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Lamar Odom starting at small forward changes the Lakers' dynamic

61376480Fluctuating in and out of the lineup, changing from reserve to starter and filling in whatever hole the Lakers currently have pretty much fills Lamar Odom's job description.

Versatility and consistency made Odom the perfect winner for the NBA's sixth man of the year. His skillset made any Andrew Bynum absence, injury-related or otherwise, seamless. And Odom's personality made it a non-issue. But Odom's revelation to The Times' Broderick Turner that he will start in place of suspended Ron Artest for Game 3 of the playoffs against the Mavericks in Dallas brings a whole different dimension.

There's really not a dependable sample size to make an accurate judgment on how a triple-tower lineup featuring Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Odom will look like. Heck,, which tracks such trends, doesn't have statistical data showing that lineup has ever been used this season. The small glimpses have actually shown this to be only the 10th-most effective lineup combination when used in the 2009-10 season, according to, but it very well could be a wild-card adjustment that will change the course of a series. With Gasol lacking confidence and consistency, Bynum lamenting the lack of help on defense and Odom having mixed results in leading a poor second unit, this could help jump-start the Lakers' fledgling inside presence against the Mavericks' Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood.

Interestingly enough, Odom had often wanted to play in this role, a major topic of discussion during his exit interview a week after the Lakers won the 2010 NBA title.

"Just our team and when I think about the triangle offense, I think about size and I think about ball-handling," Odom said at the time. "I think about us posting up and using the ability to post up to slow teams down. Our defense is predicated on our offense; I feel like we could help this team if we go toward a big lineup. It could be one of the lineups we go to to slow the game down and make the game more methodical."

Against Dallas, that might make it more manageable to double team on Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, whom the Lakers have had trouble defending. It might also make it easier for Gasol and Bynum to penetrate without having to "see a sea of blue or white," as Mavericks Coach Rick Carlisle put it.

But it's misleading to say this will happen. This lineup combination could very well be disastrous. It could give Dallas even more season to mostly defend inside and force the Lakers to shoot three-pointers, a bad temptation considering the Lakers went two-of-20 from the field in Game 2. It could add more disruption to the Lakers' inside game and make all three big men uneasy on how to adapt to each other's roles. And as Odom conceded after Thursday's practice, it'll require further wrinkles to a defensive rotation the Lakers currently have had trouble comprehending.

"I'll adjust and try to impact the game wherever I am on the court," Odom said. "You start from the outside rather than starting from inside and trying to have our bigs from the post to the corner."

One thing is for certain. For better or worse, Odom's move to the starting small forward spot will drastically determine the outcome of the game. 

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers forward Lamar Odom reacts after making a shot while drawing a foul against Dallas in the first half of Game 2 on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

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Mark -- Can you bring some light to this? What's your feel on this rumor? Did you sense something in the locker room between Pau and other Laker teammates over the past couple of weeks? Word on the street is that KB's wife is behind this? I hate rumors, yet I am dying to dubunk this one.


Traditionally I've been opposed to putting LO at the 3 even though LO will claim all day and night that he's a "natural 3"

The reason I've been opposed is because he has lacked the outside game to be that perimeter player. However, in the last year and a half, the guy has really stepped up that part of his game.

I think he can do it!

I still feel the line up we see the most together will include Barnes at the 3 spot. But hey, as the great Zen philosopher once said, "who knows?"

I think Ron Artest hit the wrong guy. Next time take out Mark Cuban. No one cares what happens to him, least of all the NBA League.

If you have a minute, this is what Ron should have done to Cuban. Body slammed him to the floor.

Fatty - Who will be watching the game with Ron Artest in his Dallas hotel room, because of a bad draw in 'truth or dare'.


The last time the Triple Tower configuration actually started a game was on Feb 06, 2010 against Portland:

Kobe was injured at that time and LO started in his place.

It was not very successful. Andre Miller kept pushing the pace and not allow the defense to set. By early 2Q, Portland had taken a 10-point lead and PJ was forced to return to the more traditional Twin Tower configuration and eventually won the game. The Triple Tower configuration never started again after that experiment.

If the Dallas coaching staff had done their homework, they would have scouted that Portland game. Look to Kidd to push the pace if the Triple Tower configuration is starting.

Posted by: The Snake | May 06, 2011 at 01:46 PM

Medina is absolutely correct. With Lamar in the lineup, the Mavs will have even more inventive to pack in the paint. Outside shooting will be key tonight. I don't anticipate the trio of Lamar/Pau/Bynum being on the floor together for more than 20 minutes, unless Phil suddenly decides to use Joe Smith and Theo. Phil will most likely bench one of the big men half way through the first quarter. The real question is, who will be the first man off the bench when one of the bigs goes to the bench midway through the first quarter.

