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JERRY CROWE

Lakers' Lamar Odom finds inspiration playing against the Celtics

Text messages from press row.

February 06, 2009|JERRY CROWE

Thursday night's game in Boston was worthy of June. . . .

It's hard to say which was more beneficial to the Lakers, Kevin Garnett's fouling out or Garnett's jousting with Lamar Odom and bringing the enigmatic Lakers forward out of his stupor. . . .

L.O. was no longer MIA in crunch time. . . .

David Beckham seems to have come to the realization that he was wasting his time in the United States. . . .

Some have suggested that LeBron James might one day pull an Oscar Robertson and average a triple-double. . . .

Will Barry Bonds ever go away? . . .

Darren Collison and his UCLA teammates might not be headed back to the Final Four, but the possibility seems a lot more realistic than it did only about a week and a half ago. . . .

The UCLA-Notre Dame basketball rivalry always benefited the Irish a lot more than it did the Bruins. . . .

Reader Dick Bank of Brentwood e-mails to note, "When Pete Carroll can't successfully recruit a player with the same last name" -- Los Angeles Cathedral High receiver Randall Carroll -- "then you know that [Rick] Neuheisel has made inroads." . . .

While Kobe Bryant's 61-point effort against the New York Knicks was a record for the so-called new Madison Square Garden, which opened in 1968, Wilt Chamberlain once scored 73 against the Knicks in the old Garden and Elgin Baylor, in the Lakers' inaugural season in Los Angeles, scored 71. . . .

Bryant's output, by the way, was only the ninth-best scoring effort against the Knicks, a list topped by Chamberlain's 100-point masterpiece in Hershey, Pa., and including a 68-point outburst by Pete Maravich in the Louisiana Superdome. . . .

Former heavyweight champion Ingemar Johansson, who died last week, fought for the heavyweight gold at the 1952 Olympics but was disqualified for not "giving of his best" in the final against L.A. Jordan High graduate Ed Sanders, the Swede backpedaling throughout the bout and not throwing a single punch. . . .

Two years later, Sanders died of a brain hemorrhage after being knocked out in his ninth professional bout. . . .

More fuel for those who believe former Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent belongs in the Hall of Fame: The only other players in baseball history who have driven in as many as 1,500 runs while mostly playing the middle infield are Rogers Hornsby, Cal Ripken and Alex Rodriguez. . . .

The Chicago Cubs, who make their spring training home in Arizona, last won the World Series in October 1908, 3 1/2 years before Arizona was granted statehood. . . .

Look-alikes, as submitted by reader Tom Black of Long Beach: Oscar De La Hoya and Donny Osmond. . . .

Interestingly, Osmond in 1994 lost a split decision against fellow child star Danny Bonaduce in a charity bout and De La Hoya in 2000 released an album, "Oscar De La Hoya," of which allmusic.com wrote, "Coming from one of the best boxers of the last decade or so, this is a ridiculously lightweight record." . . .

Aaron Peirsol and Brendan Hansen, one-half of the relay team that gave Michael Phelps his eighth gold medal in Beijing last summer, probably will field more questions about buds and bongs than about swimming when they sit down for a Q&A and autograph signing March 14 at Lindberg Nutrition in Torrance. . . .

Speaking of Phelps, comedian and marijuana activist Tommy Chong marvels in a TMZ.com clip about the swimmer's "lung capacity" and notes, "He could suck down a kilo." . . .

It's not only Phelps, of course: In a video posted at WorldStarHipHop.com, former USC running back Justin Fargas of the Oakland Raiders appears with Oakland rapper Yukmouth, who is shown smoking pot and promoting its use. . . .

Yukmouth was formerly known as Smoke-a-Lot, so Fargas probably knew what he was getting into. . . .

The Pro Bowl, once a staple of the Southland sports calendar, was last played in L.A. 30 years ago and drew 38,333 to the Coliseum on a Monday night, with Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith calling the game for ABC. . . .

The game's most valuable player was wide receiver Ahmad Rashad of the Minnesota Vikings. . . .

Given a choice of four responses, 22% of USA Today readers participating in a survey this week said Manny Ramirez would blink first in negotiations with the Dodgers over a potential deal while 11% said the Dodgers would blink first. . . .

More than half said, "Why are we still talking about Manny?"

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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