Last Thursday, we witnessed the Celtics even the NBA Finals at 2-2. With Andrew Bynum’s knee again flaring up, and Lamar Odom filling in big minutes, the Celtics outscored the Lakers by 20 in the paint, won the battle of the boards and slowed the Laker triangle offense to stagnation.
Bynum said he should be able to play in Game 5, but no one can be sure how effective he’ll be. Hence, the Lakers desperately need Lamar Odom to play with some huevos, which as Odom admits, just isn’t his nature as a player.
Phil Jackson has gone public with displeasure — as he often does with players who need some firing up. In a L.A. Times report, Jackson essentially asks, where’s Lamar’s intensity at?
Odom had 10 points, seven rebounds and five fouls in 39 minutes, none of which did much for Jackson. The Lakers were privately concerned about Odom matching up against Kevin Garnett coming into the Finals, but they never envisioned him getting beaten by Glen “Big Baby” Davis as often as he did.
“I was thinking of an electrode, something that would really be a stimulus,” Jackson said. “He looked uncomfortable [Thursday] night and he got a couple double whammies to go against him, Garnett out there for a while and then he had Davis coming at him and things kind of snowballed on him.
“Lamar struggled two years ago in this series in this matchup, and he has to break through kind of that mental gap.”
As is often the case with naturally gifted hoopers like Odom, they fall comfortable in their position as a role player. To have much of a chance in Game 5, that’s going to have to change.
Jackson and the Lakers are desperate for LO to step up, and not play like he’s afraid to break a nail.