02/20/2012 - 11:46
Mavs Split East Coast Pair
Lamar Odom and the Dallas Mavericks took their show on the road this weekend, visiting two cities, including LO's hometown of New York.
The weekend started in Philadelphia, where Lamar and the Mavs picked up right where they left off at home, knocking off the Atlantic Division leading Sixers 82-75.
Lamar contributed five points, four rebounds and three assists, but the name of the game was defense and the Mavs had it in spades on Friday night.
The young Sixers team jumped out to an early 51-37 lead at halftime and seemed, in large part, to be in control of the game heading into the second half. But behind the combined veteran experience of LO, Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki the Mavs quietly and efficiently derailed the shell-shocked Sixers by holding them to an anemic eight points in the third quarter.
"The story of the game was definitely our defense," Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle said. "We only allowed 24 points in the second half which is a phenomenal job defensively. They missed some shots but our guys were into it. Right now, that is our identity as a team. We're a defense-first team."
For Lamar, Carlisle's defense-first system has been an interesting change from his time in Los Angeles, but the reigning Sixth Man of the Year has found ways to adjust, as he told Fox Sports Southwest on Friday.
"Anytime, as athletes, we look forward to change in certain ways, even though we are creatures of habit," Odom said. "For any of us, when we go through change and it is unexpected, it takes us a little bit more time to get adjusted."
Lamar's offense came in opportune order as well. His lone trey of the game came with 4:37 to go before the half, off a J-Kidd assist, to cap an 8-0 Dallas run.
The Sixers and Mavs came into the final 12 minutes tied at 63, but the Mavs exploded on a 9-0 run to put them up 72-63 with six minutes remaining. That run included a fastbreak, driving, spinning layup by LO to put Dallas in front by four. They never relinquished that lead.
"I still got a little something," LO said after the game referring to his big fast break play.
With the lead in hand thanks to the work of Lamar and the Dallas reserves, Nowitzki contributed another eight points of his own down the stretch to close out the contest in favor of the reigning champs. Afterward, Shawn Marion pointed to the unselfishness on the floor as paramount to the Mavs' extension of their win streak.
"We're all out there communicating with each other," Marion said. "I think that the more we're helping each other and the more we're communicating and making it hard for the other team, the better we are, and it shows. When you have everybody just feeding off each other and helping each other to make them better, it makes us all look better.''
Marion wasn't the only person to notice the team effort it took to rebound from a tough first half.
"Tonight was all about grit and guts and 13 guys being together and getting the job done," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.
Those characteristics are the reason why LO said last week that he believes that his time in Dallas will ultimately be a success.
"I'm in a great place playing for a great team, a great owner, great coaches, great players and a great city," he said.
KNICKS HALT MAV MOMENTUM
Though Dallas is his new home, Lamar will always be from New York and the Mavs were there on Sunday to finish their road trip against the Knicks.
But it was in LO's hometown that the Mavs' season-best six-game winning streak had to end as they dropped the Sunday matinee, 104-97.
Lamar and the Mavs saw their six-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Knicks Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden (Getty Images).
Lamar's primary focus in his 20 minutes off the bench was defense. Though he was limited to just three assists and two points, LO was able to contribute in other ways, grabbing six defensive rebounds in a tough loss.
No. 7 was a monster on the boards in the second quarter, where he racked up five of his six rebounds in just under eight minutes. He posted up a layup off a Dirk Nowitzki assist midway through the quarter as well, for his lone bucket of the game.
Though the Mavs trailed the Knicks to begin the third quarter, Jason Kidd launched a trey at the 10-minute mark that sparked an 8-0 run to put the Mavericks ahead. LO and the Mavs assembled on the floor with a three-point lead to open up the final stanza, but couldn't silence an explosive Jeremy Lin, whose six points and six assists in the fourth quarter propelled the Knicks to a 104-97 win at Madison Square Garden.
A native of Queens and a childhood fan of the Knicks, Lamar said he's been paying some attention to New York's recent success — they've now won seven of eight — and has been impressed with Lin.
"I think whenever you can add a story to the league that's unexpected, it's good, because you want the unexpected," Odom said. "If you knew what was going to happen, it wouldn't be any fun. It's only fair when anybody can win. That's why we love sports. That's the little boy in us. That's why we watch.''
LO and the Mavs continue their journey up the East Coast with one final stop in Boston tonight when they take on the Celtics. Tonight's game is their third back-to-back session in the month of February. Catch the action at 6 PM on TNT.
- Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks (Fox Sports, Feb. 20, 2012)
- Dallas Mavericks @ New York Knicks Post Game 32 Quotes (Mavs Moneyball, Feb. 20, 2012)
- Dallas Mavericks @ Philadelphia 76ers Box Score (NBA.com, Feb. 18, 2012)
- Dallas Mavericks @ Philadelphia 76ers Post Game 31 Quotes (Mavs Moneyball, Feb. 18, 2012)
- Odom: Transition not difficult, just unexpected (Fox Sports Southwest, Feb. 17, 2012)
- Defending champion Mavericks overtake Sixers in 2nd half, win 82-75 (AP, Feb. 18, 2012)
- Lamar Odom also like Jeremy Lin (ESPN Dallas, Feb. 18, 2012)