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Lakers Need Odom, Gasol to Bounce Back

SAN ANTONIO - It what is slowly becoming the Series of Accountability, Lamar Odom was the latest person to blame himself for his team's failings in the Western Conference finals. Odom said it was his fault that the Lakers lost Game 3, right after Manu Ginóbili said he was the reason the Spurs lost the first two games in Los Angeles.

Ginóbili backed up his words by putting the Spurs on his back while scoring 30 points on Sunday - the weight of carrying the team not unbearable for his balky ankle.


Brent Barry blocked my shot? My bad, y'all. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Now it's on Odom, who has been down, up and down through the first three games. He was absent before making a late, game-tying layup in Game 1 (8 points, 8 rebounds), a difference maker in Game 2 (20 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks), and a non-factor in the Lakers' 103-84 loss in Game 3 (7 points, 11 rebounds). Actually, he wasn't a non-factor. He just factored more in helping the Spurs than his team. Odom missed 9 of 11 shots, 5 of 8 free throws, and had five turnovers.

"Not acceptable," Odom said of his performance. "I'll take the blame on that."

His trouble started in the first quarter, when he spotted Pau Gasol cutting to the basket for a layup. Instead of tossing up an alley-oop that had worked well in Los Angeles, he threw a bounce pass that was so low that it really just rolled out of bounds. Gasol lifted his hands to show Odom where he should've made the pass.

"I threw it away," Odom said. "That's not acceptable right now."

It got worse for Odom while Kobe Bryant sat on the bench at the start of the second quarter, with the Lakers leading 24-21. Odom had a three-second violation, missed a jump shot, had his jumper blocked by Brent Barry (yes, Brent Barry), and missed another layup before Bryant replaced him with 8:44 left in the half - and the Lakers trailed 27-26.

Odom didn't get much better as the night progressed. "When it rains it pours and [Sunday] I guess it poured," he said. "That run that Kobe went on (when he hit four three-pointers in a five-minute span in the fourth quarter) made me a little bit more upset because I know if the game is tight or it's close, he can get us out of the hole, but last night was too big."

He already knew what he had to do for a better showing in Game 4 tonight. "The opportunities are right there. I know what I need to do - move, get to the paint, just finish it," Odom said. "Dunk the basketball. Attack the rim a little harder. Finish at the free-throw line."

His performance may have been tolerable if Gasol had played better. But Gasol also had a rough outing, as he missed 11 of his 18 shots, with many coming close to the basket.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson singled out Odom and Gasol after the game, saying that weren't aggressive enough.


This is not fun.(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Gasol agreed, saying that he and Odom missed shots that they normally make. "It was more of our fault, than their credit," Gasol said of the Spurs. "A little bit indecisive, not aggressive enough finishing. I didn't finish strong enough. I was just kind of floating a few shots and they weren't going in."

Asked what he told Odom and Gasol, Jackson said, "I said what I wanted to say to them [Sunday] night."

What was that?

"I can't remember," Jackson said.

The Lakers need Odom to play with control aggression because he is the one player other than Bryant who creates matchup problems for the Spurs. He's 6-foot-10, left-handed, quick and extremely versatile. He has benefited from Gasol's presence, since it allowed him to slide into the role as third option and pick on secondary defenders.

Neither Fabricio Oberto, Robert Horry nor Kurt Thomas should be able to keep up with him. Jackson was asked what he can attribute to Odom's performance oscillating from all-star to gone star from game to game.

Jackson shrugged. "The Bronx, maybe," he said. "What else could I attribute it to?"

When Jackson was told that Odom is from Queens, N.Y., he laughed and shrugged again.

"We are pretty comfortable we can get Lamar back on track, and you are right, once it gets going bad for him, sometimes he can't turn his game around in the course of the night," Jackson said. "That's one of the things we keep talking about, trying to recapture your ball game even though things haven't gone well for you early."

If the Lakers can get Odom going early, they have a good opportunity of stealing Game 4 and going home with a chance to close out the series on Thursday.

By Michael Lee  |  May 27, 2008; 1:27 PM ET
 
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Comments

In the paint.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 27, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I blame the Lakers loss on the fact that Mike Penberthy didn't even show up.

Posted by: InsideHoops.com | May 27, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

They will also need Trevor Ariza to step up his game if they want to win game 4.

Posted by: Fortune Teller | May 27, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

It's all about the Kobester.

Posted by: KOBE24MVP | May 27, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Odom is really baffling. He has so much talent, but he doesn't seem to have the confidence to let loose on the floor. When he is rolling he looks great, when he isn't he doesn't. You look at him and see all-star talent, but something is missing.

Posted by: misguided bullets | May 27, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Mike and Kobe sitting in a tree......

;);)

Just kidding man, I know you're loving life right now since Kobe is still in it and has a chance to win a championship. :)

- Ray

Posted by: Ray | May 27, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I hate Robert Horry

Posted by: NFeKPo | May 27, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

How Does This Sound.........

Wizards Trade:

1. Gilbert Arenas
2. 18th Pick
3. Something else...maybe Blatche...

To Clippers for:

1.) Elton Brand
2.) Clippers 1st Rounder...7th Overall...

Then we hope Jarryd Bayless falls to us...if he doesnt DJ Augustin would be there for the taking as will Russel Westbrook...

08-09 Staring Line-Up:

PG - The PG we take with the 7th Pick
SG - DeShawn Stevenson/Caron Butler
SF - Caron Butler/Antawn Jamison
PF - Elton Brand
C- Brendan Haywood

Caron can start at the SG if they decide to have Jamison start at SF...

What do you think?...

Posted by: Fulvio aka wiz-skins07 | May 27, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I think it's nice to have a dream.

Posted by: kalorama | May 27, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

get rid of gilturd.

for a ham sandwhich, condiments, and a tab soda.

now.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 27, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | May 27, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

For last time Elton Brand is a liability!!!comming off an injury that could have derailed his carrer why take a chance, if had not been hurt he more than likely would not be available unless you would want to trade the "farm" and the future I say draft Roy Hibbert, he might fall to eighteen keep the team intact and give EJ one more shot Eddie, the clock is ticking.

Posted by: DARGREGMAG@AOL.COM | May 27, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Brand is hardly a liability. but, by the same token, there's nothing but speculation that he's "available." And even i he was available, it's not likely he would be available to the Wiz for Arenas.

Posted by: kalorama | May 27, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

The Lakers-Spurs series is oddly parallel to the Wiz-Cavs so far... Lakers win a tight game 1 at home and then a blow out. Spurs win a blowout at home and then lose a close one to the visitors on some odd calls.

Why would we trade Gilbert for Brand?

Think harder folks.

Posted by: khrabb | May 28, 2008 7:21 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: | May 27, 2008 6:37 PM

hahaha, if you get your wish be prepared to spend the next 3 years on the outside looking in to the playoffs. Without Arenas, Jamison won't want to be here either - he'll be heading home. And perhaps Butler would be looking for greener pastures, but who knows he may want to be numero uno on a mediocre team.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 28, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

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