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Breaking down Lamar Odom's performance in Team USA's 89-79 victory over Russia

Lamar Odom Team USA

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.

Lamar Team USA 2

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.

Lamar Odom USA 4

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

--Mark Medina

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

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.

Comments () | Archives (41)

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FCM- great breakdown. Odom definitely put on a show of great Lamar Odom basketball today. Didn't care for numbers or highlight reel stuff, just did all the stuff that needed done.

Tim-4- Don’t bother to argue with Sonny. He is trying to start trouble, divide and conquer, etc.

Also, I don’t know what either of those acronyms are, but don’t bother to translate the one about Obama. I doubt I agree one way or the other, but I'm not going to break into a debate about it. I think FCM had a good point that Derek Fisher has some good political skills, regardless of who he supports.

Go candyman!

Why is LO always looked at beyond the box score? He is what he is. Just ok most of the time. Brilliant 10% of the time and spacing out 30% of the time.

Whenever he's at a physical advantage he usually brings it. Against euro b teams, he's at least got that and he should be in a good mood being half a world away from his wildebeast wife.

Lamar does whatever a team needs him to do. The Lakers don't always need much from him, that is why the inconsistency.

Does anyone know why Sasha didn't play for Slovenia? You would think it would have been a great lead-in for the season. It wasn't as if he played so many minutes that he needed a break. I was watching Dragic play and he was taking a leadership role which will carry over to the NBA season, it would have been nice to have seen the same from our guy.

phred - I'm glad you liked the breakdown.

Nick - Sasha didn't play for the Slovenian national team because he had a falling out with management. He said/she said sort of thing. You can get Sasha's version of it here

New Orleans next game is versus the 49ers at Candlestick in SF. It is critical that DFish inspire The Saints to win tonight. We need them to come to SF as satisfied winners, not angry losers.

Posted by: LakerTom | September 09, 2010 at 03:10 PM


@LTom - (oh yeah and you too Sonny)

I don't care how the Saints come marching in... The Niners are gonna make them march right out with a BIG FAT LOSS!

Singletary has certainly got this team turned in the Right direction... And hopefully Alex Smith can get it going now that he will have the benefit of NOT having to learn a new offensive scheme (if not then Nate Davis looks better to me than Carr at this point)... Dixon is a solid runner and if Gore remains healthy, what a nice one-two punch they'll be... And our defense will be a MONSTER this year! (Like the Lakers, well if Barnes can manage to stay out of any additional trouble.)

All in all I think the Niners will take the division and possibly make a decent run at the Superbowl.


Great game by Lamar! Aside from snagging every ball in sight, he executed perfect pick&roll defense. I think he's the only big on Team USA who knows how to do it properly. Maybe Love but he didn't play much and Chandler's D was really crappy. I have high hopes for LO that this will carry into the season.


Thanks. You do need to see LO. His numbers don't always show the energy he does or does not bring on a given night. An active LO always creates problems for opponents and opportunities for his teammates. A passive LO is a decent guy to eat minutes off the bench.

A passive LO is a guy who is not getting in the way of his four other, NBA title holding teammates, or his...wait. LO won two rings and is probably about to win a FIBA gold medal. We should all be so passive.

[makes derisive gesture at LO critics]

@HALOSANT… Won’t be Davis as he was cut. I believe in Alex… Not to the extent I believe in Drew but more than I did in Farmar so let’s keep our fingers crossed. I’m hoping for my Triple Championship this year – Lakers, Yankees, and Niners. Had lots of double championships but never got the Triple. Go, Saints. LOL!

As long as LO doesn't get injured, I think it's great that he's playing with Team USA. It gets him out of the box away from what's familiar and forces him to play ball - and then, it forces him to play ball (something I'm not sure he's done a whole lot of during offseasons of the past)

Don't worry about any acronym I used - effectively means policy in the USA hasn't changed much at all, and I'd say that holds true for the last 30 years. The future will be dictated by the past, so even a change of policy wouldn't really amount to a whole lot in the short term.

