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.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.