CLEVELAND: Final thoughts from Andrew Bynumís return to the NBA and the Cavsí 98-94 win over the Brooklyn Nets.
* Seven hours prior to tip-off, General Manager Chris Grant discreetly pulled Bynum into a private corner of Cleveland Clinic Courts, where Bynum presumably made one final plea to play.
* He uprooted his life and moved to Cleveland within days of signing with the Cavaliers. The team doctors told him he could again be the NBA player he once was, but he needed to add muscle to his legs. With $18 million at stake this season and next, he showed up every day for three months and worked six hours a day, worked harder than anyone the Cavsí training staff had ever seen.
* He sailed through shootaround Wednesday morning with no trouble, at one point reaching up and grabbing the rim from a standing position.
ďIíve never seen anyone do that,Ē Tristan Thompson told me. ďHeís a monster.Ē
* The meeting between Grant and Bynum lasted less than 10 minutes, then Bynum jogged through the back of the facility and out of sight. Grant moved on to meetings with other staff members regarding Bynum, including the medical team, before finally exhaling and setting him free.
* Bynum played less than eight minutes, but it was his first NBA game in 527 days and left coach Mike Brown wanting more. Bynum was lobbying to keep playing, and Brown conceded he briefly considered before common sense prevailed. There are 81 more games to go. Itís not worth risking a blowout now.
ďWeíre a different team when heís out there,Ē Brown said. ďHe still has room to grow. You only saw a taste of what he can bring. It was exciting to see him out there. Not only for the coaches, but the players and fans.Ē
* Bynum only had three points and three rebounds in eight minutes, but donít let the numbers fool you. The Nets had to change their offensive approach when he was in the game. He closed off the entire lane to dribble penetration and turned the Nets into jump shooters after swatting Deron Williamsí shot off the court. He was also credited for a block on Reggie Evans, although on replay it appeared he didnít even touch the ball. Still, he clearly altered the shot and forced Evans to bobble it away. Offensively he looked rusty, making just 1 of 5 shots.
* ďMy timing is off right now, but thatís to be expected,Ē Bynum said. ďI missed a long time out there. I feel like itís going to come back. The more practice I have, the more 5 on 5 I have the better Iíll be.Ē
* There was a moment in the second quarter when Bynum looked like his old self. He caught a pass about 12 feet from the rim and swung the ball around his head looking to pass out of the post.
With Brown hollering at him to take it to the rim, Bynum dribbled, lowered his shoulder and bull-rushed his way through All-Star center Brook Lopez and right at the basket. He missed the shot with his left hand, but the sequence illustrated how far he has come.
* ďI guess I had tired legs or baby legs as I like to call them,Ē he said. ďI just had to go. Iím kind of sad it didnít go in. It was a pretty decent move and Iíll work on things from there so Iíll be better next time.Ē
* The Cavs play at Philadelphia next Friday. Bring a helmet. Itís going to get rowdy.