Odom says he is confused, hurt by boos in Dallas

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For years, Lamar Odom seemed to torment Dallas they way he did many opposing teams — there is no more versatile big man in the game, a guy who can grab the rebound and lead the fast break himself. He can play in the post or drain threes. He’s a matchup nightmare.

Then he has gotten to Dallas after a preseason trade and had his worst season as a pro. For a variety of reasons — he came into camp out of shape and after a rough personal offseason his game has never gotten on track. He is averaging a career low 6.8 points per game on 34 percent shooting. He went from a PER of 19.4 last year and being Sixth Man of the Year to 8.9 this year.

And Mavericks fans are letting him hear it. He is getting booed. He will again Tuesday night when the Mavericks host the Rockets.

Odom said Monday that he is hurt by this, as reported by the Mavs blog at the Dallas Morning News.

“I’ve always had a lot of pride to play for the name on the back of my jersey. I’ve always been more prideful to play for the name that’s on the front of my jersey — whether it be USA or whether it be the Mavericks or the other team I came from. I always had a lot of pride.

“So it was a little confusing and a little hurtful, but it’s the sport world. I understand. We’re in a business that it’s all about what have you done lately, or the last game or the next game?”

Odom is a different cat from your average NBA player. He’s seen a lot more, been through a lot more. He’s not the best at compartmentalizing his life — what happens off the court impacts him on it — but he sees the bigger picture and that’s why he said he doesn’t get angry at the fans for the boos.

“I would say confused. I wouldn’t say angry, because there are a lot of sides to Lamar Odom, know what I mean? Sportsman is one of them. I’m a father, a husband, someone’s son, someone’s cousin. So there’s a lot of roles that I have to play in life. Basketball is just one of them. So I can’t let it get me angry because I have a lot of other roles to fulfill.”

Mavs fans can boo if they want. If it makes them feel better. But if they are going to have any chance at another deep playoff run, they are going to need to old Lamar Odom to show up.

Caris LeVert suffers injury so horrific, it brings teammates to tears and opponents to prayer (video)

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Caris LeVert has been one of the Nets’ biggest bright spots. The hard-working 24-year-old was a Most Improved Player candidate, and he seems well-liked throughout the organization. He’s even already hit a couple gamewinners this season.

But LeVert’s breakout campaign hit a devastating snag tonight, as he injured his leg.

The reactions of both his Brooklyn teammates and the Timberwolves say everything. This is a tough one.

Markelle Fultz takes ugly pump-fake free throw

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A key question after the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler: How would the demanding star affect Markelle Fultz‘s confidence?

Butler isn’t even playing for Philadelphia yet, but this isn’t an encouraging sign.

Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice:

Maybe the ball just slipped out of Fultz’s hands on the way up, and he had to continue pushing it toward the rim to avoid a violation. That could happen to anybody.

But given everything we know about Fultz’s shooting woes, it’s impossible to take this as anything other than a ghastly low point in an ongoing problem.

LeBron James: ‘I almost cracked’ with Lakers’ slow start

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LeBron James has played in eight straight NBA Finals.

How’s he handling reduced expectations with the Lakers, who started 2-5 before rising to 7-6?

LeBron, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

‪“I haven’t changed anything outwardly, but you know me. You know how I am. I almost cracked [last week]. I had to sit back and remind myself, ‘[Expletive], you knew what you were getting yourself into,’” James told Yahoo Sports while laughing after Saturday’s win in Sacramento. “This process has been good for me. I just have to continue being patient.”‬

LeBron warned everyone to stay clear when he loses his patience, but he has never sounded close to losing it this season. He signed a four-year deal with the Lakers, said he doesn’t feel urgency to win quickly before his prime ends and seems content to wait for a co-star.

If anything, it seemed LeBron might be too relaxed, enjoying the Los Angeles lifestyle and focusing on showbusiness.

So, this is a welcome sign of his competitiveness.

Also kudos to LeBron for harnessing it unlike others in the organization. These Lakers need time to determine how these oddly shaped pieces fit together – unless a star becomes available. Then, all bets are off.

Dwyane Wade: Making Carmelo Anthony ‘fall guy’ doesn’t address the ‘real problem’

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul – the banana-boat buddies – comprise the NBA’s most famous friendship group.

With Anthony nearing his end with the Rockets, that puts Houston teammate Paul in an awkward place. But Wade and LeBron are speaking up. So are the Trail Blazers’ Evan Turner and Damian Lillard.

Wade:

LeBron:

Evan Turner:

Damian Lillard:

It’s unclear whether Wade is scolding the Rockets or fans/media. That comment is far more loaded if he’s referring directly to the organization. I wonder what he sees at the “real problem” in Houston.

A struggling team waiving a minimum-salary player is rarely viewed as making that player the scapegoat. But Anthony has an outsized reputation due to his long, star-level career. With that in mind, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried to defend Anthony.

But Anthony is a part of Houston’s problems. He’s awful defensively and shooting poorly. There is mounting evidence he’s washed up. Downgrading his role, whether or not that includes waiving him, is a step in the right direction for the Rockets.

It won’t solve everything, and Anthony – after all that he has done in the NBA – should be treated with respect. But there’s no way around his substandard current level of play.