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Amare Stoudemire's comments on Lamar Odom speaks to inconsistent reputation

In countless sequences, Lakers forward Lamar Odom drove to the lane, created his own shot and led a first-quarter charge both Lakers Coach Phil Jackson and Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry believed served as the momentum boost in the Lakers' 128-107 Game 1 victory Monday over the Phoenix Suns.

While many of Odom's 19 points and playoff career-high 19 rebounds came against a defenseless Amare Stoudemire, it wasn't until Tuesday's practice when the Phoenix forward finally fought back.

"I'm not giving him no hype," Stoudemire testily told reporters before the Suns practiced on Tuesday. "He had a lucky game."

As far as Odom's response? He answered in the same nonchalant fashion that describes his laid-back demeanor. Said Odom: "Hopefully I can have another lucky one." Odom's teammates rang similar tunes. Lakers guard Derek Fisher mentioned Mick Jagger's recent comments to CNN's Larry King that part of the Rolling Stones' success pointed to luck. Jackson argued Odom created his own luck by playing aggressive. And Lakers forward Pau Gasol echoed similar sentiments, saying in both Spanish and English that, "you have to earn luck."

The Lakers effectively squashed down Stoudemire's comments about as quickly and efficiently as they shut down Phoenix in Game 1. Clearly, Stoudemire aimed to get inside Odom's head when he had no answer for him on the court. And the Lakers redefined luck by suggesting it's something that happened because Odom created it rather than the luck being some random event.

This philosophy universally applies to many walks of life, but clearly Stoudemire's comments referenced Odom's inconsistency and suggested you never know when Odom's going to put on a performance like he had in Game 1. That's going to be particularly important for Odom to replicate, however, considering the uncertainty surrounding the health of center Andrew Bynum, who had increased swelling in the torn cartilage in his right knee. Although Bynum reported less swelling after Tuesday's practice, he believes he'll miss most practices this series. And when Jackson was asked whether Bynum will improve from a four-point effort in 19 minutes in Game 1, Jackson admitted "I really have no idea. We hope we can get him going again."

At least in Game 1, the Lakers managed to absorb Bynum's limitations. Gasol scored an efficient 21 points on 10 of 13 shooting, marking the fifth time in seven games he scored at least 20 points. The Lakers scored 56 points in the paint. And of course, Odom's 19 points and 19 rebounds gave Gasol support inside. Though Gasol hopes Bynum's health improves, he remained confident the Lakers' inside presence would remain effective. (For those wanting to learn Spanish, forget using Rosetta Stone. Just watch the video below of Gasol, who switches between Spanish and English with reporters).

Of course, whether or not the inside presence remains effective depends on whether Odom can still maintain the dominance he had in Game 1. That is certainly possible. The week-long rest allowed him to heal from a sprained left shoulder. Odom has spent his first five postseasons averaging 16.8 points per game. And he's experienced plenty of success against Phoenix in the postseason, posting playoff career-highs in points (33 on May 2, 2007), field goals (13 on May 2, 2007), assists (nine on May 4, 2006), rebounds (19 in the Lakers' recent Game 1 victory) and offensive boards (seven in the same game). 

But whether or not this happens consistently remains unpredictable. Odom entered Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals averaging 8.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, which ranked below his regular-season average of 10.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, a clip that prompted former Laker James Worthy to publicly question his effort. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant found the criticism unwarranted, citing the 12.2 points Odom averaged as a starter. Fisher offered a similar assessment, arguing Odom's numbers mostly had to do with the fact that he's not always needed to be a dominant scorer.

"I don't think it's a question of effort," Fisher said. "I think it's just a game-to-game thing. There isn't really anybody on our team really with exception to Kobe that stastically every night, certain numbers need to look a certain way. Everybody else, you have to be willing to take what comes to you on the nights that it does."

 

I understand Fisher's contention. But my point isn't the difference in Odom's numbers. It's how he appeared more involved in the game itself. There's been plenty of times this postseason where the Lakers' supporting cast almost made Odom feel uninspired to find different ways to contribute, and it prompted Jackson several times to single out Odom. That's why I found it telling that a simple question to Bynum abou Odom's performance led to this response.

"As long as he's geeked up and excited about the games," Bynum said, "he's going to go out and do the same thing."

Odom offered a simpler take. "I just go out there and play whaever the matchup is," he said. "I just try to be as efficient as possible." And whether that's through increased aggressiveness, luck or both, two things at least remain clear. Odom doesn't care what Stoudemire said. And the success he experienced in Game 1 came directly from himself.

