4 rebounds and a turnover.
Dwight had another solid game: 21 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. He shot the ball just 6 times, but made 5 of those 6 shots and was an impressive 11-for-16 from the line. He also put in 43 minutes as the Magic got their first – and only – win of the series.
Game 4 (Lakers won 99-91 in overtime)
The foul trouble returned for Bynum in this game – he picked up 5 fouls in just 16 minutes and posted only 6 points and 2 rebounds.
With Dwight battling with the Lakers – and the game going to overtime, again – he scored 16 points but grabbed 21 rebounds and just missed out on a triple-double by rejecting 9 shots. He also had 2 assists – but 7 turnovers to go along with those dishes.
Game 5 (Lakers won 99-86)
In a close out game for the Lakers, Dwight had a quieter game, but still put up 11 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. He picked up 5 fouls but still managed to play 39 minutes.
Bynum was also once again in foul trouble, picking up 5 fouls of his own in just 17 minutes. He shot the ball 11 times in those 17 minutes and made just 3 shots en route to 6 points and 5 rebounds.
January 18, 2010 – Magic @ Lakers (Lakers won 98-92)
Bynum had to wait a while to get another shot at Dwight – about 7 months, to be exact. When they finally matched up again, he got just 22 minutes on the floor – but not due to foul trouble this time – and put up 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Howard on the other hand played 43 minutes, shot 10-for-14 from the field (and 4-for-6 from the line) en route to 24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists as the Magic lost a close one.
March 7, 2010 – Lakers @ Magic (Lakers lost 96-94)
The Magic split the season series back in Orlando as Bynum’s foul trouble found him – again. He had 5 fouls in just 20 minutes of play and put up 5 points and 6 rebounds. He did have 4 blocks, though.
Howard had 5 fouls of his own, but managed to stay on the floor for 32 minutes and scored 15 points, grabbed 16 boards, blocked 2 shots and dished out 2 assists.
February 13, 2011 – Lakers @ Magic (Lakers lost 89-75)
Bynum had his best game in a while versus the Magic: he scored 17 points in 30 minutes and also grabbed 9 rebounds. He only picked up one foul, too.
Dwight responded with a big game of his own, though: he had 31 points in 39 minutes on 13-for-16 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. He also shot 5-for-6 from the line. He had 6 turnovers, but also blocked 3 shots and dished out 3 assists in the win.
WINNER: despite Bynum’s solid game, Howard was phenomenal and was a huge reason the Magic won.
March 14, 2011 – Magic @ Lakers (Lakers won 97-84)
Dwight nearly had a triple-double the bad way in this game: he had 9 turnovers. But he also put up 22 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and blocked 2 shots.
Bynum had some foul trouble again, picking up 4 and played just 28 minutes. He scored just 10 points but did grab 18 rebounds and block 4 shots.
WINNER: I think this round goes to Bynum; his 18 boards and 4 blocks in 28 minutes is impressive – plus, Howard had 9 turnovers.
January 20, 2012 – Lakers @ Magic (Lakers lost 92-80)
In their final match-up as Laker-Magic rivals, Howard would outshine Bynum greatly.
Bynum once again struggled to contain Dwight and picked up 5 fouls, meaning he played just 26 minutes and scored 10 points. He did have 12 rebounds and 2 blocks, though.
Howard, on the other hand, was very impressive. He had another 20-20 game: 21 points and 23 rebounds in 45 minutes.
WINNER: Howard. By far.
The head-to-head match-up stats show that Dwight came out on top in 11 of their 13 meetings since 2007 – according to me, anyway.
The trend seems to be that Bynum can’t defend Dwight consistently without picking up fouls. It also seems that if Howard does have a game where he picks up a number of fouls, he can still play and stay on the court without fouling out, which means he can still make a difference out there instead of sitting on the pine.
Finally, here’s the averages for each player from those 13 games:
Andrew Bynum: 8.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg.
Dwight Howard: 19.3 ppg and 14.9 rpg.
Dwight is killing Bynum in the head-to-head match-ups so far. Can Bynum respond? It’s going to be fun when they match-up this year!