A national television audience got a chance to see Lamar Odom at his best Thursday night, to see the 6-10 Lakers forward change the momentum of the game, to see why he has emerged as one of the top candidates for the NBA’s sixth man of the year award.
Odom had nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter. He had four of his 11 rebounds and one of his three assists in the final quarter.
His play went a long way in helping the Lakers roll past the Dallas Mavericks, 110-82, in an ejection-filled, feisty, playoff-intensity game at Staples Center.
Before the game started, Odom needed 14 points to reach 12,000 for his career.
By doing so, Odom became just the 23rd player in NBA history to exceed 12,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists.
“That’s cool,” Odom said. “Hopefully I can finish the season out and get that sixth man award.”
You could almost detect a sense of pride from Lakers Coach Phil Jackson after the game.
“It was definitely a showcase for his sixth-man award,” Jackson said.
Odom said it’s an award he’d like to get so he can share it with the supportive Lakers fans, with his teammates, his family and all those who have been around through his “journey.”
“The NBA has been a blessing,” Odom said. “It’s just not for me. My son [Lamar Jr.] is nine years old and he loves to watch me play. It trickles all the way down to my [Queens, New York] neighborhood. I would love to do it for just them.”
If any of them stayed up to watch Odom play Thursday night, they saw a player that took things into his own hands.
His three-pointer to end the third quarter gave the Lakers an 82-70 lead.
His three-pointer to start the fourth gave the Lakers an 85-70 lead.
His third consecutive three-pointer gave the Lakers an 88-70 lead and forced the Mavericks to call a timeout with 11:20 left.
Kobe Bryant was one of the first Lakers to reach Odom during the timeout, wrapping him up in bear hug.
“I just kind of took the shots that were there. Simple as that,” Odom said. “I’ve been working on my shot and I feel confident about shooting the ball from anywhere on the court -- whether it’s 15 [feet] or 25. I’m just taking shots and making them and knocking them down.”
Odom took another three-pointer, but he missed.
But he wasn’t done being a one-man wrecking crew.
He scored on a driving layup for a 90-70 Lakers lead. That gave Odom 11 consecutive points.
He finished the game six-for-10 shooting from the field, three for four from three-point range.
“It’s all about making the right play,” Odom said. “When I come in, I try to make the right play and sometimes the right play can change the momentum. Of course I try to rebound the ball and push it and try to get other guys involved. That’s what I tried to do when I first got into the game [Thursday night] and I was effective at it.”