"That's a lot of times the way basketball is," Jackson said. "A guy starts playing well and things fall in his hands. He certainly did last night and we hope it continues for him."

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
Comments () | Archives (122)

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101-82,

Congratulations. The Old Three are one step closer to euthanization. Just be patient as you try to rebuild around Rondo...for the next 20 years.

EJK

really, LBJ's jock does not taste great anymore. didn't u wanted to trade KOBE just for the past 2 months? please humor me more, because u r a funny guy

talking about backpedalling (even if it used by a C's fan)

go look for jimjoyce and LA Guy among others

BLOGS DON'T LIE

Lakers Celtics Then and Now

LAKERS
1. Gasol has taken on Kobe traits, no more Paula Gasoft
2. Artest defends Pierce like no other
3. A 50% Bynum ensures at least a draw with Perkins
4. Luke buried deep on the bench
5. Sasha buried deep on the bench

CELTICS
1. No Posey
2. Big 3 older not better
3. Rondo much improved but is he better that Nash, Williams, or Westbrook?
4. Baby Davis good role player
5. No Leon Powe

2 minutes left in the game, Magic down by 1 and for the life of me I can't figure out why Dwight is smiling.

Can you imagine Kobe smiling in this situation???


OH HELL NO. It would be THE FACE. You know it.

Posted by: justanothermambafan | May 18, 2010 at 08:27 PM

Funny that you're saying this. I was thinking the same thing when I saw that. What the hell is he smiling about? Better put your game face on boy. Problem is, he doesn't have a game face.
I really like Howard, but he really need to get more serious for next year and so forth.

whowwwwwwwwww

LakerTom backpedalling on full 8 cylinders. i mean 7 paragraphs.

now, that's RADICAL. (nut surprised, supported by Mark G)

oh. no. more like LIBERAL?

HOT HAND vs. INSIDE-OUT? what a novel concept.

r we really DUMPING the Bigs all of the sudden?

the TEAM that was playing like kids in the candy store when KOBE was out?

eliminating TOUCHES and the famous TRIANGLE?

does Hot Hand also means Pecking Order?

no more defined OPTIONS?

maybe NEXT YEAR?
back to the REGULAR programming.
indeed, the season is long, boring and the blog needs entertainment.

and BEASTy BOYs

Green Asteriks: How about putting an asteriks for the 2008 Boston Championship, after all the Lakers played without Andrew Bynum and Trever Ariza (all but parts of game 6)?


I have no fear of the Celtics. In 2008, the guys who killed us in game 4 (where we lost the series), with that ridiculous 24-point comeback, were Eddie House (GONE) and James Posey (GONE). Those two guys hit some insane 3-pointers in that ball game and throughout the series. The Celtics also won't have Leon Powe. They have Rashid Wallace, but the Lakers have always handled him just fine (remember Game 7, 2000 Western Conference Finals against Portland?).


This is the match-up I wanted from the start, for a host of reasons, the biggest of which is that it will give the Lakers home field advantage, and a chance for revenge. Lakers will beat Boston in 5, at the most 6 games.


Orlando is a fraud.

Hi MM,

How do you figure that the supporting cast that makes Odom feel "uninspired" ? Isn't he the one who is supposed to be leading the bench by example ? Did you infer that from the difference in his consistency as a starter from when he comes off the bench ? I think his inconsistency is just inveterate, more a part of his own nature than a product of external factors influencing his game.He does tend to hang back and even disappear at times even when the team needs him but ,more often than not, he often responds to situations that urgently call for him to step up big time.
That probably is just who Lamar is as a player. Performing really well only when motivated enough for the same.Brilliant on occasions and a no show on others.

"I half admire the Cajones he has"

quick spanish lesson (for free ;-)

Cajones=drawers

The other thing, the one I think you were referring to is "Cojones"

The other thing, the one I think you were referring to is "Cojones"

Posted by: Are the lakers a team or a one man show? | May 19, 2010 at 03:51 AM

oops, Well I did admit my Spanish stunk.

If this were Boston, the fans would be chanting "Drun-Ken Mo-Ther" at Amare tonight.

First off I am a suns fan. Now as far as amare's comment goes, I think he needs to keep his yap shut and do the job that he was hired to do. I am no fan of the lakers but I will say that Lamar played one hell of a game. He schooled Amare up one side and down the other. Shut the trap Amare and let's see what kind of talent you really have. GO SUNS !!!

