02/21/2012 - 12:42
Vets Lead Mavs over Celtics
Lamar Odom and the road-weary Mavs headed back to Dallas last night for a matchup with the Boston Celtics and finished off another back-to-back in style.
It took some time for No. 7 to settle in, but the 6-10 forward did post four points, four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the 89-73 win over Boston. It was the Mavs' seventh win in eight games, their 13th victory at home this season and it produced a season sweep of the Celtics.
Though injury-riddled, the Mavericks easily handled Boston behind another solid defensive performance, holding them to just 39.2% shooting from the floor.
"We have a mature team, a team that knows how to get it done," Lamar said of the bounce back victory just one night after losing in New York.
Along with many of his veteran teammates, LO did the little things right for the Mavs, getting a steal here and a rebound there. After the game, he received encouragement from Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle:
"He's a knowledgeable, a terrific all-around player who's a great rebounder and a guy that has a special knack for putting the ball on the floor and making plays," Carlisle said. "Every year of his career, he's started out and gotten better as the year has gone along. He's done that here. He's made great progress."
Lamar made just two of his eight attempts in the victory, but Carlisle saw the night as an anomaly because LO's stroke has improved in the second quarter of the season.
"If you go back and look at it the last 15 games since he's really gotten into shape, my bet would be that it's significantly higher," Carlisle said. "I saw the first 15 games and I've seen the last 16 and there's been marked improvement."
Lamar is in fact shooting 10 percent better over the last 16 games, than he did over his first 15 contests. Still, LO isn't satisfied with his progress at this point and has vowed to continue working until he gets it right. The only thing he is satisfied about is that the Mavericks have been winning anyway.
"We're winning ballgames in the meantime, so I just keep at it, try to add to the chemistry of the team, add to the depth," he said. "Just keep taking [shots]. Can't make them if you don't take them."
Carlisle also noted that Lamar's role with the team has fluctuated as the season went on, and with Dirk Nowitzki healthy, performing and playing big minutes, the spots where LO can even make an offensive impact have been limited. Lamar is averaging only 21.5 minutes in the Dallas offense -- down nearly 14 minutes in comparison to his role in the Lakers' offense. Carlisle said that keeping the Mavericks' team chemistry in mind is important when assessing individual performances.
"I think it's important that everybody understand the situation he's in now is unlike any situation he's been in his entire career," Carlisle said. "One of the curses of our situation for him is that unless we have a guy like Dirk out, he's not going to get the 30- to 35-minute runs where he can just go out there and eventually roll up stats.
"He's now splitting minutes between 3 and 4, which affects his rebounding. And his playmaking is of a different nature at the three position. That's been a constant adjustment and he's making it."
As far as making that adjustment goes, Lamar is just taking it in stride, confident that the shots will start to fall and his impact will be felt as the Mavericks make a run at another championship.
"Even though I didn't start the last couple years, I've always finished games. So it's a little different. But I have to get used to it. This is what it is," LO said. "We got a chance to win the championship, a chance to be a championship contender. As a team, that's where you want to be."
LO and the Mavs get the chance to head into the All-Star Break on a two-game win streak when Lamar's former team comes to Dallas on Wednesday night.
The Mavs and Lakers will square off at the American Airlines Center on Wednesday night before both teams get a much-needed weeklong reprieve for the All-Star festivities.
Catch the tipoff at 8:30 p.m. CST nationally on ESPN or locally on Fox Sports Southwest.
- Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks (NBA.com, Feb. 21, 2012)
- Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks Post Game 33 Quotes (Mavs Moneyball, Feb. 21, 2012)
- Odom yet to live up to expectations with Mavs (Fox Sports Southwest, Feb. 21, 2012)
- Sherrington: Carlisle still trying to figure out Lamar conundrum (SportsDay DFW, Feb. 21, 2012)
- Rick Carlisle: Don't expect spectacular from Lamar Odom (ESPN Dallas / Fort Worth, Feb. 21, 2012)
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