Lamar Odom Reappears, And That's Trouble For Opponents

Lamar OdomDepending on how you look at it, Lamar Odom is either the Lakers' secret weapon or a flake whose inconsistency holds back the whole team. That's pretty much in line with his career: He's as talented and versatile a player as you'll find in the NBA, but he very rarely seems to figure out what to do with that talent and versatility.
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↵Certainly that has been the case for Odom in these playoffs, especially in the Western Conference finals against the Nuggets. He began the regular season coming off the bench, then returned to the starting lineup (and went berserk) when Andrew Bynum went down. And while Bynum's return has provided some size inside for the Lakers, it also has displaced Odom. In the 16 games before Wednesday, he was in double figures just eight times, with five of those coming in the opening-round rout of the Jazz. On Wednesday, however, Odom had arguably his best game of the playoffs, if nothing else because of its timing.
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↵With 19 boards, 14 boards and four blocks, he was the Lakers' best player not named Kobe Bryant. When a guy who has previously been MIA goes off like that, the Lakers win. And what's so scary about L.A. is that Odom has thus far just been along for the ride.
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↵This team has made it to the conference finals without anyone but Kobe really bringing it every night. Pau Gasol has complained about a lack of touches in the post; Trevor Ariza has made a name for himself in part with his play, but also because other Lakers have failed showing up consistently.
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↵There's been a little bit of Jordan Farmar or Derek Fisher here and there, or spurts of Bynum or Shannon Brown that have made people think they deserve a bigger role. Odom, too, has had his moments. But he's the one you want to see sustain it for an entire game. You want to see him follow through on what it always seems he could be, or could contribute if things fell into place. If you're a Laker fan, you like seeing Lamar Odom in top form because it means your team's headed for a win. What makes other people queasy is that this team could win a championship without Odom having to have another big night.
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↵For more NBA coverage, visit SportingNews.com's new NBA blog, The Baseline.↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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