Blog Entry

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

Posted on: May 18, 2010 6:26 pm
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Amar’e Stoudemire wasn’t able to come up with anything on the court to stop Lamar Odom from having a dominant 19-point, 19-rebound performance in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. So on Tuesday, he came up with an excuse.

“I’m not giving him no hype,” Stoudemire told reporters before the Suns practiced at Staples Center. “He had a lucky game.”

Among other things, Stoudemire is known for his quotability. In a “Twitterview” with NBA media this week, I asked him how far Cleveland would’ve gone if he’d been traded there instead of Antawn Jamison. True to form, Amar’e came through with a one-word answer: “Championship.”

Beautifully done. He may or may not be right about that. But when it comes to Odom, he’s dead wrong.

And foolish for saying it.

As exhibited in the Lakers’ 128-107 victory in Game 1 Monday night, Kobe Bryant is going to get his numbers in this series. With 40 points – 35 of them by the end of the third quarter – Bryant enjoyed his sixth straight 30-point playoff performance. He seemed to relish the Suns’ strategy of trying defending him with 37-year-old Grant Hill. Bryant called that challenge “enjoyable,” and by that, he meant, “Get this old man away from me before I embarrass him.”

Whether it’s Hill or Jason Richardson or Jared Dudley, the Suns have no one who can check Bryant with any semblance of success. For that reason alone, this is going to be a long series for the Suns – or a short one, depending on how you look at it.

But to a man – including Stoudemire – the Suns have insisted that the key to challenging the Lakers is preventing Bryant’s supporting cast from hurting them. This did not go well in Game 1, with Odom’s monstrous game leading a 44-35 scoring advantage by the Lakers’ suspect bench over the Suns’ reserves, who were supposed to have been a key strength going into the series.

“[Bryant] is gonna score,” Stoudemire said after the game. “That’s one thing he’s gonna do. We know that, so we’ve got to make sure we try to contain him a little bit more. But we’ve got to close out the other guys. We’ve got to do a better job on their role players.”

The two sources of consistent production for the Lakers during their title defense have been Bryant and Pau Gasol. Andrew Bynum has been in and out of the box score. Derek Fisher has made some big shots and has held up better than anyone anticipated against three prolific point guards – Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and now Steve Nash.

But during their run of postseason success in the past five years, Odom’s performance has been a tipping point for the Lakers. When he plays well, the Lakers usually win. When he plays like he did Monday night, the Lakers almost never lose.

With the possible exceptions of Bryant and LeBron James, Odom is as physically gifted as any player who’s come into the league over the past dozen years. It’s often a question of motivation, but there’s no doubting his talent.

“I’ve played with Lamar for a long time, so I wasn’t impressed,” said Ron Artest, who grew up playing with Odom on the playgrounds of Queens, N.Y. and in AAU ball. “I’ve seen him do that all the time.”

So why any opposing player would want to ignite the one area of Odom’s game that is lacking – his motivation – is beyond me. Stoudemire should know better than to rattle Odom’s cage, and he should know better than to say his performance Monday night was an aberration.

The Lakers are 9-2 this season when Odom has 15 or more rebounds, including a 17-point, 19-rebound game against Houston in January and a 10-point, 22-rebound effort against Portland in February – both wins. In his postseason career with the Lakers since the 2005-06 season, the Lakers are 7-2 when Odom has 15 or more rebounds. Four of those nine games have come against the Suns, and Odom scored in double figures in all four, as well. In those games, the Lakers are 2-2.

But even if Stoudemire forgot about those games, surely over the past five years he’s noticed at least a handful of Odom’s 47 games with 15-plus rebounds since he put on a Lakers uniform. If not, maybe he’s seen highlights of one or two of his 174 double-doubles as a Laker. During the same five-year period, Stoudemire has 28 games with 15-plus rebounds and 156 double-doubles. How many of those were luck?

After throttling Stoudemire and the Suns’ supposedly improved defense in Game 1, Odom wouldn’t engage him in a war of words Tuesday.

“I’m not gonna do that,” Odom said. “Not when it comes to basketball.”

As for his performance, Odom said, “It was good. Could be better. Hopefully I can have another lucky one.”

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: May 19, 2010 4:06 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

Actually it's you  who doesn't know very much about basketball. Berger's point is that Odom's size and agility make him a match-up nightmare for any team.

Though Odom may not posess point-guard ball handling skills he is clearly one of the best ball handling big men in the NBA and he's 6'10" with the wing span of a 7-footer so that pretty much means he's a physically gifted player like Berger said.

I'd suggest you clearly understand what someone is saying before actually putting together a list of franchise players as opposed to "physically gifted" players. They're not the same thing.

Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2010 3:12 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

What the hell are you talking about? i was talking about amare and how berger got his ass for talking smack about odom...I am a Laker fan Dumb ass and kobe's greatness doesnt really surprise me.

And I credit Kobe for elevating the Lakers and gasol's game

Since: Oct 11, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2010 2:56 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

Yo - enlightened one:

How about these stats for 2010?:

Lamar Odom

Salary: $8,200,000

Average Points per game9.5; Average Rebounds per game9.1; Assists per game: 1.9; Blocks per game: 0.7

As a member of this gifted team, he is not needed as a scorer and for that reason, is a high-paid defender.  For as athletically gifted as Lamar is, he is a career underachiever who is actually paid to focus on ONE end of the court - defense.  In the article, it suggests he has become a greatly improved rebounder.  That is because he expends little effort on the offensive end (see 9.5 PPG average). 

