Lamar Odom takes to new-old reserve role
The transition to the bench has been seamless for Lamar Odom.
He was sent there two games ago, becoming a substitute so Andrew Bynum could move back into the starting lineup at center.
Odom has played at a high level in both games as a reserve.
He had 24 points on 10-for-15 shooting, five rebounds and two assists against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night and 18 points on eight-for-13 shooting, seven rebounds and four assists against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.
“Starting doesn’t mean anything to me as a coach,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “I know it means something to players because of that. But when you’re sharing minutes, it’s taking a load off. It’s a very effective way of being able to play the game.”
Odom is having a solid season, averaging 15.9 points per game, third best on the team, and 9.5 rebounds, second best. He’s making 57.9% of his shots.
“He’s still kind of a lackadaisical guy,” Jackson said. “He’s a guy that is playing the game, his approach is there and he’s ready. He’s been in a good frame of mind to think about basketball. That’s one thing we’ve noticed.”
Finding their stroke
During their recent three-game losing streak, the Lakers couldn’t shoot straight.
But during the subsequent two-game winning streak, they’ve knocked down shots.
The Lakers shot 45.5% in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, 40.5% in the Christmas Day loss to the Miami Heat and 35.4% in the loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Then they shot 58.6% in the win at New Orleans and 51.2% in the victory over the 76ers.
“We’re starting to shoot the ball better and that in itself is an advantage,” said Jackson, who gave his team Saturday off before they play the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night at Staples Center. “We play a ton of games in January so I anticipate that playing is going to get our shooting back in rhythm.”
The Lakers play 15 games in January, 10 at home.
They will have key games this month at home against the New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz and Boston Celtics. They’ll also travel to Dallas and Denver for big games.
Blake’s shot missing
Steve Blake’s shot has betrayed him. And even though he doesn’t show his emotions and remains on an even keel, he admits he’s frustrated at not being be able to put the ball in the basket.
“I get frustrated because I don’t like to miss,” Blake said. “After the game I get upset, yeah. I feel like I’ve let my teammates down. That’s what bothers me more than anything.”
Over a recent seven-game stretch, Blake has made just seven of 32 shots (21.8%), and four of 24 three-point attempts (16.6%).
He knows that as a reserve, he won’t get that many shooting opportunities and that if he misses the few shots he gets, it can quickly pile up.
But Blake said that is not an excuse.
“When you’re in the game, you focus on the game at hand,” Blake said. “You have to have a short memory sometimes. You can’t be thinking about the past too much. That’s kind of the way it is. It’s a long season. You’ll miss some, but hopefully you’ll make more than you miss.”