I warned this blog about being so giddy over the signing of Matt Barnes. If you don't think his criminal antics will affect Artest and the rest of this team, think again.

Another dumb move by Mitch.

Nice breakdown, Mark, especially since I couldn't see the game.

What do we play for? RINGS!!!

Lakers Today... Lakers Tomorrow... Lakers Forever.


@LTom -

Ok I didn't originally see that Nate was put on waivers, but he did clear them and will remain on the practice squad. (Not sure if that's a good thing or not seeing as no other team wanted him.)

As for your Triple Crown request, I can only root for two of those... I'm an Angels fan (the clue is in my handle), so I can't stand the Yanks, Red Sox or Doyers.

Good morning, MAMBA24 and Jon K!

I just checked out the boxscores from the USA-Russia game, and i can't help but feel both proud and giddy at the same time about LO's performance (12 rebounds in 30mins). I'm so proud that Coach K thinks so highly of LO to start him as the anchor of the US Team's defense and play him with such heavy minutes in a crucial game (N.B. Chandler played 7mins, Kevin Love 3 mins). What do i have to be giddy about? Well, just thinking of how powerful the Lakers' second unit will be this year, with either Pau or AB at the 5, LO at the 4, Barnes/Walton/Ebanks at the 3, Shannon Brown at the 2 and Blake at the 1. I'm looking forward to a double-digit AVERAGE point differential because i see less games where the second unit would be coughing up leads built up by the starters. The implications? More blow-outs, more time given to the second unit to close out games, more rest for the starters and, thus, more energy come the post-season.

Let's see if Laker hater cum ESPN columnist John Hollinger could find any other reason NOT to rank the Lakers as number 1 in his power rankings. ;)


Speaking of Barnes:

Barnes' girlfriend just denied that she was the victim of domestic violence,

I'm a lawyer here in the Philippines. From my experience, it is always prudent to: (1) wait until all the details are in, and (2) give all those charged with a crime the benefit of the doubt until the case is brought to court.


Speaking of Barnes:

Barnes' girlfriend just denied that she was the victim of domestic violence,

I'm a lawyer here in the Philippines. From my experience, it is always prudent to: (1) wait until all the details are in, and (2) give all those charged with a crime the benefit of the doubt until the case is brought to court.


Barnes update:

Updated Sep 9, 2010 7:17 PM ET

The fiance of Los Angeles Lakers player Matt Barnes says a domestic violence accusation against him is false, and he has never physically abused her or her family.

Gloria Govan made the comments in a statement issued Thursday.


My man. I don't think Barnes' arrest will have one tiny crumb of a negative effect on this team. No way. As long as Kobe is leading this team you could hire a swarm of hungry locasts to play off the bench and with zero distraction. Ron and Kobe pull Barnes aside and say, "this is your last mistake with this team. Period." I think that does it. And hey, with Ron's finals heroics and remodeled image, I think he absolutely takes a leadership role with Barnes. He has already demonstrated to all of us how you become a professional when it counts--with the exception of a very mysterious Christman day spill/bump which I still say he got buyng a twenty bag from the projects. But hey, that's just me.)

Wow...Dave Mathews gives a figurative middle finger to all the bands that go on MNF (or whatever) and lip sync. He's live and music should never, ever be played any other way (well, when the band is actuually there holding instruments).

Go Lamar. Work that tummy off you got shortly after the wedding!


“…My opinion will be vindicated at some point during the season.
Posted by: troy | September 09, 2010 at 05:23 PM”

troy- first time for everything.

On the other hand, I agree. [Sarcasm font on]

Yup. Barnes is completely vindicated. I can’t think of another domestic abuse case where the abused partner recanted the next day. Or perhaps I mean I can’t think of a Lifetime Network movie of the week where the abused partner didn’t recant the next day, and spend the next hour and a half regretting it. One of those.

