T.J. SIMERS

Clippers' Lamar Odom is payoff as T.J. Simers plays favorites

The columnist has been waiting and waiting for Odom to emerge, and he does just that in the Clippers' Game 2 victory over Memphis. Odom also sets in motion Chris Paul's dramatics.

Lamar Odom, Marc Gasol

Clippers forward Lamar Odom and Marc Gasol battle for the ball. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / April 22, 2013)

Oh me, oh my. Finally, the payoff.

And I'm not even talking about Chris Paul's exhilarating, awesome, magical, 93-91 game-winner.

I begin with Lamar Odom, who is my favorite athlete, and apparently Blake Griffin's as well. Griffin has come running off the bench to throw a bear hug around Odom, and there's still much of the fourth quarter to play.

OK, so Paul is a close second as my favorite athlete. Very close. And my favorite closer.

But I've been waiting and waiting for Odom, the Clippers doing the same in getting someone 30 pounds overweight to start the season, and the payoff is a difference-maker.

I go back 14 years, when Odom scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his first ever start for the Clippers, and he has the ability to do the same now even as Khloe's old man.

And while it might not be all that evident in a box score, he did help shift Game 2 in the Clippers' favor with a string of heady plays all-too-familiar to Lakers fans who might recall an earlier championship run.

He set the stage for Paul's dramatics, as Paul scored the team's final eight points, including the final basket with 0.1 of a second remaining. There was no time whatsoever for Memphis to do anything but start thinking about what it's like to be down 2-0.

We expect Paul, of course, to take the last shot, although it seemed to come as somewhat of a surprise to the Grizzlies. We expect him to carry the Clippers on his back, as he has already put them on the NBA map.

But it's Odom on top right now, and yes, I know he's not perfect. And yes, he has the potential to disappoint at times, and I don't get the whole Kardashian thing, although it's none of my business.

I know Odom blew it in Dallas, but those people who booed him think Tony Romo is great, so what do they know?

"The Clippers were patient, understanding and committed,'' says Odom, "and I am most appreciative.''

So are the people now on their feet in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, a tight game briefly blown open by Odom's long-range vision.

He grabbed a rebound and completed a court-length pass to Matt Barnes, and I'd like to see Romo do that.

Barnes got a pair of free throws, then at the opposite end, Odom blocked a Zach Randolph shot and later fed Eric Bledsoe for a layup. That's more excitement than anyone saw in 48 minutes of basketball between the Lakers and Spurs.

It would still take Paul to finish off Memphis, the game tied with a little more than 13 seconds to play.

But it's Lawler's Law, I think, or will be. If the ball is in Paul's hands, the game is over.

::

Hello, is anybody home?

Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler said he saw a tweet at halftime, and I would guess it's the first tweet he's ever seen.

Connect
Advertisement

VIDEO