When the moment arrived, Lamar Odom said he wanted to “seize” it, to do his part to help the Lakers get by the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night at Staples Center.
Odom played well throughout for the Lakers, standing tall in starting for center Andrew Bynum, who served the first game of his two-game suspension issued by the NBA on Sunday for a flagrant foul, type two.
Odom finished with 16 points on eight-for-11 shooting, 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals in 41 minutes 36 seconds.
“Lamar was OK tonight,” Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said. “He was really good. There were some things I was working on him with. They seemed to be into his one-handed rebounds and they were tipping it away from him for offensive boards.”
There was a short span in the fourth quarter when Odom became assertive, when he seized the moment.
The Lakers still were sort of stumbling along, trailing by six points in the fourth.
Odom had the ball at the top of the key, eyeing Portland’s defense.
He drove to the right side, dribbling with his left hand, his strong hand.
When Odom got to the basket, he scored on a right-handed layup.
“He still went off the wrong foot,” Jackson said, laughing. “But it was nice.”
About a minute later, Odom cut down the lane without the basketball, making himself available.
Pau Gasol noticed Odom under the basket all alone and made the pass.
On Portland’s next possession, the Trail Blazers missed a shot and Odom got the defensive rebound.
That led to a layup for Kobe Bryant that pulled the Lakers even at 74-74 and a timeout by the Trail Blazers.
The momentum had begun to shift for the Lakers.
“It’s about making plays,” Odom said. “Pau and Kobe attract too much attention and there’s going to be a part of the game — a two-minute span, a minute span — where you can kind of have an impact.
“If the floor is open, you just try to make the play that’s in front of you. With these guys on the court, you’re going to have those moments. I just tried to seize that moment.”
Odom was two for three in the fourth quarter for four points.
He played good defense as well.
“It’s not about me. It’s about the Lakers,” Odom said. “I just tried to keep my focus, keep my poise. There are enough plays out there to make.”
The Lakers are 12-1 since the All-Star break.
They play again Tuesday night at home, and Odom will be in the starting lineup again in place of Bynum.
“At this point of the season, it’s all about finding a way to win,” Odom said. “It’s not about stats, scoring or proving myself. I’m past that as a professional and as a member of this team. It’s about winning.”