Bynum scored a turnaround hook shot with 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter to draw the Lakers within one at 84-83 and had something to say to the Houston bench as he ran back up the floor, earning him his second technical foul of the game and an automatic ejection. Bynum was first T'd up in the third quarter after getting tangled up with the Rockets' Samuel Dalembert.
Bynum exited the game with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 31 minutes. The Rockets built a seven-point lead in Bynum's absence and went on to win by five. It was eerily similar to the last time the Lakers played the Rockets, in Houston last month, when Bynum was ejected late in the third quarter for picking up his second T and the Lakers went on to lose 107-104.
"I'm disappointed because we told him, 'You got one technical; don't pick up your second,' and he acknowledged us, and he went out and picked up his second when I thought he could have helped us win the ballgame," Lakers coach Mike Brown said.
Bynum did not speak to reporters after the game.
"He acknowledged us, and it happened anyway," Brown said. "When you have that, that is concerning. ... Call it whatever you want to call it. It's not right."
Brown said he did not speak with Bynum after the game but added, "We'll handle it internally. ... We'll address it. There's not much you can tell him. I think he knows now."
Bynum's teammates generally had their big man's back, with Kobe Bryant saying it wasn't "that big of a deal" and that it is "something that he has to be aware of."
"The key for him, and we'll probably talk to him, the key is to find the balance," Bryant said. "You don't want him to lose that edge or lose the rage that he's playing with, but you want him to find a good balance with it so it doesn't take him over the top."
Added Bryant: "He was talking to the bench and just kind of reacting to the moment."
Lakers co-captain Pau Gasol suggested a sit-down with Bynum might not be necessary and said the 24-year-old should be able to grow from the ejection on his own.
"We talk to anybody that we believe might have an issue. And obviously, you also have to let Andrew be himself," Gasol said. "... He's a great guy. He's a great person. He's got great heart. He's just got to emotionally maybe bring it down a little bit. But that's about it."
Metta World Peace was perhaps Bynum's most ardent supporter.
"He got ejected; I'm used to playing basketball like that," World Peace said. "Back home in New York City, that's like street ball. You talk trash. That's the essence of basketball right there."
Added World Peace: "He's got to go through it. Maybe he might get ejected again. We'll see. We'll see what happens. Eventually he has to say, 'Ok, enough is enough. I don't want to get ejected anymore.' He will adjust. I had to adjust. I used to get all the calls called against me."
The Lakers play the second night of a back-to-back in Phoenix on Saturday.
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Andy and Brian Kamenetzky of the Land O' Lakers blog contributed to this report.