Odom injury an added cause for concern


As if things weren’t bad enough for the Lakers, they added injury to insult.

Forward Lamar Odom sat in the locker room with two electro-stim pads attached to his lower back as he slowly, almost achingly, pulled on his clothes, as good a metaphor as any after the Lakers’ 99-87 loss Sunday to Houston in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Odom is scheduled to have an MRI exam and CT scan today in Los Angeles after landing hard on his back on an off-balance driving layup attempt in the third quarter. Odom ran into Houston forward Shane Battier on the play and was called for charging.

Odom, averaging only 8.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in this series, will not practice today and wasn’t sure whether he could play Tuesday in Game 5.


“Hopefully I can help them,” he said. “I tried to take it to the hole hard and kind of leave off of one foot, and that’s when you’re most vulnerable. I thought Battier slid in kind of late. Pain. Immense. It hurts.”

Odom had two points and six rebounds in 25 minutes of Game 4.


What about Bynum?

Odom wasn’t the only frontcourt player to struggle for the Lakers.

Trevor Ariza started the game with a turnover and finished with five points. More notably, Andrew Bynum played only 11 minutes and went scoreless for the second time in this series. He had three fouls, two rebounds and one turnover.

“It looks like it takes him some time to get himself involved in the ballgame right now,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “His hands weren’t good when he came in. He had a fumble, little things like that.

“We went to him early in the second half to try and get him involved and have an influence in the ballgame -- plug the lane, block some shots, do some things. Never happened.”


They agree!

Jackson and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban actually see eye to eye on something. They’ve lobbed barbs at each other over the years, but Jackson apparently felt bad that the Mavericks lost a playoff game the way they did Saturday night.

Mavericks guard Antoine Wright tried to foul Denver forward Carmelo Anthony in the final seconds because the Mavericks had a foul to give, but the referees did not call anything and Anthony hit a game-winning three-pointer. About an hour later, the NBA sent out an e-mail saying the referees had erred and a foul should have been called before Anthony ever had a chance to shoot.


“It’s pretty hard to imagine losing a playoff game in that venue without being extremely bitter and having a very difficult time overcoming that,” Jackson said. “We’re disappointed that we’re not quite getting things right yet.”