On another note, this report from the OC Register claims that Kobe and Pau are not speaking to each other because Pau blames Kobe's wife for breaking up Pau's engagement. Could this be the reason for Pau's struggle? Hmmm

whoops, didn't see Jello's post.

I have wanted to see more of the big three lineup, but not in this series. Not only does this move devastate what is already a terrible bench (in a way that starting, say, Barnes as SF would not) but it pretty much ensures that Dirk Nowitski will have his most favorable matchup on both ends of the floor.

On offense, Dirk is going to get his points against pretty much anyone the Lakers throw at him. However, LO's mobility allows him to guard Dirk on the perimeter better than Pau can. On the other end of the floor, guarding LO is a much bigger challenge for Dirk than guarding Pau, especially now that Pau has become Kwame Brown.

LO at the SF position makes it impossible for Pau to guard anyone other than Dirk (who else could he guard?), which means the Lakers just lost their best defensive lineup. LO creates some mismatches on the offensive end, for sure, but I don't know that this will make up for what is bound to be a nightmare performance by Pau (again).

Thanks Tim. I love the love within the Laker blog.

Khloe is warming up her voice......she'll be singing come Sunday night.

Note to all Triple-Towers pre-hating: Jason Kidd is not Andre Miller. Barea might torch us again, but what else is new- that's on the point guard/low-post defender communication.
Also: Odom is not slower than Artest. Odom replacing Artest loses nothing in mobility. This is a very different situation than Odom replacing Kobe.

12 to 3peat

@NUGGETSCOUNTRY... Am I right that today is your birthday? And the Say Hey Kid as well.
Watch live TV tonight (you can always put the game on hold if things don’t start out well) but I suspect you are going to get a big blowout from start to finish to celebrate your birthday.

i have a feeling that kobe, paul, L.O. and 'drew will have to play lots of minutes tonight. who cares if they're tired! they can rest after they win another nba title! BENCH, HELLO, where are you? you have got to make the most of your FEW MINUTES you get tonight. P.J., feel free to use trey johnson. steve blake is NOT READY FOR THE PRIMETIME PLAYERS!

^^MM?? plz perma ban this a-hole

not that you want to go down 2 - 0 in any series, BUT, L.A. was down 2 - 0 to san antonio in 2004 WCF semi-finals and then the Lakers won the next four in a row. the year of the 0.4 shot by DFISH! it can happen L.A......make it happen L.A.!

Man will this time go any slower?

I want to be home watching the game right now!
cmon father time, pass, pass, pass so we can start!

I don't want this to be taken the wrong way, but Kobe's wife has always thrown verbal elbows; I do not know her, I'm sure she's sweet and all, but the little I do know, I would NOT want to mess with her.

Having said that, I can believe this whole ordeal.

And just great. That's all we needed.

Explains everything

@THE SNAKE... That game was not really a good test as Bynum only played 10 minutes total, all in the first half. Funny, I don’t even remember this game or why Drew did not play in the second half. Anyway, it should be fun to see this lineup tonight and whether the Lakers use it to dominate inside.
Pau’s former girl friend reminds me of Sandra Bullock. Sure hope those rumors about a rift between Kobe and Pau over their women is just a nasty rumor. Shades of LeBron. I mean what could Kobe’s wife possibly say to Pau’s fiancé to cause her to dump Pau? Odds are this is just a mean rumor.

Well, the few bloggers that have been BEGGING for the triple towers configuration all season should be happy. We should get to see it in spades tonight. Hope it works out, but I have my doubts.

As long as they don't let Dallas run constant fast breaks, it should be fine... but if Pau and Drew start jogging back on defense while all 5 Dallas players are running hard, then it could be a loooooooong night.

@ Lakeshowinphx - thats exactly what ive been saying DFISHES .4 lol yes we can!!!

Jell O is Jiggling - Brez just answered on the live chat that that isn't an issue.

Lamar needs to make Dirk work on defense, he can blow by him and maybe get him in some foul trouble. He needs a big game tonite scoring wise. Lakers need to quit jacking up 3's, especially Kobe. When this team plays it methodical brand of offense, like we saw in some of the games vs. the Hornets, they can't be beat. Take their time getting good shots, and for Pete's sake, play better pick and roll defense. Let Dirk get 30pts, shut down the other guys. Let's hope they have figured it out. I am not so sure they will, they may just not be able to focus and or hungry enough. It's a long haul, so the question is, would you rather see them lose now or in the Finals?



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