When Lamar Odom is on, the Lakers are a much, much tougher team. And he is on.
Odom has 15 points on 7 of 9 shooting, added eight rebounds and has played good pick-and-roll defense as the Lakers took a seven point lead at the half. Kobe Bryant has added 14, Amare Stoudemire leads the Suns with 15.
The Lakers defense — after a rough first six minutes — played the Suns well, taking away passing lanes and contesting jumpers. The Suns are still getting points because they are a good offensive team, but they are shooting 50 percent overall and more importantly just 3 of 10 from three. That was something the Lakers were talking about focusing on all week.
The Lakers on the other hand are shooting 61 percent as a team and hit 4 of 5 threes. Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are a combined 6 of 8 from the floor, but it is Odom that the Suns have not been able to account for and has been the difference so far.
Dwyane Wade ‘honored’ to be Prince’s favorite player
The officiating crew missed a host of calls during those final 13 seconds, but they have at least owned up to the most egregious one — missing Dion Waiters pushing off Manu Ginobili while the Thunder guard tried to inbound the ball. (Yes, Ginobili’s foot was on the line, but sorry Thunder homers that was not close to the most egregious miss at the end.)
After the game, the lead official Kenny Mauer admitted that error.
Did that decide the game? No. We like to focus on things we can blame as going wrong, but the Spurs offense started 2-of-15 shooting on the night, was inconsistent, and they still had a chance at the end. This one play is not why the Spurs lost. Manu Ginobili said it well postgame.
Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo given after-the-fact Flagrant 2 for elbow to Pacers’ Turner, no suspension
However, no mention of a suspension for this incident alone. The Raptors catch a break there, as Biyombo should have been tossed from the game and/or given a suspension for that elbow. That said, one more flagrant and he does get a suspension.
NBA’s Basketball Without Borders to host first event in Australia
Australia has brought a fair amount of talent — and scrappy players — to the NBA, and now the NBA is taking one of its outreach programs there.
Yesterday the NBA, FIBA, and Australia’s National Basketball League announced a Basketball without Borders event June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne. It’s the first time the community outreach program will come to the island nation of Australia.
“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball without Borders camp to Australia,” NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said in a statement. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”
These events bring in youth basketball players and work with them, both giving young players highest quality instruction and raising the profile of the sport in the nation with a little star power. Basketball Without Borders will celebrate 15 years this summer and has been all over the globe with similar events.