The string of memorable games for Lamar Odom finally came to an end.
The Lakers’ reserve forward had 11 points and only two rebounds and one assist in 32 minutes of Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
He was a main factor as the Lakers took the first two games against Orlando, but he didn’t have much of an impact Tuesday in the Lakers’ 108-104 loss.
Odom said before Game 3 that he had not been sleeping well because he was overly excited about the Lakers’ championship prospects, not to mention his high level of play in recent games.
“I can, like, visualize me making plays,” he said. “I’m just visualizing that we can’t lose, we won’t lose. I’m going to make the play. Just visualizing it, just saying ‘We are the champions,’ over and over and over and over and over in my head. I can’t even sleep.”
Odom averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds in the first two games of the Finals. He also averaged 19.5 points and 11 rebounds in the last two games of the Western Conference finals against Denver.
The Lakers made only 16 of 26 free-throw attempts (61.5%) in Game 3. What happened?
“Maybe it was that guy throwing that red flag up in the air,” Coach Phil Jackson said, referring to an Orlando fan under one of the baskets.
“Who knows what the difference is out there? A number of them went in and came back out. Those are the kinds of things that change a game. Kobe shooting five of 10 . . . that’s a difference-maker.”
Indeed, Kobe Bryant made only half of his free-throw attempts. “My rhythm was off at the free-throw line,” he said. “It was a bad night.”
Odom made three of five.
Orlando made 23 of 30 free-throw attempts (76.7%).
Rambis staying put
Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis will not be hired to coach the Sacramento Kings after being one of three finalists for the job.
The Kings on Tuesday hired former Pepperdine coach Paul Westphal.
Rambis and Boston Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau were also considered for the vacancy created when the Kings decided not to bring back interim coach Kenny Natt.
Rambis declined to comment Tuesday.
Still not goaltending
Pau Gasol, goaltender?
The debate continued between Games 2 and 3: Did Gasol improperly touch the rim on Courtney Lee’s missed layup attempt in the last second of regulation of Game 2?
NBA director of officials Bernie Fryer told The Times that a non-call was correct because Gasol did not alter the flight of the ball, but Jackson said “basket interference” should have been called.
“Yeah, he got his hand caught in the rim in that one, no doubt,” Jackson said.
Jackson, however, was quick to point out that the referees missed a more obvious goaltending earlier in Game 2 when Dwight Howard put his hand up through the basket to block a Gasol layup.
“I don’t think anybody has mentioned that one,” Jackson said.
As Shaquille O’Neal might have said, one goaltending non-call deserves another.