A lot of notable facts about the Lakers' opening night 114-106 win over the Phoenix Suns -- Kobe didn't play (how bad is that knee?), and Lamar Odom went off, putting up a career-high tying 34 points, pulling down 13 boards, and dishing out six assists.
But the real highlight was the play of second-year, 19 year-old center Andrew Bynum, who got his first start as a pro. I remember standing on the sideline of a practice a few weeks back, and spotting Bynum for the first time since last year. He's put on some serious, bounce-you-out-of-the-block muscle -- at least compared to the Gumby-like stick figure he was cutting as a rookie. It showed up in tonight's line: 18 points, nine boards, and five assists, and all against a Suns front-line that included Shawn Marion, Kurt Thomas, and Boris Diaw, none of whom are afraid to body up in the paint.
It's only one game, but if the Lakers could actually develop a real center this season: Look out.
A shout out to the Kamenetzky Bros., who run the Lakers blog for the Times. If you really want to get the inside scoop on the purple and gold, these guys should be your guys.