Loss of Odom is taking its toll
These are the times when Lamar Odom’s multidimensional game is missed by the Lakers.
A five-point road loss to Chicago. An embarrassing 16-point loss to Miami in front of a national TV audience. A stinging triple-overtime loss to one of the league’s worst teams.
Odom is out until at least mid-January and perhaps until early February because of a sprained knee ligament. An updated timetable could be available next week, Coach Phil Jackson said, but for now, the Lakers do what they can without the player who was averaging 17.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and supplying capable defense down low during the 38 minutes he averaged a game.
The Lakers are now 4-5 since Odom’s injury. Overall, they are 91-74 (.522 winning percentage) in games he has played with the Lakers and 7-22 (24.1%) in games he has missed.
“It’s tough because you don’t have another person out there to create opportunities besides myself,” Kobe Bryant said after the Lakers fell to Charlotte in triple overtime, 133-124. “Lamar’s a guy that you can give the ball to and have him create something. We’re kind of learning on the fly. I think it will pay off for us in the end.”
Charlotte Bobcats guard Matt Carroll had a career-high 27 points, bringing to mind something Jackson said recently.
Already this season, Washington’s Gilbert Arenas has scorched the Lakers for 60 points, Milwaukee’s Michael Redd had 45 and Dwyane Wade had 40 points and 11 assists.
“This is something that is not new,” Jackson said. “We used to come in the locker room [a few years ago] and say, ‘Who’s going to get his career-high tonight against us?’ We had guys that were maybe not first-rate players that were getting 30, 25 points against us. Now we’re having leading players getting 40 points and more. It is a little more different, the enormity of it.”
Devin Green, an undrafted player who made the Lakers’ roster last season, has left the Lakers’ Development League team to play for a EuroLeague team in Germany.
Green averaged 19.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 13 games for the D-Fenders. The D-League has another four months of games, but there are only five games left on the schedule for the Rhein Energie.
“It sounds ludicrous,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Former Lakers forward Slava Medvedenko signed with the Atlanta Hawks for about $600,000 for the rest of the season.
The Hawks have been decimated by injuries, with power forward Josh Smith out up to four weeks because of hernia surgery, and forwards Marvin Williams and Shelden Williams bothered by hand and shoulder injuries.
“I think Slava’s a good player,” Jackson said. “He should have an opportunity to do some things there. I think Slava had his opportunities with us. He had the chance to prove himself in the league. It was probably time for him to move on and find another place.”
Medvedenko averaged 5.4 points a game in almost six seasons before being waived last March.