Los Angeles Clippers Relying On Lamar Odom Down the Stretch

By Michael Stephenson
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Clippers were rumored before last week’s trade deadline to be involved in a trade for Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics, but instead decided to stick with their current group going forward. It was a trade that ultimately would have given the Clippers a better lineup on the floor at the end of games.

However, the rumored trade had the Clippers giving up a bit too much for the 36-year-old Garnett. So going forward the Clippers lineup at the end of games relies heavily on the play of one guy, Lamar Odom.

A couple of years ago it was a no brainer to have Odom on the floor at the end of games, but now it’s become a brain teaser. He’s had to work himself into shape all season long after coming into training camp more than 20 pounds overweight. The flashes of his old self have come and gone throughout the year.

The Clippers finally got to see a full glimpse of the Odom of old on Saturday night against the Utah Jazz. He had his best performance of the season by far, finishing the game with 18 points and six rebounds, while playing 23 minutes. It was the most points Odom had scored in an NBA game since January 27th, 2012, when he scored 19 points against the Jazz.

This game gave the Clippers some hope that Odom could return to form. This team will need more of the same from him come playoff time, when the games get tougher and his experience is needed in those high pressure situations. He still has lots of work to do before then, though.

Odom is currently shooting just 39 percent from the floor and 14 percent from behind-the-arc. Those numbers aren’t encouraging at all, especially because he’s a 46 percent career shooter from the field and a 31 percent career three-point shooter.

The Clippers are hoping that Odom can get his shot back by playoff time and bring his versatility to the floor that he was once known for. He would become the Clippers ultimate weapon on the floor at the end of games, with his ability to rebound, pass, shoot, and defend.

If Odom can return to his old form the Clippers can make a deep run in the 2013 playoffs, which would make that rumored trade for Garnett just another trade that “never” happened instead of one that “should” have happened.

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