Stoudemire: Odom 'Lucky' in Game 1
We now give you Lucky Lamar.
At least that's the description bestowed by Phoenix forward Amar'e Stoudemire upon Lakers forward Lamar Odom.
"I'm not giving him no hype,'' Stoudemire said Tuesday about Odom scoring 19 points and grabbing 19 rebounds in the Lakers' 128-107 win over the Suns in Monday's Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. "He had a lucky game in Game 1.''
Stoudemire, who had a grand total of three rebounds, vowed Odom will not see a repeat performance of his career playoff-high board total any time soon.
"He snuck in and got 19 boards,'' said Stoudemire, as if a 6-foot-10 guy really can sneak in. "It's not going to happen no more. We're going to be able to contain him.''
Odom had a chance to get into a war of words. But he simply shrugged after being told what Stoudemire had said.
"Hopefully, I can have another lucky one," Odom said of Wednesday's Game 2 at the Staples Center. "It's all good."
Monday sure was good for the Lakers. They used their height and their length to outscore the Suns 56-36 in the paint and out-rebound them 42-34.
Then again, that's not the way the Suns are seeing it. They brushed off that the Lakers supposedly have a big advantage in the post.
"It didn't bother us. I really don't feel no trouble with their length at all honestly,'' Stoudemire said. "None at all. That didn't bother us. The only thing that killed us was Lamar Odom with those boards.''
Well, Odom is tall and very long. That might have helped him grab a few. And while 7-foot Pau Gasol only had four rebounds, he did score 21 points.
Suns coach Alvin Gentry called what Stoudemire said about Odom being lucky a "ridiculous statement.'' But Gentry did agree with Stoudemire that overcoming the Lakers' size and length is not a huge concern.
"They didn't throw it inside and pound us,'' Gentry said. "Pau had some post-up plays in the third quarter. But for the most part (the points in the paint disparity) came on dribble penetration. We can correct that. That's something we can do a better job on.''
At least the Suns feel there is something they quickly can correct. Guard Steve Nash remarked the Lakers are "probably going to continue to be taller than us as the series goes on.''
As far as Lakers guard Kobe Bryant lighting up the Suns for 40 points in Game 1, Gentry didn't offer too many ideas about changes there. Gentry said the jumpers and off-balance shots hit by Bryant couldn't have been stopped by anybody.
"We can run [General Norman] Schwarzkopf at him,'' Gentry said. "It does not matter. He made those shots, and he'll make them against anybody.''
Gentry also anticipates Gasol is going to fill up the stat sheet. He said the key is for the Suns to stop the Lakers' other players. That includes Odom, the reserve who is in line for more minutes throughout the series due to center Andrew Bynum being hampered by a small cartilage tear in his right knee.
Bynum, who said Tuesday he had a "lot less swelling'' but would practice little during the series, played just 19 minutes in Game 1. That paved the way for Odom to log 31.
"I think coming into the game Phil [Jackson] might have talked to him, 'OK, Bynum might not play as much. We need you more,' " Stoudemire said. "[Odom] came out aggressive, and that kind of caught us off guard.''
That's probably because Odom came in with not-exactly-jaw-dropping averages of 8.5 points and 8.1 rebounds in the playoffs. But Jackson said Odom indeed needs to pick up some slack, with the coach saying Bynum had "not quite enough activity as we'd like him to have" in Game 1
But what about Odom coming up as huge as he did? Jackson was told about Stoudemire calling it "luck.''
"Well, luck is part of the game,'' Jackson said. "You make your luck, we say. Sports people like to say. Lamar had a shot that went in early, a nice move. His first shot went. His second shot went in ... He started feeling good about his game, and things rolled from there.''
Perhaps part of it was the luck of Odom happening to grow to 6-10 with long arms. No matter what the Suns might say, the Lakers are helped by their size and length advantage.
"It's always a big plus,'' Gasol said. "We need to make sure we use it every single game ... Once we get the ball into the post, we're really effective. We've got to continue to do that and exploit it.''
The Suns didn't have a single player Monday grab more than six rebounds. Stoudemire and the team's top reserve in the post, Channing Frye, combined for just four, which Gentry called unacceptable.
As for Stoudemire only grabbing three, it must have been bad luck.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson