11/09/2010 - 08:10
Lamar's Bounce Back Keys Lakers
While there's no dearth of traits to describe Lamar Odom, perhaps the most apt is resiliency.
So after his toughest night of the season to date -- a Lakers win over Toronto on Friday -- No. 7 bounced back in a massive way, recording his fourth double-double of the year as his Los Angeles Lakers trounced the Portland Trailblazers, 121-96.
The evening left an impression on Portland coach Nate McMillan, who had succinct praise for the Package.
"Lamar Odom, right now, he's an All-Star," said McMillan who was a part of the Team USA coaching staff this summer and worked closely with LO. "His numbers and what he's doing for that team, shooting the ball, rebounding, handling the ball -- he's playing great basketball for them."
Though he'd be honored, Lamar is unconcerned about accolades.
"I'm not sure [if I'll make the All-Star team]," Odom said. "When Andrew [Bynum] comes back when he's healthy, it's going to be a challenge because I'm going to come off the bench. It's something that I look forward to as far as a feat. I don't know how many guys make the All-Star team and come off the bench. But, if I can keep playing at this level and stay focused, confident, then I'll give it a shot."
Either way, LO's Sunday night was definitely first-team All NBA. He scored 21 points and again did it with stellar shooting, going 10-15 from the field, his sixth game above 66 percent shooting this year. The performance bumped LO back up to fifth in the NBA in shooting at 62.7 percent. He still leads the NBA with a 69.2 percentage from beyond the arc.
He backed up his solid scoring night with a big effort on the glass, pulling in 12 rebounds on the evening, getting back into double-digit boards for the first time in four games.
The effort gave Lamar his fourth double-double through seven Laker games. Last season, No. 7 didn't record his fourth double-double until Los Angeles' 25th game of the year. His helped LA to open the season 7-0 for just the fifth time in franchise history and Lamar said, simply, that this team is firing on all cylinders.
"The playoff experience, playing in big games, helps your confidence and our cohesiveness. Everything that we do is pretty tight," LO told ESPN's J.A. Adande. "We know how to get stops, how to cover for each other. Right now we've got a team, a group of guys that play together and are really comfortable."
On Friday night, the Toronto Raptors came to town and though Lamar never found his shooting touch, he contributed in other ways.
No. 7 collected nine rebounds and dished three dimes in the Lakers' 108-103 win. Lamar went just 2-of-10 from the floor but still finished with seven points.
Lamar had another one of his Team USA coaches in the building Friday, Raptors head coach Jay Triano, who was an also assistant on the team. Triano said he left the world championships in Turkey thoroughly impressed with the swingman's game.
"Being with him for that amount of time, I developed an incredible amount of respect for him,'' Triano told the Toronto Sun.
From Triano's view, Lamar provided the veteran presence the team needed, pulling on his experience as a twice-over NBA champion.
"He was the glue on that team. He was the leader, he was the veteran who had a won a championship and with all these young players he knew how to lead. He was a total pro. He showed up every day, did exactly what was asked and made plays when plays needed to be made."
The stellar performance of Kevin Durant may have stuck out to many, but Triano claims No. 7 was the difference in the tournament.
"(Kevin) Durant was very good, but (Odom) was the reason that team was as good as it was on the defensive end, which is why it won."
The Lakers will get a chance to go to 8-0 Tuesday night, when the face the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves.
In Lamar's last game against the T-wolves, he put up a 12-13 double-double. Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 and the game can be seen on FS West.
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