02/16/2012 - 12:15
Seven Draws Praise as Mavs top Denver
It appears as though Lamar Odom has hit a groove just in time for the Mavs to push hard into the All-Star Break.
In nearly 30 minutes on the hardwood Wednesday night, Lamar contributed 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field, pulled down three rebounds and served up two dimes as the Mavs crushed the Denver Nuggets 102-84.
it was another strong for night for LO, as he came off the bench to spark the Mavericks to a rout of Denver (Getty Images).
Mirroring the way his team jumped out to an early lead, LO put up a quick five points in back-to-back possessions right off the bench -- first on a putback layup off his own miss and then by draining a trey off a Shawn Marion assist.
No. 7 carried that intensity into the second, scoring five more of his 14 points in his six second quarter minutes. Lamar ended the first half leading all Mavs scorers with 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting. The Mavs led the Nuggets by 12 at halftime and Denver coach George Karl noted that LO was a big part of that.
"I think it's probably the best I've seen Odom play offensively all year," Karl said.
Karl wasn't the only coach to notice the fire in Lamar's eyes since he has adjusted to his role in the Mavs' offense. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle noted that LO's work has allowed the team to get rest for some of their veteran starters in the middle of games, namely Dirk Nowitzki.
"Odom is really doing a nice job for us now," Carlisle said. "When he plays the way he's playing, it gives us an opportunity to bring Dirk Nowitzki down to 32 minutes, which is huge for us. That's why it's important not to get carried away with Lamar's stats. The way he's fit into our team is important and meaningful."
LO added four points in the second half and played all 12 minutes of the final quarter as Dallas ran away with the win. Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game wrote that he was pleased to see a version of Lamar on Wednesday night who is confident and assured in his game.
"Earlier in the season, it was common to see Odom use the jumper as an escape; upon catching the ball on the perimeter, he would put up a jump shot as a way out of a possession rather than as a natural product of it. Now, Odom is catching the ball, and immediately moving to take advantage of his situation.
"If his defender is out of position, Odom might drive straight toward the basket to create productive play action. If he has some breathing room on the perimeter, he'll launch up a jumper without hesitation. His body language is good, his energy level is high, and — at the risk of reading too much into a solid performance — all seems right with the world."
Lamar was one of five Mavericks to finish in double figures on the scoreboard as the Mavs were content to share the rock all night, tallying 28 assists as a team.
Shawn Marion led scorers with 16, Vince Carter added 15, Jason Kidd got hot from three to score 13 and Nowitzki chipped in 12. Lamar's 14 points were his highest total since he scored 19 on Jan. 27.
"That's the strength of our team. Everybody just felt comfortable," LO said after the game of the team's unselfish play. "Depth is the strength of our team. Tonight it just so happened to be that the depth was in scoring."
The Mavs are now 9-1 in games when the team cracks 100 points. They're also riding a five-game winning streak in which they have scored near the century-mark, +/- five points, in each of the wins. But what's most telling of Lamar and the Mavs' recent success isn't actually a statistic at all -- it's an attitude.
"We're having fun playing together," Lamar said.
LO and the Mavs head East this weekend for a two-game road trip that will take them through Philadelphia and New York.
On Friday, the Mavs take on a tough Sixers team that currently sits atop the Atlantic Division. The nationally televised game will be a battle of a seasoned Mavericks squad and a young, but crafty Philly team. Then on Sunday, in another national TV game, LO and his Dallas brethren take on the New York Knicks. Lamar is expected to hold a big role in both games.
With point guards Delonte West and Rodrique Beaubois out until at least the All-Star Break, the Mavericks are in desperate need of ball handlers. Jason Kidd remains the starter and second year combo-guard Dominique Jones played 30 minutes off the bench on Wednesday, but coach Rick Carlisle said No. 7 will also have a role initiating the offense from the point forward position. It's a role Lamar says he is familiar and comfortable with.
"The strength of my game is my versatility," he said.
Friday's tipoff is scheduled for 7 PM CT on ESPN, but can also be seen on FS Southwest, while Sunday's game begins at Noon, exclusively on ABC.
- Mavericks Team Report (Fox Sports, Feb. 16, 2012)
- Denver Nuggets @ Dallas Mavericks Post Game 30 Quotes (Mavs Moneyball, Feb. 16, 2012)
- Denver Nuggets @ Dallas Mavericks Box Score (NBA.com, Feb. 16, 2012)
- Praise for Odom (Dallas Morning News, Feb. 15, 2012)
- The Difference: Dallas Mavericks 102, Denver Nuggets 84 (The Two Man Game, Feb. 16, 2012)
- With few options, Mavericks turn to Lamar Odom to provide assists (Dallas Morning News, Feb. 16, 2012)
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