Odom needs to try new angles

Times Staff Writer

DALLAS -- Kobe Bryant knows the triangle offense so deeply that he sometimes cuts right to the part where he gets the ball, skipping a step or two to get it in his hands.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson says he hopes Lamar Odom starts doing the same thing.

Odom has struggled on offense in recent games, bottoming out with a four-point effort Friday in the Lakers’ 112-105 loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

He has scored more than 15 points only once in his last 11 games, a stretch that has to be ended, quickly, and for a consistent period of time if the Lakers are to survive the lengthy loss of Andrew Bynum.


“Lamar doesn’t have that same ability to know how to get his own shot out of the offense the same way [Bryant does],” Jackson said. “Kobe can manipulate the offense to fit kind of how his profile is going to be that night. Lamar needs to start to do that. That’s some of the things we’ve asked him to do and asked the team to help him to do.”

Odom took nine shots against the Mavericks and made only two. He also had only two rebounds, a season-low for him.

He’s not alone in his slump.

Luke Walton took one shot and scored four points against Dallas. He has averaged 4.2 points over the last six games.

One person wasn’t overly concerned.

“It’s not about individuals,” Bryant said. “It’s not about Lamar or Luke. It’s about us playing well as a group.”

The tempo of Friday’s game was choppy because of 76 free throws, although Jackson wasn’t surprised. In the past, he has chided Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for sending tapes of referees’ calls to the league office.

“There’s a lot of focus on that in this organization,” Jackson said Friday. “You come in here, there’s a lot of fouls called a lot of times.”


The Lakers made 28 of 40 free throws (70%) and the Mavericks made 29 of 36 (80.6%).

The top team in each conference sends its coaches to take part in the All-Star game, although Jackson wouldn’t be too thrilled with such an occurrence.

“It’s an honor to be representing your team, but God help me if I have to go to the All-Star game,” he said dryly. “I think I have a reservation somewhere at a place to relax and retreat during that period of time.”

The All-Star game is Feb. 17 in New Orleans, four days after the Lakers complete a nine-game trip.

Bryant’s most recent mind-set, as interpreted by Jackson: “I just think that he’s [seen] the prospect of success on this team. We were hoping we could escape some of the injuries that we had last year and would go in strong for the rest of the year. That didn’t happen, but Kobe saw that the potential for this team to be very successful was there. I think that’s made him very comfortable.”