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Odom Is Burning It Up

Times Staff Writer

The keys to the Laker-Sun series were supposed to be Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Shawn Marion, even Kwame Brown.

Lamar Odom’s name was hardly mentioned, but the Laker forward is averaging 21 points, 10.5 rebounds, four assists and 63% shooting in two games.

He is also scraping the court for highlight-reel material, such as his floor-burn save of a rebound that he passed to Bryant for a dunk late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ Game 2 victory.

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“Plays like that are probably the plays that I’m most proud of as a player,” Odom said. “A lot of people would think that my game is finesse and maybe sometimes weak if I don’t always dunk the ball and I don’t play over the rim.

“But if the ball is on the floor or going into the stands, or I have to pick somebody or have to fight with somebody, I don’t mind doing it.”

Odom has been a triple threat against the Suns, scoring, passing and rebounding with efficiency, perhaps propelling himself to a new level of recognition.

“People ask you who the best 15-20 players are in the NBA, my name probably won’t come up in any poll,” he said. “But I think everybody that I’ve played against in the NBA pretty much knows what I’m capable of, as far as moving from small forward to power forward to playing point forward on this team. I know what I bring every night to every team that I’ve been on.”

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Laker Coach Phil Jackson, on the recent play of Bryant: “Right now, he’s really confident that his teammates can do things out on the floor and he’s helping them develop their game. And I think that


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