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Lamar Odom is back up, though Lakers are downed

Despite his team's loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the forward's strong performance -- including 10 points in the fourth quarter -- is a good sign.

February 25, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Dallas — It was a totally different Lamar Odom.

And even with that, even with him leading the Lakers in scoring with 21 points, Odom pointed out that "it didn't matter because we lost" to the Dallas Mavericks, 101-96, Wednesday night at American Airlines Center.

What mattered most to Odom was that he was feeling better physically against the Mavericks.

What mattered most to Odom was that his spirits were higher Wednesday night than they were Tuesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Odom on Wednesday night was more aggressive than the one who played against the Grizzlies.

That Odom had just five points, just three rebounds and just two assists. That Odom missed four of his six shots.

"He had a game that he'd love to forget about," Lakers Coach Phil Jackson said about Odom's effort against Memphis. "We don't worry that much about Odom. He's a pro. He knows how to get himself ready."

Odom was a different player against the Mavericks.

He was eight for 11 from the field.

He had seven rebounds and five assists.

He was big for the Lakers in the fourth, scoring 10 points. He was three for three from the field, including making his only three-pointer.

"I think I was feeling a little better, to tell you the truth -- physically," Odom said. "At this point of the year, things kind of hurt a little bit. [Tuesday,] I felt like they got the best of me. I wasn't as active. I was easy to push around."

When the Lakers fell into a nine-point hole late in the fourth on Wednesday, Odom tried to get them out of it.

He drove hard to the basket, scored and was fouled. Odom made the free throw for a three-point play that pulled the Lakers to within six points.

After Jason Terry scored, Odom made a 23-foot three-pointer to close the Lakers' gap to five points, putting the L.A. in position for one last run they were unable to make.

But the way Odom played was a good sign.

"Usually I get a workout before the game," Odom said. "Like in the afternoon, I just took that time to sleep today, got a massage. Of course I was hurting a little bit, got it rubbed out. I got a little workout in the end. I was feeling pretty good. I didn't go to shoot-around before the game. I let them work on me some more.

"Of course I was feeling pretty good, kind of cleared my head. The parts of my body that was banged up kind of got to me. I was, like, down a little bit."

He paused and looked at reporters.

Odom knew what the next question was.

But before anyone could ask him what his injuries are, before they asked why he has been wearing tape on his right index and middle finger, Odom said, "No, I'm not going to tell you what they are."

"That happens," Odom said. "That's part of being a sportsman."

But, Odom was told, players usually seem to lack energy in the second of back-to-back games and play better in the first game.

He was just the opposite.

"It just kind of happens like that," Odom said. "I'm not making no excuses about playing bad. I had my opportunities."

Odom smiled and pointed out one fact about Tuesday night's win that happened only after Kobe Bryant made a three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to lift the Lakers over Memphis.

"I'm the one that passed the ball to Kobe," Odom said, laughing. "You know what I'm saying? I had a good game. I had the game-winning assist, if you look at it like that. I gave him the ball in rhythm. I threw it right here on his number. Great chest pass."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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