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Lamar Odom's presence is Lakers' good luck

He has another strong performance after a dismissive remark by the Suns' Amare Stoudemire.

May 19, 2010|By Lisa Dillman

So, what exactly is luck, anyway?

Naturally, it's all about perspective and if you happen to be a Laker, and a Lamar Odom fan, or a backer of the Suns' Amare Stoudemire.

"They always say luck favors the prepared man," the Suns' Grant Hill said.

Then consider Odom one prepared and talented man after the Lakers have won the opening two games of the Western Conference finals against the Suns, winning Game 2, 124-112, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

Matchup of the night: the War of Words.

The Day After.

The backdrop to Game 2 happened to be the always interesting Stoudemire, who said Tuesday that Odom had a "lucky game" in the series opener and that he was "giving him no hype."

Odom had 19 points and 19 rebounds in Game 1, and brushed off Stoudemire's words with everything but a careless shrug. Then he dismissed the Suns almost the same way in Game 2, coming off the bench for 17 points and 11 rebounds.

And he got off a nice line too.

Had anyone ever hurled the "lucky" insult at Odom before?

"Yeah, but I don't think this is the time or place to go over that," Odom said, laughing.

"The first time going to a bar or whatever."

Oh, that. And on the basketball court?

By then, Odom and the group of assembled reporters were laughing. No need for any more answers, especially because Odom had the last word, on and off the court.

Stoudemire, meanwhile, had 18 points and six rebounds. He didn't repeat his "lucky" gibe but also didn't back off the sentiment.

"Tonight he played well," he said of Odom. "He did a great job off the bench. He's given the team a lift off the bench. That's something that they need and he's giving it to them."

Any regrets over the choice of words?

"No, not at all," Stoudemire said. "He's a great second-unit player. He gives those guys a great lift off the bench. He was very aggressive out there and did a good job on the boards."

Said Lakers Coach Phil Jackson: "He [Stoudemire] is the initiator of that screen-roll offense because of what he can do with his offense roll activity when [ Steve] Nash brings the ball off him.

"... We'd like to see him sit more minutes in the game than he is, playing a 40-minute game. So we took the ball down low post at the end of the game because he had five fouls on him, and we knew it would be tough for him to play defense at that time."

It goes without saying, any series involving Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Suns' Nash does merits a bigger-picture look beyond Lamar vs. Amare.

"It's not really me vs. Amare," Odom said. "I'm saying this is about the Lakers vs. the Suns. That's how I look at it."

Odom's back-to-back double-doubles have created an extra layer of support in this series for the Lakers, especially since they entered the conference final with questions about Andrew Bynum's durability and injured knee.

Bryant put it best, saying of Odom: "Very fortunate to have him."

lisa.dillman@latimes.com

twitter.com/reallisa

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