TMZ report: Lamar Odom has had a drug problem for the last two years

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We’ll begin this by stating the obvious, which is that Lamar Odom played in the NBA for the Clippers last season without incident, and has not failed a league-mandated drug test since 2001.

With that being said, we also cannot ignore the report that is out there.

TMZ, an organization that is admittedly more interested in Odom’s relationship with Khloe Kardashian than they are with his NBA career, is reporting that Odom’s “hardcore drug abuse” is the reason that the marriage between Odom and Kardashian is “in crisis.”

From TMZ’s report:

The marriage of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom is in crisis, and TMZ has learned … the core reason is hardcore drug abuse.

Multiple sources familiar with the situation tell TMZ … Lamar has had a problem for 2 years. It got so bad, last August Khloe pressured Lamar to go to rehab. Lamar went to a facility in San Diego, but he was so resistant Khloe hired private investigators to secretly stand guard at the rehab place to make sure he didn’t leave. The P.I.s stood guard 24/7.

We’re told the situation has become dire. Sources tell us … within the last 2 days, the entire family staged an intervention, trying to convince Lamar to go back to rehab, but he wouldn’t have any of it.

These are obviously serious allegations, especially where Odom’s NBA career is concerned. But again, he hasn’t failed an NBA drug test, so no matter how credible the sources, it’s all just hearsay to a certain extent.

In case you’re curious, here’s how the league’s drug testing program is laid out, via Larry Coon’s CBA FAQ:

Testing falls into two categories: reasonable cause and random. Reasonable cause testing occurs when the league or players association provides the program’s independent expert with information about a player’s use, possession or distribution of prohibited substances, and the expert believes that reasonable cause exists to order testing. If reasonable cause is found to exist, the player can be tested without notice up to four times in a six week period. Players can be subjected to random testing up to four times during a season and up to two times during an offseason (offseason testing is conducted for SPEDs and diuretics only).

To summarize, players are tested up to six times per year, although the offseason tests are only looking for steroids, masking agents, or performance-enhancing drugs.

Odom is still a free agent, and these allegations may be the primary reason why if the teams that are interested are aware of these alleged issues. The Clippers were the team most recently reported as having interest.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.