01/03/2012 - 12:02
LO Improves, Maintains Perspective
The process of integrating into a new system in Dallas has been a challenging one for Lamar Odom, but the way he has responded and the perspective he has says all you need to know about LO.
"It's humbling. It's a humbling game," LO told reporters recently. "It's a humbling experience. Life is the same way. You can win the jackpot, and then lose somebody close to you. Basketball is life. I'll continue to live, be a better man, and be a better basketball player as well."
LO made some big strides in Monday's win over OKC and attributed them to letting the game come to him (Getty Images).
Lamar made the best of his 21 minutes on Monday night, notching a season-high eight points in the Mavericks' 100-87 win at home over the formerly-undefeated Oklahoma City Thunder. But his contribution to the team wasn't limited to scoring. No. 7 also grabbed five rebounds and had two assists in the win.
After the game, Mavs' coach Rick Carlisle, who has carved out a plan to integrate LO and said that Lamar is working hard and logging extra practice time to achieve it, praised No. 7's performance on Monday and the strides he has made since arriving in Dallas.
"[His] best yet, and he's going to continue to improve," Carlisle said. "Tonight, we needed his ball-handling."
LO's biggest play came after being fouled on a layup with 5:36 to play in regulation. He sunk the +1 to complete the three-point play, which stopped a Thunder run as OKC attempted to claw back into the game in the fourth. The Mavs put the game away shortly thereafter.
"I just felt better, physically. I finally felt my legs a little bit under me and was able to keep focus, just try to make the right play," he told D210's Norrelle Dickson. "I took my time. Before the games I work out with coach, try to find my shot. I just took my time [tonight] and let the game come to me."
The win was the second of the season for Dallas, who picked up their first win on Friday night when Lamar had three points and four rebounds in a 99-86 victory over Toronto. However they lost by nearly the same margin two nights later, 99-82, in Minnesota despite seven points, three rebounds and two assists from LO. It's just the way the season has gone so far for the Mavs.
"There's ups, downs, valleys, peaks and a lot of humility involved [in basketball]," LO told D210. "Even when you watched the game tonight, I tracked a ball down, got an and 1 and before I got taken out of the game, I threw the ball away. It's just kind of up and down, up and down a lot. It resembles life like that."
The ups and downs have been team wide for the Mavericks, but they've been especially hard to stomach for No. 7, who is accustomed to playing at a certain level night in and night out.
"I've been good at basketball since I was like six," he said. "When people expect me to play well, I put double that pressure on myself. I always expect to perform at a certain level."
But adversity is nothing new to Lamar and so he told the Star-Telegram that once everything begins to click, and it is getting there, he'll be back to his old ways.
"When it happens you'll see a different player. That's basically what it is," he said. "I'm not sugar-coating it. My last three or four years, beat Orlando, best shape of my life; beat Boston, best shape of my life. Go win a gold medal, best shape of my life; come back with the Sixth Man (Award), best shape of my life. Some things happen that took me away from the game, took some time off. You've got to be right mentally as a person first before you do any of this."
And veteran teammate Jason Kidd believes Lamar is in the right place to shine when that time comes.
"Odom is on a team that wants to win, so he couldn't be in a better situation," Kidd said.
MAVS IN THE HOUSE
As the reigning NBA champions the Mavs will head to the White House to meet President Barack Obama next Monday.
The trip is a rite of passage for the championship winners and it'll be the third such trip in a row for LO, who told the Dallas Morning News that he'll don his best suit and shoes for the occasion.
"The trip itself, that's kind of the icing on the cake to be a champion," he said. "Going to the White House, it means a lot. It means we're on top. And it's definitely something the team will never, ever forget.''
Before Dallas hits the road for D.C. they have some unfinished business in the Lone Star State where they play their next three — two home games sandwiched around a trip to San Antonio.
The first of those three games is Wednesday when Lamar and the Mavericks take on the Phoenix Suns at home in the American Airlines Center. Tipoff is as 7:30 PM CST and the game can be seen on FS Southwest.
- Mavericks finally starting to come together (Fox Sports Southwest, Jan. 3, 2012)
- This time, Mavericks surprise Thunder (Boston Herald, Jan. 3, 2012)
- Mavs again flash superiority over young OKC (ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth, Jan. 2, 2012)
- Fresh Fit: Signs of life from Lamar Odom (ESPN Dallas/Fort Worth, Jan. 3, 2012)
- Mavericks' White House visit set for Jan. 9, but they had to do it themselves (Dallas Morning News, January 2, 2012)
- Lamar Odom On His Slow Start To The 2011 NBA Season (D210, December 31, 2011)
- Lamar Odom: Mavericks/Thunder Recap (D210, January 3, 2012)
- Quotes of the Week in the NBA (LA Times, December 31, 2011)
- Mavs @ Wolves Post Game 5 Quotes "Answer Back, pls" (Mavs Moneyball, January 2, 2012)
- Thunder @ Mavs Post Game 6 Quotes "Progress (Mavs Moneyball, January 3, 2012)
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