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On edge against Pacers, Odom slices up Wizards

Times Staff Writer

Lamar Odom knew it was out of character, so he fixed it.

He was angry and irritable during the Lakers’ loss Friday to Indiana, yelling when Andrew Bynum didn’t have his hands out for a pass, seething on the bench during a timeout, on edge with his postgame answers to the media.

So he approached a few teammates before Saturday’s game against Washington. And he apologized.

“I lost my composure a little bit last night,” he said. “Can’t let that happen. You’ve got to check yourself a little bit, know what I’m saying? Let those guys [know], if you hurt their feelings or not, you humble yourself, say sorry. Be a man about it. That’s why I was able to kind of put that behind me and move on and play this game.”

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Odom had 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in the Lakers’ 118-102 victory over Washington.

His first five games back after a 6 1/2 -week layoff were mostly ragged and turnover-filled, so much so that Coach Phil Jackson commented on it earlier in the day.

“He’s really struggled right up to this point,” Jackson said. “Things have not gone easily for him right away.”

Odom was also criticized by Jackson for “just trying to force it and being too aggressive.”

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That had to be a first -- the normally deferential Odom singled out for being overly aggressive. But existing evidence could be traced to Friday night against Indiana, when he had 10 points and six turnovers.

Maybe that’s why he kept his left hand held high while running down court after making a pair of fourth-quarter three-pointers against Washington. It was cathartic, a release of sorts.

“Those feel good, especially when they work as daggers,” Odom said. “I guess if you leave your hand up there, you’re turning [the knife] a little bit. Of course it felt good.”

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After leaving Indiana on Friday night, the Lakers didn’t check into their hotel room until almost 3 a.m. Saturday, another reason Jackson called for a sightseeing tour instead of a shoot-around later in the morning. “I think there are other guys that haven’t seen it, like Kwame Brown,” Jackson said jokingly. “I heard he came here but I don’t think he ever did that.” ... Jackson, on what the near future holds for him: “My astrologist said that Mercury is moving out of its conjunction and it’ll be the right position for communication to go between coach and players the next couple of weeks.”

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mike.bresnahan@latimes.com


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