Odom Getting His Shot and He Starts to Take It

Odom Getting His Shot and He Starts to Take It By Mike Bresnahan, Times Staff Writer

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Lamar Odom had one of his most productive games as a Laker, leading Wednesday to a series of day-after questions from reporters, most asking the same basic thing: Why doesn't this happen more often?

"There you guys go again, " Laker Coach Phil Jackson said, rolling his eyes.

Odom, whose scoring average had fallen to 13.9 points before Tuesday's game, stepped through the Portland Trail Blazers with a 20-point, 17-rebound effort in which he took more shots than Kobe Bryant, making nine of 21.

Only one other time this season had he shot as often, making 12 of 25 in a

90-84 loss to San Antonio in November.

Jackson acknowledged telling Odom to shoot more often at halftime of the Lakers' 99-82 victory against Portland.

"He turned down so many shots, " Jackson said. "I just said, 'Keep the defense honest. You're going to have to shoot.... Don't feel like you have to pull up and not take a shot just because you haven't been shooting well.' "

Portland defenders had dropped off of Odom, playing the passing lanes and daring him to beat them from outside, which he did.

"With the defense falling back off him like they were the other night, it's the best thing to do, " Jackson said.

The trade deadline passes today at noon, with Jackson saying the Lakers would push ahead if they don't make a deal.

"These kids have been good students so far, " he said. "We know we have some weaknesses. We're trying to bridge that up. We'll try and improve the team if we can, but if we don't we're going forward."

Jackson, on his ever-evolving relationship with Bryant: "I'm really happy for Kobe. I'm happy for myself in this regard, that we just slip right back into that mode of concurring with one another. We've even picked it up to another level, where his leadership is developing to the point where he's showing caretaking capabilities as a leader.

"That's something, when Kobe's pretty much out there riding fences, like Desperado, by himself. Now you see him kind of nurturing some of the younger players, which in itself is really a benefit to this organization and this club."


vs. Sacramento, 7:30, TNT

Site - Staples Center.

Radio - 570; 1330.

Records - Lakers 27-26; Kings 25-29.

Record vs. Kings - 0-1.

Update - Ron Artest is averaging 17.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 steals in 12 games with the Kings. Since acquiring Artest, the Kings have given up 100 points only three times.

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