01/30/2012 - 11:08
LO Sizzles As Mavs Silence Jazz
It was only a matter of time before Lamar Odom would break out.
Lamar and the Mavericks believed it and their trust was justified when that time came on Friday night.
LO shined in what Coach Rick Carlisle called his "best game of the year" on Friday night as he and Mavericks overwhelmed Utah, 116-101. No. 7 contributed a season-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the floor, just two nights after a season-low 2-of-14 shooting performance against the Timberwolves.
"I didn't expect to play bad 66 games in a row," he said. "Tonight, the shots went in. I took open shots. It could have happened last game like that, but it just missed. … It's all about winning at the end of the day. That's all that really matters."
In addition to his strong showing on the offensive end, Lamar also added five rebounds and an assist in the 32-miinute effort. Carlisle cited No.7's all-around performance as one of the keys to a Dallas victory.
"I thought his all-around game was tremendous," Carlisle said. "He defended. He made plays on offense. He made some really high basketball-IQ plays; getting fouled at the three the one time. Not many guys have a feel for doing that when the shot clock is running down."
As a player who prides himself on the little things, Lamar knows that sometimes the shots don't fall, but acknowledges that it shouldn't matter because the all-around game is more important.
"It's not all about making shots," he said when asked about his season-high 19 points. "It's about making the right play, making stops, making defensive plays. Tonight I played a better all-around game."
But in many cases on Friday, the shots did fall for No. 7. LO got his fourth start of the season against Utah and opened them game hot, sinking a trey just 64 seconds into the contest. He added a couple rebounds before checking out of the close game late in the first.
When Lamar returned to start the second, he again wasted little time finding the net, as he knocked down a turnaround jumper in the lane to put the Mavs in front by two just over three minutes into the quarter. He added a finger roll midway through the quarter, putting the Mavs up six. At halftime, they held a 58-50 lead.
It was in the second half that LO really excelled, pouring in 12 of his 19 points after the break. After missing his first two shots of the half, Lamar came back aggressive and drove in for a layup, also drawing a foul. The subsequent free throw put Dallas in front by 12. Utah went on a mini run to cut that led in half but Lamar pumped it back up to eight with another drive in for a reverse and two points.
Early in the fourth No. 7 watched from the bench as the Jazz pulled within four, but when he came back into the game, LO put it away. Just 14 seconds after his re-entry, Lamar knocked down a trey to put the Mavs up 12. Then, after a C.J. Miles layup, Lamar came back to bury another three just 47 seconds later, pushing Dallas in front 99-86. They led by double-digits from there on the way to the win.
"I had fun. Just played the game and had fun and made some open shots," LO told ESPN Dallas. "It feels good. [There is] a lot of support since I've arrived on this team from all the players and everybody, the city of Dallas. They've made the transition comfortable. I'm proud to be a Maverick."
One of his biggest supporters has been teammate Shawn Marion, who noted that Lamar's best all-around game couldn't have come at a better time for the Mavericks, who were without key players Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd on Friday.
"[Lamar] had a great all-around game tonight and that's what we need," Marion said.
Coach Carlisle told reporters after the game that Friday was an important night for Lamar's growth into his role as a Maverick. Though it may have taken some time to adjust, Carlisle was never disheartened by No. 7's performance or skeptical of his abilities. Instead, he took LO under his wing and offered his support.
"[His performance Friday night] doesn't surprise me," the coach said. "This was coming and he's been very determined. There's been some bad luck along the way, but you've just got to stay at it. Our crowd really likes him. They like him because of what he's done with the Lakers for all of those years. I love him as a guy. It's taken a while for him to get a feel for everything. This is an important night, and now he knows what it's about."
When he was told what his coach had to say, Lamar couldn't help but grin.
"When your coach lets you know that he's got your back, it's important," he said. "I've got to carry it over. I already know what I can do. I've got to keep it going, keep it going and make it consistent."
THRILLING FINISH IN THE ALAMO
The busy weekend for Lamar and the Mavericks didn't stop with a Friday win over Utah.
On Sunday, Dallas headed over to San Antonio to take on a Spurs team with whom they are locked in a battle atop the Southwest Division. Both teams entered Sunday's game with identical 12-8 records and only one could come out of the weekend with the lead.
A win in San Antonio put the Mavericks atop the Southwest Division standings for the time being (Getty Images).
Lamar heeded his coach's advice to keep his nose to the grindstone and helped the Mavericks to another win. No. 7 grabbed another five boards while contributing four points on 2-of-5 shooting in his 19 minutes off the bench as the Mavs topped the Spurs, 101-100 in overtime.
LO attacked the glass early and collected three of his five rebounds in the first quarter. In addition he gathered two of his four points at the rim in the first, driving in for a banker with 34 seconds left to put the Mavs up 24-18 at the end of the quarter. He added his other bucket midway through the second, the jumper pushing the Dallas lead to 13.
The Mavs led by 11 at halftime and as much as 18 in the third, but a furious 23-4 Spurs run between the end of the third and the beginning of the fourth put the home team ahead. Dallas battled back from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to force overtime and pulled off the 101-100 win thanks to some Jason Terry heroics.
"Every game is so important right now," LO said. "With wins and losses, you'll see the 1-through-8 seeds just changing every night. It's important to get as many as you can and continue the momentum."
Lamar and the Mavs tackle a tough week ahead as they grind out the second of five games in seven days in Phoenix tonight against the Suns.
Monday's match-up will be back-to-back games for the weary and injury-riddled Mavs, but they've shown no signs of that slowing them down this season. They are currently 5-2 on the tail end of a back-to-back.
Catch tonight's action at 8 p.m. CST on Fox Sports Southwest.
- Lamar Odom finally has reason to smile (ESPN Dallas, Jan. 28, 2012)
- Lamar Odom now searching for consistency (Mavs Fastbreak, Jan. 28, 2012)
- Rapid Reaction: Mavs 116, Jazz 101 (ESPN Dallas / Fort Worth, Jan. 27, 2012)
- Jazz @ Mavs Post Game 20 Quotes "That kid Bubou is faaaaaasssst" (Mavs Moneyball, Jan. 28, 2012)
- Dallas Mavericks 116, Utah Jazz 101 (Pegasus News, Jan. 28, 2012)
- A message as Mavs top Jazz (Dallas Basketball, Jan. 27, 2012)
- Rick Carlisle: We believe in Lamar Odom (ESPN Dallas / Fort Worth, Jan. 26, 2012)
- Mavs-Spurs game has it all: Dirk's return, blown leads and a Mavs OT win (SportsDay DFW, Jan. 29, 2012)
- Box Score: Mavericks 101, Spurs 100 (ESPN.com, Jan. 29, 2012)
- Mavericks Survive Spurs Surge, Win in OT 101-100 (Mavs Moneyball, Jan. 29, 2012)
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