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Lakers' Lamar Odom struggling in NBA Finals

The Lakers' sixth man gets three fouls within 53 seconds during the first quarter in a 103-94 loss to Boston in the NBA Finals. Odom finishes with three points and five fouls.

June 06, 2010|By Mike Bresnahan

These have been forgettable games for Lamar Odom, a sixth man gone asunder in the most important series of the season.

The Lakers aren't playing Phoenix any longer, as Odom could definitely attest, the 14 points and 11.8 rebounds he averaged in the Western Conference finals apparently a thing of the past now that the Lakers are playing Boston in the NBA Finals.

Odom had a five-point, five-foul debacle in Game 1 that somehow got worse Sunday in Game 2, when he finished with three points and five fouls in the Lakers' 103-94 loss.

He is averaging a meager four points and 4.5 rebounds and has made only three of nine shots against Boston.

June gloom, indeed.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson tried to take some of the blame, saying he was too slow to act after Odom picked up a second foul in 25 seconds near the end of the first quarter.

"My fault," Jackson said. "He got bang-bang, two fouls immediately, and I turned to my [coaching] crew and said, 'Do you think he can play through this?' And as I was talking to them, he got his third foul."

Three fouls within 53 seconds.

"It kind of took me out of the game," Odom said.

Was he frustrated?

"No. Why would I be frustrated?" he said. "If I'm out there I'm going to produce. Plain and simple. I'd rather be out there and play bad than not have a shot [to play]."

Odom will have to play smarter basketball for the Lakers to excel as the series shifts to Boston.

Kobe Bryant's advice: "Just stay out of early fouls."

Remembering Wooden

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton spoke during a pregame tribute for UCLA coaching legend John Wooden, who died Friday at age 99.

Abdul-Jabbar, who played for the Bruins from 1966-69, told reporters before the game that his college coach's death was "very difficult for me," but expressed gratitude for being able to return from Europe before Wooden died.

"I'm just happy I had a chance to see him," he said. "I was overseas and I got back on Friday and I went right out to the hospital to see him. I left at about 3:15 p.m. and he only lived for about three more hours. I call myself lucky just to be able to make contact to see him."

Abdul-Jabbar said a unique personality blend made Wooden a great mentor.

"The gentleness and kindness was a very big part of him, but he was also competitive," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He could be a very concerned parent and put down the discipline. But it was all done with love. I think we understood that and that's why he had such a profound effect on us."

Wait a sec

It was an unusual sight, Celtics Coach Doc Rivers running on to the court to call a timeout in the fourth quarter, almost making it to the other sideline before referees acknowledged him with play taking place down at the other end.

"I don't think that's legal to get on the floor," Jackson said, smiling. "I think coaches have to stay on the sideline. It's like he was shot out of a starter's block."

mike.bresnahan@latimes.com

twitter.com/Mike_Bresnahan

Times staff writer Lisa Dillman and Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.

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