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Lakers' Lamar Odom can't fill big shoes of Andrew Bynum

The reserve forward fails to bolster the team's interior defense when the 7-foot center is limited to 12 minutes of playing time.

June 11, 2010|By Broderick Turner
  • Lakers forward Lamar Odom sends Celtics guard Nate Robinson flying with a hip check during the second half of Game 4 on Thursday night.
Lakers forward Lamar Odom sends Celtics guard Nate Robinson flying with… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Boston -- Lamar Odom has been considered a stand-up guy, a guy who never shies away from his shortcomings, a guy who takes on his failures and deals with them head on, and a guy who will stand before the media and take his medicine.

The Lakers now need Lamar Odom to be a stand-up guy on the court, in the NBA Finals, against the Boston Celtics.

More than ever, the Lakers can't have the Odom who is not a factor in these championship games against the Celtics, who is not aggressive, who is not playing to a level that can help the team.

With Lakers center Andrew Bynum able to play only 12 minutes and 10 seconds in Game 4 because of continued swelling in his right knee, more pressure was placed on Odom to be productive.

He didn't quite respond.

Odom had 10 points on five-for-10 shooting and seven rebounds in the Lakers' 96-89 loss to the Celtics on Thursday night at TD Garden, but his output wasn't enough.

"You have to be aware of what Andrew gives us and what we have to make up for and what Lamar gives us," Odom said. "When you lose someone like Andrew, everybody is going to have to have faith and trust and be committed."

Indeed, the Lakers lost Bynum's seven-foot, 285-pound frame, his physical presence and his ability to put pressure on the Celtics offensively and defensively.

It's just that Odom has to step into that void now with Bynum hurting, with the best-of-seven series tied at 2-2.

Bynum said he plans on playing Sunday in Game 5.

But if he can't, Odom will play heavy minutes again, just like he did in Game 4, when he played 39:05.

What can Odom do better for the Lakers in this series?

"Have better stats, yeah," Odom said. "Better and more efficient, yeah. Better at making more shots, yeah. Better at getting more rebounds, yeah. Getting more blocks, yeah. We're all are going to have to do that."

Odom had four points and six rebounds at halftime.

He started the second half while Bynum stayed in the locker room getting treatment on his knee.

It was not Odom's best half, especially on defense.

He had just one rebound in the second half, in 21:52. He did have six points in the fourth on three-for-four shooting.

But his counterpart off the bench for the Celtics, Glen Davis, was a star, scoring nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter when the Celtics took control.

Davis grabbed an offensive rebound because no one boxed him out.

He scored on a put-back while being fouled by Odom.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson called time with 8:22 left and his team reeling from the physical and aggressive play by Boston.

Davis made the free throw after the timeout, giving the Celtics a 71-64 lead.

Odom did hip-check Nate Robinson for a foul midway through the fourth quarter, one of Odom's few aggressive plays in the game.

"We lose so much size, so much length with Andrew out," Odom said. "Some [stuff] that you can get away with, you're not going to be able to get away with now. So defensively it's going to be harder, yeah. Offensively the game gets harder."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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