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.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.
CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls have signed guard Spencer Dinwiddie.
The Bulls acquired Dinwiddie in a trade with Detroit last month and waived him three weeks ago. He spent two years with the Pistons and appeared in 12 games last season, averaging 4.8 points and 13.3 minutes.
The Bulls announced the move Thursday.