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Lamar Odom finishes strong as Lakers finish off the Hornets

The forward, who struggled for much of the series against New Orleans, is a catalyst off the bench in the series clincher.

April 29, 2011|By Broderick Turner
  • Hornets center DJ Mbenga tries to cut off a drive by Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who was fouled on the play by New Orleans forward Jason Smith (background) during Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.
Hornets center DJ Mbenga tries to cut off a drive by Lakers forward Lamar… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from New Orleans

Lamar Odom had just one simple goal for Game 6 Thursday night.

"I wanted to impact the game, which for me is just making plays," Odom said.

And that Odom did, filling up the statistic as only he can.

He had 14 points, eight rebounds, four assists and just one foul in almost 32 minutes of the Lakers' 98-80 series-clinching victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

And Odom was efficient, too, making five of 10 shots, one of his two three-pointers.

He even got it done at the free-throw line, making three of his four free throws.

"I wanted to take my time," Odom said. "I wanted to make plays and rebound. I wanted to play good basketball."

Throughout the six-game series, Odom and the Lakers had difficulty at times at making plays against the stubborn Hornets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

But like the rest of his team, Odom came up big against the Hornets at New Orleans Arena.

Odom played a pivotal off-the-bench role for the Lakers in helping them beat the Hornets, 4-2, in the best-of-seven series.

"I was taking the ball to the basket," Odom said. "I was trying to get fouled. Hitting free throws, that was important to keep a good rhythm."

Odom entered Game 6 averaging just 11.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

He was shooting just 44.4% from the field, 21.4% from three-point range.

His best game of the series had been in Game 2, when he was presented the award for sixth man of the year. He scored 16 points and had seven rebounds in that game.

"With my role, sometimes I feel like I can have good games and the stat sheet might not say it," Odom said. "I just try to make the right play, as well as be aggressive and help lead the second unit. I just try to stay patient."

Odom opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer, extending the Lakers' lead to 13 points.

He made two free throws to increase the lead to 17 points.

Then Odom scored on a fastbreak layup that put the Lakers up by 20.

"I always feel I can find my shot," Odom said. "There's a right way to do that on this team. It's important for me to always stay in that right place. I feel like the team needs that from me. And I expect it from myself at this point in my career.

"So whether it's eight points or 16 points, I expect to play good basketball."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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