His game against the Suns in Game 1 was fantastic and Amare was ridiculous in saying it was lucky.  But Odom is one guy I just can't give much slack to considering his athleticness, shady background and inability to self-motivate.  I honestly feel that Amare, in his own poorly manifested way, is trying to take some of the negative attention upon himself and away from the a$$ kicking administered by the Lakers in Game 1.  Yes, he is trying to be a leader but could have come up with other, more effective ways.  But Odom is still just a role player.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: May 19, 2010 1:42 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

Stoudemire sounds like a star on a team in the western conference finals trying not to have his team fall into the hype of a game one loss. Hes showing confidence in his team and saying im gonna gdo my job and you guys bettter do yours. Not an ass but a leader
Sorry, Giants Fan, but sounding like a "leader" would have been Stoudmire saying something like "Odom had a great game, I will have to play much better in game 2 to keep him off the boards" -- okay, fine --confidence is great.  However, saying someone with Odom's skills (and the stats shown in the article) "got lucky" is just crybaby stuff.  You might get a few "lucky" rebounds, but we all know rebounding is primarily done through skill and hard work.  You can have Stoudmire -- Odom plays less minutes yet still have more 15+ rebounding games and more double-doubles in the last 5 years than Stoudmire.  That says something about the Odom's skill versus "luck".

Since: Feb 17, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2010 1:20 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

Amare himself is a better athlete and more physically gifted than Odom.  Odom has always been inconsistent - but I agree Amare should have chosen his words better.  Hill was doing an amazing job on Kobe until the refs called a bunch of bogus fouls on him.  The Suns played poorly all over the court but were right there until the third quarter, when the Hill fouls allowed Kobe to go off.  Tonight, watch the Suns play way better team defence.  Frye, Dudley, Richardson and especially Nash will make a bunch of 3's as they have all year, requiring LA to adjust its defence.  Lopez was amazing after 2 months off.  Barbosa and Dragic will slash and score.  Series tied 1-1 and back to Phoenix where Suns are super hot!!   

Since: May 19, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2010 12:39 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

I wonder if Berger factered in that Amar'e missed almost the entire 2004-2005 season and that he missed a good amount of last season with the retina?

Since: Sep 20, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2010 12:36 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

First of all.. you are dumb.
I said it. This comment is outrageous at best.
Berger isn't saying that Odom is one of the best players to enter the NBA recently, just that he's physically gifted.
Lamar is huge, but quick. Has a nice shot and can rebound with the best of him even with bigger men around.
The only part of this stupid little essay you wrote I agree with is that yes, every player you listed up there has produced more than Odom.
As for scoring options on the lakers... Bynum > Odom? That may be true but it seems whenever Bynum is healthy (which is never) he vastly under produces where as Odom has proved he can do it when he sets his mind to it.
Also if you're going to mention a player... spell their name right.. Iglidado? Who the fuck is that. It's Iguodala.
So thanks for ripping on Berger when you form some reason didn't grasp the concept of the article.
As a stupid man once said and I quote... "Thanks for letting me know not to waste my time reading anything you write ever again."

Since: Apr 18, 2007
Posted on: May 19, 2010 12:20 pm

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

You missed the point of PHYSICALLY GIFTED.  He didn't say better.
As far as physically gifted, Iverson was undersized, Bosh is not a gifted ball handler at all, Duncan is talented, but physically he's slow and not a great ball handler.

He's a good player but his length, leaping and ball handling combination are very unique

Since: May 19, 2010
Posted on: May 19, 2010 11:40 am

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

de_angelo, you are the one we should be laughing at... Trying to dog on Berger when Lamar has won A CHAMPIONSHIP (note: not plural).  Are the lakers really that great without Kobe accounting for 2/3 of their points night in and night out?

Since: Apr 18, 2009
Posted on: May 19, 2010 10:51 am

Lucky? Stoudemire shouldn't have gone there

wow kobemypredator..physically gifted does not mean he is the 3rd best player in basketball..just because someone is better doesn't mean they are more physically gifted.. tim duncan is a great SMART basketball player he knows what to do and how to score yes he is better player then odom,but he is no where close to be as physically gifted as odom..dwight howard is a beast and can dominate the middle better then odom anyday,and is a better player at his position then odom,but he can't dribble or shoot or even move like odom,as physically gifted as dwight is odom is still more gifted..and as for garnett better shooter by far than odom,but even garnett isn't as physically gifted as odom is,chris paul is fast can pass can shoot  can dribble and is smart,but don't compare physical ability cause it's not close.
so to repeat just because someone is more physically gifted does not make you them a better player.there are many forwards in basketball that are better than odom at playing the forward position,but not many forwards accept lebron can do everything that odom does,dribble,pass,rebound,defend,score,move without the ball.. he isn't the best dribling forward,nor the best scoring forward,nor the best rebounding forward nor the best defending  forward,but he does it all combined better then most forwards in the game..for his size and ability is are right about one thing i don't think he is 3rd maybe fourth because gasol for a 7 footer has some nasty ability though it is hard to say he is more physically gifted then odom

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