Breaking down Lamar Odom's performance in Team USA's 89-79 victory over Russia
Lamar Odom hustled for loose balls. He grabbed nearly every rebound. And he scored a few buckets too.
The aftermath of Team USA's 89-79 victory over Russia will rightfully focus on how the U.S. avenged Russia for its controversial loss in the 1972 Olympics, the skills of Kevin Durant(33 points) and how the team has a chance to win its first FIBA World Championship since 1994. But the U.S. also advanced to a semifinal matchup Saturday against Lithuania partly because of Odom's valiant effort. His six points, 12 rebounds, two steals and one assist make it appear as if Odom displayed a decent effort.
But it required watching the game in its entirety to truly appreciate the nuances Odom brought to the game. Odom "was absolutely, quietly tonight has been rock solid on both ends," ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said during the telecast. "He has been so subtly good tonight on both ends." Below is a breakdown on how Odom made that happen.
First quarter, 8:59 - 8:52
Odom ran a high screen and roll for Chauncey Billups on the far end. After Odom rolled to the basket, Russian point guard Sergey Bykov and power forward Andrey Vorontsevichclogged the lane to deny Billups' penetration. That created an opening for Andre Iguodala, who caught Billups' pass on the far wing and then slashed to the basket. Russian center Viktor Khryapa contested the shot, which hit off the back rim. Odom boxed out small forward Sergey Monya. Odom's tip rimmed out, but Iguodala grabbed the rebound and swung a pass around Vorontsevich. Odom drew a foul on Monya, converted on the layup and made the free throw to tie the score, 3-3.
First quarter, 7:47 -- 7:40
After Russian forward Alexander Kaunmissed a putback, Odom grabbed the board with his left hand. Odom pushed out in transition and found Iguodala open at the timeline. After spinning past center Viktor Khryapa, Iguodala's layup bounced off the backboard. Odom tried sneaking inside for the grab, but Kaun grabbed the ball out of Odom's hands.
First quarter, 6:09 - 5:59
Odom grabbed the rebound off Anton Ponkrashov's missed three-pointer and fired an outlet pass to Russell Westbrook. He drove the lane, drew a foul on Bykov and sank two free throws for a 12-9 lead.
Second quarter, 7:09 - 7:03
Odom guarded Ponkrashov as he drove the lane and tried converting on a left-handed layup. But Odom's footwork proved effective, as he swiftly adjusted in the paint after Ponkrashov initially caught Odom off balance. Ponkrashov's layup hit off the rim and Odom easily grabbed the rebound. He threw a pass to Derrick Rose near the timeline, resulting in a cross-court pass to Durant. He pulled up for a layup, drew a foul on Dmitriy Khvostov and sank both free throws to cut the gap to 29-28. Phil Jackson may still think this play illustrates how Durant benefits from favorable officiating, but this play worked out perfectly because of Odom's defense, rebounding and passing.
Second quarter, 4:15 - 4:08
In transition, Westbrook attempted a pull-up in the lane, but the shot hit off the front rim. Odom grabbed the rebound over Bykov, who then fouled Odom and caused him to fall to the ground. On the inbounds pass, Rose found Eric Gordon open on the perimeter, resulting in a three-pointer for a 35-35 tie.
Third quarter, 9:43 - 9:25
Russia opened the second half firing from three-point range. Vorontsevich's attempt rimmed out and Odom boxed out Russian center Timofey Mozgov for the board. Odom's rebound didn't immediately lead to a transition basket, but it eventually resulted in Durant driving to the lane for an easy bucket. The score gave Team USA a 46-39 lead.
Third quarter, 8:34 - 8:15
After Monya missed a corner three-pointer partly because of Odom's contesting it, Durant grabbed the rebound and Rose led the break. Odom set a screen for Rose on Russian shooting guard Dmitri Khvostovand then rolled to the basket. Odom caught Rose's bounce pass along the baseline, but Mozgov cut off his penetration. Odom fired a pass to the corner for Iguodala. He passed the ball back to Odom, who posted up on Mozgov, drove to the basket and drew the foul. Odom made one of two free throws for the 50-42 lead.
Third quarter, 7:24 - 7:14
Odom displayed his versatility and quickness on this play by proving instrumental on help defense. As Mozgov cut toward the top of the key to set a pick on Rose for Khvostov, Odom switched and picked him up on the right block. After Vorontsevich drove the lane past Iguodala, Odom collapsed for a double team. When Vorontsevich's pass knocked off Khvostov's shoe, Odom grabbed the loose ball. Though Rose's three-pointer missed on the other end, Odom's hustle plays gave Team USA a chance to convert in transition.
Third quarter, 6:45 - 6:41
At the top of the key, Odom drove with ease. His layup bounced off the backboard, leading Odom to question why a foul wasn't called on Mozgov. Though it looked like there was some contact, the replays showed the play looked clean.
Third quarter, 6:17 - 6:09
Immediately after cleaning the glass off Ponkrashov's missed three-pointer, Odom threw an outlet pass to Iguodala. He caught the pass immediately under the basket and was met with a double team from Ponkrashov and Monya. Iguodala dished out to Billups, whose three-pointer gave Team USA a 53-45 advantage.
Third quarter, 3:20 - 3:10
Monya caught Billups off balance, but Odom stepped immediately into help as Monya drove into the paint. Monya's layup rimmed out and Odom grabbed the board. Team USA failed to capitalize in transition, however, with Westbrook's missing a layup.
Third quarter, 2:44 - 2:33 layup
With the shot clock winding down, Monya launched an off-balance three-pointer. Billups grabbed the rebound and threw an outlet pass cross-court to Odom. He made the wide-open layup, giving Team USA a 65-50 lead.
Third quarter, 2:23 - 2:08
Though this sequence ends with Russia having possession because of a jump ball, the series of plays perfectly illustrates Odom's willingness to make the hustle plays. Bykov's missed three-pointer at the top of the key resulted in Odom's one-handed rebound. He then pushed in transition by passing the ball to Rose on the far end. After Rose found Billups open at the top of the key, his three-point attempt hit the back iron. Odom ran into the paint and fought for the loose ball with Khryapa and eventually picked it up on the near sideline. Odom fell on the ground, but he managed to throw off a pass directed toward Westbrook. But Monya intercepted the pass and won the jump ball.
Fourth quarter, 5:43 - 5:29
Rose tipped Voronov's entry pass to Vorontsevich. Odom picked up the loose ball. He pushed it in transition but it didn't result in any offense. Rose missed a runner in the lane.
Fourth quarter, 4:56 - 4:49
As Bykov drove the lane, he tried to pass to Mozgov. But Odom deflected it, which resulted in Rose picking up the loose ball. Moments later, Billups' three-pointer widened the gap to 84-68
Photo: Team USA center Lamar Odom hit the ground during a World Cup Championship quarterfinal basketball match versus Russia in Istanbul. Credit: MUSTAFA OZER/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Odom catches the ball during the FIBA World Championship quarterfinals against Russia. Credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images.
Photo: Russia's Alexander Kaun (left) matches up with Lamar Odom in Team USA's 89-79 victory Wednesday over Russia. Credit: ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images.