I liked the folksy "Star Spangled Banner."

I'm watching the NFL game.


Trade Odom and Barnes to Nuggets while their value is still very high right now for Carmelo Anthony.


if that wasn't clear, me agreeing was honest, the sarcasm font was for the recanting bit.

sorry for jumping on you troy, but can you be a little less eager to celebrate being right about stuff that is going to go bad, or at least wait until it does go bad?

Barnes better watch out or one of the Lakers might pull a Rico Hines incident from the UCLA days:

Hines and Barnes began taunting one another and arguing during one of the pickup games played among UCLA players. . . that escalated into punches being thrown between the two before the brief scuffle was broken up by teammates. . .Moments later, as the game was about to resume, Hines picked up a chair near the court and struck Barnes on the head — stitches were needed to close the wound — before he could be restrained and led away by teammates.

@ Phred - Ummm... you watch the Lifetime Channel???

J/K... actually what happens (in the Lifetime MOW) is the abused recants, regrets it and then exacts revenge by shooting, running over, hiring a hit-man (undercover cop) and ending up in jail.


I agree with your take here. If there's one thing that rubs me wrong, it's someone recanting a domestic abuse filing. I'd much rather Barnes come clean and really learn something form this episode. When someone covers something like this up, it always leads to more episodes.

I know, because...well...I punched a girl in the 3 grade.

Before I'm judged, let me make my case. We were playing kick ball and every time we switched sides, this girl walked right up to me and slugged me in the stomach. It happened once, then twice...then...I slugged her back and dropped her immediately. It was only years later that I realized that sometimes when a girl has a crush on a boy she likes to punch him in the stomach. It never occured to me that she probably liked me until it was too late. Who knows, she may have been Mrs. Nixon had I understood crushes and youthful indescretion a bit better.

OK...go ahead and judge.


Halos- nobody watched/watches? the LifeTime Channel. Or at least only comedians and bloggers who are watching it ironically. It's sort of like the 'Mary Worth' of television.

wes- I love your stories.

no, I don't read Mary Worth either, ironically or otherwise. I have no idea who Aldo was.

NFL? That's the annoying sport that takes up SportsCenter time for half the year, meaning I must DVR it to watch it so I can fast forward through the football/baseball highlights to get the minute or so - if that- of basketball highlights...

- - -

MM: Great rundown of the game, excellent coverage of L.O.'s great play!

- - -

Raymond42N: Right on with your Lamar post, I wholeheartedly agree. An astute coach like Coach K is played L.O. 3x longer than what he played K-Love (who hasn't had a bad tourney) and Tyson Chandler combined.

This coming on the heels of Coach K saying that Chandler would be seeing more time against the Russians. Why didn't he? Because L.O. is such a smart player, he is almost never caught out of position, he bodies up on physical players just enough to make them miss shots - but not enough to draw a foul. He scrambles on defense, doubling up sometimes without losing his man, rotating and pressuring ball-handlers out to the perimeter, causing them to make bad passes by Lamar's outstretched, long arms. Grabbing rebounds and immediately looking downcourt for the open man. Boxing out routinely, bodying up too. Scrambling for loose balls, diving for them when necessary.

On offense he's setting excellent picks, moving through the key and always with his head up, into the game, seeing if he can come out and take a pass when necessary, set a pick, set for a rebound, whatever is needed. Lamar hasn't been shooting much because he's been so active doing all the little things that have helped Durant and the scorers get free for open looks, but on his touches he's made excellent passes and smart plays.

For someone who loves to watch basketball, Lamar is a joy to watch when he is active and involved as he's been. I still contend that he is the key. He won't put up monster numbers, outside of rebounds, but does so much for whatever team he has played for. Lakers are fortunate to have such a versatile 'super-6th man' on their bench, there is no doubt he'd be starting on most (all?) other teams in the league.

Obviously, Coach K agrees, based on his minutes played...

- - -

wes: I hope you are right that Barnes' arrest won't be a distraction.

