SAN ANTONIO –Lamar Odom said what happened to him Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs was not a low-point in his life.
“I buried a child,’’ Odom said. “I buried a baby.’’
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle chose not to play Odom at all against the Spurs. Odom said it was the first time in his 13-year NBA career that he can remember that he did not play in a game when he was healthy.
The benching of Odom comes on the heels of his dreadful performance Wednesday when he had just one point, one rebound and one assist against the Los Angeles Lakers. What this did to Odom’s confidence is anybody’s guess.
“My name is Lamar, not Basketball Player,’’ Odom said. “It’s Lamar Odom. Lamar Joseph Odom.’’
Asked, as a basketball player, has his confidence hit the rock bottom, Odom said:
“That happens, and that happens with missed shots and games you don’t play well. But I’m so much more into sports. I’m someone’s child.
“There isn’t too much I haven’t seen in life, so I’m prepared and ready and willing to get over anything. Anything that’s looks like it’s standing in my way.’’
Odom has been the backup power forward all season for the Mavs. But Carlisle wouldn’t commit to saying he’ll continue in that role.
“We’ll see,’’ Carlisle said. “There are a lot of things that can be moving parts on a night-to-night basis.
“I think each game is going to be different. This was very much a matchup-driven game.’’
Odom is averaging career lows of 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game while shooting 34.5 percent from the field. But now, not only does it appear as though his role with the Mavs is in jeopardy, so too, perhaps is his future beyond this season.
Still, after the Spurs hammered the Mavs on the boards, 54-34, Carlisle didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement that he was going to give Odom his regular rotation minutes back.
“It was something I wanted to look at,’’ Carlisle said about sitting Odom and giving Shawn Marion more minutes. “The thing that it shows, it shows that Lamar’s minutes are valuable to us.’’
“It gives us another rebounder,’’ Carlisle said. “Rebounding was a big issue tonight, and he’s one of our best rebounders.’’
The Mavs, who lost to the Spurs, 104-87, are at a loss for words on why Odom hasn’t fit in yet after they acquired him on Dec. 10 from the Lakers.
Even forward Dirk Nowitzki is now at a loss for how to best utilize Odom.
“I guess it’s a coach’s decision,’’ Nowitzki said.” I don’t know what to say.
“I work with the guys that are on the court. The rest is not my decision.’’
Is Nowitzki still confident Odom can contribute to the Mavs this season?
“If he keeps working, we’ll see what the future brings,’’ Nowitzki said. “I can’t tell you anything else.’’
Asked how important is basketball to him right now, Odom said: “It’s my life. It’s my life.’’
Asked if he deserves to be in the Mavs’ rotation, Odom said: “I’ll leave that up to coach.’’
Odom said there’s still time left this season for him to salvage things.
“We’ve still got (17) games left to play,’’ Odom said. “We play tomorrow (in Houston). From the looks of it, it looks like they’re going to have an NBA playoffs.
“This team is looking like they’re going to play for it all. Hopefully, my time will come. I just have to make shots and make plays.’’
Odom’s former Laker teammate, Kobe Bryant, said the Mavs just haven’t figured out how to feature Odom.
“Kobe’s on a different team,’’ Odom said. “That’s my guy, but that’s not what it’s about.
“I’m a Maverick and I have to figure things out. That was he would tell me – figure it out. So I have to figure it out.’’
Bryant embraced Odom after Wednesday’s game, and talked to him.
“It was words of encouragement,’’ Odom said. “Don’t listen to any outside interference, and be yourself.’’
Mavs fans booed Odom during Wednesday’s game. And it wasn’t the first time they’ve booed him this season.
“They can bother you, but that’s something that we get used to,’’ Odom said. “But that’s what we do, it’s part of our world, it’s part of our business.
“It’s not what you’re going to do. It’s what you can do.’’
Point guard Jason Kidd, who had 14 points and seven rebounds in the loss to the Spurs, said Odom simply needs to keep working hard.
“He’s going to get his chance, and for him to just stay positive and for us to stay positive with him and keep making sure that he’s working and when his name or number is called, that he’s ready,’’ Kidd said. “You’ve got to go with the guys that are playing and when they’re called upon, then they’ve got to do their job.
"He’ll be back out there soon.’’
-- Dwain Price
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