Lamar Odom: "I feel good about my game right now"
What is the key to the victory in this series against Phoenix?
Lamar Odom: We have to focus on them, but, really, not focus on them, you know what I mean? We have to focus on what we’re doing right, and we have to keep doing it. And, of course, as a competitor on the court, when you see somebody not playing their best, you’re going to keep going at them. But right now, I’m just focused on what the Lakers need to do to win basketball games. We even almost had them in the first game. If we contain Steve Nash, we have a realistic chance to win this series.
What is one thing that you need to do to beat them?
LO: Contain Steve Nash.
Do you think that’s possible?
LO: Yeah, anything’s possible.
What about matchups down low? It seems that you are pretty much unguardable by them in this series.
LO: Yeah, they’re a good team, but they are a little smaller inside. So I like to go inside in this series and make things happen from there.
You are averaging 18 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists on 58 percent shooting after the All-Star break this season. Is there anything in particular that happened that made you comfortable on the court during this period?
LO: No, I’m just learning the offense, you know, being comfortable with the offense. I’m picking my spots, and I’m really at ease and I feel good about my game right now.
How are you satisfied with this season with the Lakers as a whole?
LO: It worked out well, you know. We’re in the playoffs… Whenever you’re in the playoffs, you have a chance to win it all. I just feel fortunate to be in the playoffs again.
The media here on L.A. thinks Kobe Bryant is probably the best player in the league, but that not too many players like to play with him. What do you think about that?
LO: I’ve had a great time playing with him. He’s a friend of mine on and off the court.
Would you say that he deserved to be an MVP?
LO: In my eyes, seeing how he plays every day, he is definitely deserving of the award.
Who else other than him would you consider for this achievement?
LO: There are guys that had a great year. But, you know, I will always root for the home team.
Can you compare this period to the best times you had in Miami two seasons ago?
LO: I really try not to compare those two things. That season was that season, and this season is this season. I’m a Laker now. I’m just trying to come out every night and play all-around good basketball.
Playing for Phil Jackson, how great is that?
What do you think this team needs to do to bring another ring to Coach Jackson?
LO: Just stay focused, keep working hard. If you work hard, everything is possible.
You’ve been fortunate enough to be coached by two of the great NBA coaches of our time – Pat Riley in Miami and Phil Jackson in Los Angeles. Any parallels between playing for these two coaches?
LO: These two coaches come from different schools of coaching. They are two different people, they have two different systems, and two different philosophies. Of course, they both have titles behind them, they both have coached some great players, and it’s just a blessing to be coached by two guys that won championships and have so much respect in the league.
Are you excited by the possibility of playing for the National Team this year?
LO: Yeah, that’s something that I’m looking forward to do. I played on one National Team already, and we sold out short, so I’m kind of looking forward to doing it again.
Do you think that USA Basketball is doing the right thing by reorganizing and restructuring the whole training camp and the period leading to the World Games in Japan?
LO: The teams that we are playing against play together a lot. It’s good for us to learn each others' games and get comfortable with each other.
Who would you name as main opponents at the World Games?
LO: I’m looking forward to playing against Lithuania and Argentina. Those are the couple of teams that beat us when I played two years ago.
Nebojsa Petrovacki is the editor of Sportska Centrala, a sports news agency from Serbia
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