Lakers forward Lamar Odom finds his game

Just about everybody was calling out Lamar Odom.

Phil Jackson wondered a few games ago when the Lakers’ forward would stop being “M.I.A.” Ron Harper said somebody needed to put an ad on a milk carton and ask, “Where’s Lamar Odom?”

Then the media weighed in on Odom’s regular-season effort with barely a shrug: Odom finished sixth in the voting for sixth man of the year after his numbers were slightly down in many categories.

But a few hours after the announcement, Odom came up with his sharpest half of the Lakers’ first-round playoff series in the Lakers’ 111-87 Game 5 victory over Oklahoma City.

He was averaging 7.8 points and 6.5 rebounds before Game 5 but helped keep the Lakers well ahead of the Thunder with an aggressive first half in which he had seven points, five rebounds and two blocked shots. He finished with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Coming into Tuesday’s game, as Odom and Ron Artest bore the brunt of the Lakers’ problems this series, Jackson laid out what Odom needed to do.

“He’s got to rebound the ball and do the things he does for us, and that’s initiate our offense,” Jackson said. "[Serge] Ibaka is a talented athlete. He’s done a really good job on Lamar. Lamar hasn’t found open lanes to drive. He’s got four or five offensive fouls trying to overdo it.”

Atlanta guard Jamal Crawford easily won the sixth man award, determined by 122 writers and broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada.

Crawford had 580 voting points, followed by Dallas guard Jason Terry (220 voting points) and Cleveland forward Anderson Varejao (126). Odom received one first-place vote, six second-place votes and two third-place votes for a total of 25 points.

He averaged 10.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in the regular season and shot only 46.3%, his lowest accuracy since 43% with Miami in 2003-04.

Still No. 1

Kobe Bryant hasn’t been entirely healthy this season, but his jersey sales have been robust.

The Lakers guard led all NBA players in jersey popularity for a second consecutive season, outselling Cleveland forward LeBron James, Boston forward Kevin Garnett, Chicago guard Derrick Rose and Orlando center Dwight Howard.

Lakers forward Pau Gasol finished 14th based on sales at and at the NBA store in New York. Specific figures were not available, but merchandise sales were up a combined 20% at the two retail outlets compared to last season, according to the NBA.

The Lakers led the league in overall merchandise sales for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. Boston had the second-most merchandise sales, followed by Cleveland, Chicago and New York.

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