Posted by Sekou Smith
LOS ANGELES – You can watch that recap from Game 2 of the NBA Finals (above) 100 times and you still won’t find a trace of Lakers forward Lamar Odom.
CSI LA would have a hard time finding traces of his DNA on this series, too.
Odom has more fouls (10) than points (8), rebounds (9) or shot attempts (9) through the first two games of this series.
Game 2 was particularly painful, considering the outcome, a 103-94 loss in which Odom saw all of 14 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
“It’s two games in a row,” he said. “Both on drives against Paul Pierce. It took me out of the game. I was only able to play 14 minutes. I couldn’t really contribute much, just in spirit. That’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.”
If it keeps bouncing that way for the Lakers, who could use a frontcourt boost from the bench when Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are playing great but Ron Artest is not, things could get really sticky for the Lakers in Boston.
They’re not known for being a tough and tumble road team. And that crowd in Boston will have no mercy on Odom or any other Lakers trying to play through a funk (besides, Celtics fans have to spend their time trying to help Kevin Garnett dig out of his own two-game mess).
“If I’m out there I’m going to produce, plain and simple” said Odom, who would love to have the kind of “lucky” game Suns center Amar’e Stoudemire said he had in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, when Odom lit up the Suns for 19 points and 19 rebounds. “I’d rather be out there and play bad than not have a shot.”
Odom’s crisis of confidence is understandable. This is his third straight trip to the Finals and his production has dipped consistently year after year.
Still, Lakers coach Phil Jackson remains confident that Odom will find a way … provided he stays on the floor long enough.
Jackson took the blame for the three quick fouls in Game 2 that sidelined Odom early.
“He got bang-bang, two fouls immediately and I turned to my crew and said, ‘do you think he can play through this?’ Jackson said. “And as I was talking to them, he got his third foul. So obviously, he couldn’t play through that sequence. He just basically got into the ballgame, got those three fouls and it really took him out of the ballgame. That’s a bit unfortunate for him. He’ll get a chance later on in this series to redeem himself.”
For the Lakers’ sake in Boston, that chance needs to come sooner rather than later.