I think that Amare's foolish comments speak more to his lack of intelligence and diplomacy than to any deficiency in Lamar's game. We, as Laker fans, have seen the good and bad of LO. He is who he is. But for Stoudemire to call his performance "lucky" is just plain disrepectful. And that's cool, because soon Amare be fishin' in Cabo or Cancun, wondering how the "Lucky Lakers" beat him and his team.

Don't let Lamar's nonchalant response fool you, folks. The man is most likely chapped by Amare's comments but is way too classy and media savvy to respond emotionally. It's called being a champion, Amare.

Forget Amare. Bring on the Celtics!

If the Celtics play the same against the Lakers they get swept. The Lakers are vastly better than the Disney Worlds and their geriatric fan base. As crappy as the Magic are playing they are still in the game right to the end. They don't have anyone to step up in the clutch and make a play. The Geezers won't survive their patented 4th Q collapse against Kobe. We are the World Champions!

Who is the MVP of the Playoffs?


Bryant or Rondo!!!


Who is the truth, Pierce or Artest?

Who is the better Coach, Jackson or Rivers?


"Totally agree about the asterisks, Justa.

If we're going to define "asterisk" championships by injuries, lets put one on the Pistons championship in 2004. If Malone doesn't get hurt, we would have won that series in 6 or 7.

The only asterisk I really agree with, and it's a bit of a stretch at that, is the shorten-season Spurs championship in 1999.

Posted by: E | May 18, 2010 at 09:14 PM"

I'll add to that, I have contended that if Horace Grant who was on the team but was hurt/or had lost too much of his game by that time.....were available and productive, he was the back up to Malone and Shaq....If he could have been productive, even something as unnoticeable as that could have been the difference. In reality, that was a tough year, with Kobe/Colorado....Kobe starting the year having lost over 20 lbs....but it woulda been nice.

Okay, so Amare's got a troubled mother. What does this have to do with basketball, or with him?

Any Lakers fan who decides to say disparaging chants or anything like that about this is a pig-rutting scumbag.

Judge Amare on what HE'S done with his life. For instance, he'd be fair game if he committed adultery by sodomizing a girl in a hotel room...or if he started a riot, committed cruelty to animals, and abused his wife. Or if he was suspended early in his career for smoking the ganja. Or... waitaminute, those are your heroes and moral champions, the Lakers.

I'm a Laker fan and I can't stand 90 percent of you. Go loot a shoe store.

"LAKER TRUTH

glad you understood my question. not only Magic views Kobe as thread to his legacy, there is a total dislike between the 2.

don't you think that Kobe's PUBLICIZED desire to learn from the DREAM was a little slap on some Lakers greats?

but Kobe just went to learn from the best in THAT specialized domain.

actually, as Lakers greats, I find both West and Magic being very poor sports regarding KOBE. but karma is a …

Posted by: ouchhhhhhhh | May 18, 2010 at 09:13 PM"

Many times Phil has brought in his ex-Bulls players to work with Laker players, Pippen, Hodges (is on staff), Oakley (just recently), Ron Harper as a player, .... it all comes down to Phil's way of doing things....his way... remember the time he asked the LOGO to leave the locker room, it's "the team against the world"... Using the triangle offense as opposed to a showtime offense rubbed and still rubs many Laker legends (and owner) the wrong way...but you can't argue with success, well actually you can. The question is do you want to win, or do you want to go back to the Randy Pfund days.......He did agree to let Kareem tutor Andrew, and I hate to say it, but I wish Shaq were done as a player, because Andrew and Pau both need to be tutored on playing tough.

Amare, he stuck his foot in his mouth. Idiot.

Who are you people, hating on Magic?

I mean, granted, Magic has in the past not been very complimentary of Kobe, specifically when it came to his ability (or lack thereof) to play or play nice with Shaq. He has been very complimentary of other players, which sometimes is perceived to be at Kobe's expense. But a few things:

1. Magic doesn't want to be a homer like a Tommy Heinsohn or Cornbread Maxwell. He wants to be considered a true analyst. Whatever his skills, he wants to at least try to be that, and that means being complimentary of other players.

2. Could it be his praise contains a subtle recruiting pitch at any given time?

3. Kobe *is* the greatest enigma in all of Lakerdom, he wasn't always a great leader or teammate, and like many fans, maybe Magic was expressing frustration about wasted opportunities for a longer title run.

4. Magic is still the greatest Laker in the history of the franchise, he made the Lakers what they are today, he led at LEAST 2 of the greatest Laker teams in history, and any Laker fan who hates on him is nuts.

 
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