Lamar Odom does better but still carries a weight


Lakers Coach Phil Jackson eased his way up to Lamar Odom before Friday night’s game against Minnesota and looked down at his power forward, who was reading a magazine.

Jackson needed to have a conversation with Odom about his uneven play Thursday night in a loss to the Denver Nuggets. He missed five of six shots, scored just five points and turned the ball over twice.

Odom had worked out in the weight room before that game.

“I said, ‘I think you left your game in the weight room rather than on the court,’ ” Jackson said. “He said, ‘Nah, I didn’t do anything extra.’ I said, ‘Well, do something extra tonight.”

After Friday’s 97-88 victory over Minnesota, in which Odom scored 13 points on six-for-13 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds, Jackson was asked whether Odom had provided what he wanted.

“No . . . and yet at the end of the game, he came up and made some shots and did the right thing,” Jackson said. “I just didn’t think he played with the attitude I like to see him play with, the lively, joyful attitude. He’s like a grumpy old man out there.”

Odom did play a big role late, hitting a jumper for a six-point Lakers lead, making a three-pointer for a nine-point lead and scoring again for an 11-point lead.

Told of Jackson’s comments, Odom smiled and said, “I am grumpy.”


“It’s been a long year for me. I’m tired, beat up,” said Odom, who has been playing with a sore left shoulder. “I’m pushing it as far as my offense is concerned.”

Old friends

For the third time this season, Jackson coached against one of his best friends, Minnesota Coach Kurt Rambis, who was on Jackson’s staff last season and was the defensive coordinator.

Rambis is coaching a young team, one that has the second-worst record in NBA, 15-64. The Timberwolves have lost 20 of 21 games.

All season, Jackson has offered encouragement to Rambis.

“I think he has organized his team well,” Jackson said. “I think he’s tried to build the spirit of a young team and pushed them to compete.”

More Mbenga?

With Andrew Bynum out because of a strained Achilles’ tendon, Jackson played DJ Mbenga 13 minutes 37 seconds against Minnesota.

Jackson said Mbenga, who had 11 points and two blocked shots, may get more playing time.

“I’ve even contemplated playing him with Pau [Gasol] because he’s playing that well at this time,” Jackson said. “[I’ll] put Pau at the ‘four’ [power forward] spot and do some things with the two of those guys.”