- - -

D-Fish for president? Where do I vote?!!!!


Nice coverage. Lamar brought the proverbial intangibles today. He was not just active but quick like he might have slept alone last night. I have watched all of the games and this was the first one in which he appeared to have his legs. And the team really needs him because Love didn't do anything and Chandler is a complete stiff, no reflexes or foot speed. Without Odom or KD, this team is very vulnerable. The kiddie corps is not really ready for prime time (excluding Westbrook.) Good for Lamar.


Hey Staples 17/24 where are you???

The dude you want to trade not only did not go scoreless (6 points) but he grabbed a team leading 12 rebounds with 5 of them coming on the offensive side of the ball.

What am I saying you don't know jack squat about BBall. I can't wait when you show again your true colors and do your "trade Kobe" "trade Lamar" "trade Pau" "fire Coach Jackson" charade during the regular season.

Posted by: KBBlitz | September 09, 2010 at 12:11 PM


NFL? That's the annoying sport that takes up SportsCenter time for half the year, meaning I must DVR it to watch it so I can fast forward through the football/baseball highlights to get the minute or so - if that- of basketball highlights...


Posted by: CyberCosmiX | September 09, 2010 at 06:05 PM



LMAO that's why I like all three major sports... NEVER disappointed, well except for NASCAR/Indy interruptions... This is considered a sport?!? (I'll never understand why and don't bother to try and explain it, I don't wanna know and I don't care.)

Anyway there's always the NBA Channel, you never have to worry about football or baseball poking their heads in there... (or NASCAR/Indy for that matter)

Hey guys appreciate the kudos for the breakdown. I figured it'd be good for everyone since the game was so early and I doubt everyone was able to see it. Plus, watching LO today was a beauty to watch. We've obviously seen this before, but I think the beauty in seeing the small things and nuances LO masters in this game is always a fun thing to observe.

Also, a new post is up with an update on Barnes' situation.


No problems, Phred. You know how I do things. Lets hope Barnes doesn't self destruct. He hasn't stayed with a team since day 1 in the league.


Lets wait and see how this thing plays out.

Great break-down, MM.

By my count, it seems that Odom was robbed of like 5 assists. Was the team really shooting that badly? It seems like all the shots were either rimming out or hitting the back rim.

Maybe somebody left the window open?


L .O. is mini-Big Game James, why do you think the city held there collective breath last summer waiting for "The Slim Statistic", to resign, it's why Kobe wanted him back. L.O. Is a winner he shows up when we need him, he has HAll of Fame game when he uses it. Today's game he knew all the marbles where at stake. Look at how he was into it, fiery, competetive, not the normal laid back L.O. He knows his strengths and he knows what it takes to win.

Ask yourself a question. Why is it, on every team Lamar Odom plays on, as the saying goes, how Lamar goes is a sign on how team goes.

Lamar is a Laker, and I'm happy to have him.

Hey Phred,

Thanks for the info about why Sasha is not playing for Slovenia.

Mark, sorry, I gave credit to the wrong guy about the Sasha info. Thanks!


Since you sort of quoted me ... I want to make sure you know - I'm not an LO critic.


I think you got the worst outcome. Saints won the game but they were exposed. Bert could have won that game if he had another week of camp! ;-)

N'orleans looked amazing on the first drive. After that it was a slug fest. They figured out that 3 running plays in the first half wouldn't get it done and they stepped up in the 2nd.

NO won the battle of the lines, but not by much. They are still the team to beat.

Lamar did the same thing he does for us. Timely rebounds. Timely defense. Timely hustle plays. Timely WTF are you doing?! plays. Enough to help get over the hump.

Reality TV has taken over the world! at least here in the US. Who knows what happened, and I really don't want to know. I think he'll be solid for us this year.

Here's to JB or KB or someone or both, to buy Ron's ring for big bucks, and put it on a plaque at Staples.

RonRon wins the next Indy 500!!!



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