Another typical night for Lamar Odom in Los Angeles. Off the bench, he hit for 18 points, two 3-pointers, six rebounds, two assists and a steal in 23 minutes.
Except that was Lamar Odom circa 2008-11 down the hallway with the Lakers. His season-high for the Clippers in 2012-13 was 10 points, the only time he’s been in double figures.
“He had assists, he had rebounds. Matt Barnes said he went to the ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ tonight,” guard Chris Paul said. “He came out there and was that Lamar Odom that everyone around here has learned to grow and love. With the spirit that he has, you have no choice but to be happy for him.”
If the Clippers’ bench wasn’t deep enough already, Odom may have just increased its potency.
“It’s unbelievable,” Blake Griffin said. “That’s the kind of scoring I remember from Lamar back when he was with the Lakers on the championship team, when he got Sixth Man of the Year, stuff like that. He’s so tough to stop because he’s so versatile.”
Time after time, teammates have urged him to shoot, or at least take a look at the rim, as Griffin put it. Odom welcomed the breakthrough.
“I’m starting to get my legs underneath me,” he said. “I’m just trying to stay at it, just work hard. I’m trying to fit in and do whatever I can do to help the win tonight.”
Chris Paul suffered through a night of “history” against San Antonio when he had only four points and three assists in 27 minutes. It’s only the third time in his career he’s had such low numbers.
The most recent time was Feb. 8, when he had three points and two assists against Miami. He bounced back the next game with 25 points, seven assists, four steals and only one turnover against New York.
“I like when he starts off aggressive,” Del Negro said. “I like when he’s in attack mode early and trying to score the ball. But he has to feel comfortable doing that. Now with Chauncey (Billups) back we have another threat out there, so that could take some pressure off everybody.
“He’s a pass-first guy, he’s a set-up guy, but we have to let him go and he has no problem with that at times. When he does that he gives us a another dimension out there which opens everything up.”
In the first quarter alone Saturday against Utah, Paul had three points, three assists, four rebounds and no turnovers.
Fifty technical fouls had been called against the Clippers this year, but few have reflected as much frustration as the three they picked up in Thursday’s loss to San Antonio.
Not that they were going to matter in a 26-point defeat, but Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro would rather his team channel their energies in a more positive direction. DeAndre Jordan and Ryan Hollins picked up the T’s, but the third was a defensive violation.
“It wasn’t good the other night just because we were frustrated and we let our effort dictate the game,” Del Negro said. “We had no effort and we were trying to grab onto anything. They were the aggressors the other night and we’ve got to do a better job to control those emotions.
“We can’t give up a point or two and we have to do a better job in this last stretch of the season before we get into the playoffs,” Del Negro said. “Because a point here or there can make the difference.”
Yes, it’s an issue being addressed.
“We talk about it,” Del Negro said. “Handling the referees, just kind of growing up a little bit, and maturing in those areas is very important. You can’t beat yourself, you just can’t, and that is beating yourself when you can’t control your emotions and deal with the ups and downs of the game.
“You can’t always play well, but you can play hard and you can execute and hopefully if you do that, eventually you get in a good rhythm and you don’t have to worry about the referees.”
The Clippers’ Blake Griffin broke the ice Saturday with a T in the second period. The Jazz free throw tied the game with 3:35 left.
From Mark Murphy in the Boston Herald:
According to several accounts, though, talk between Ainge and the Clippers continued right up until the final hours yesterday. Garnett said during All-Star weekend that he would not waive his no-trade clause, and held true to his vow despite added pressure from Clippers guard Chris Paul.
According to a league source, Paul called Garnett and said that if he was open to joining the Clippers, then Paul would make it happen. Garnett, though, declined, expressing a desire to remain a Celtic.
Ainge’s wish list had been topped by the Clippers’ young duo of guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan. The Clips, with an eye on trading part of the future for a deep playoff run now, focused their attention on Garnett.
But Garnett reportedly said no, to the relief of an entire Celtics locker room.
No change here
First, Chris Paul admitted the Clippers’ 116-90 home loss to San Antonio was humbling, but merely a blip in a long season.
But it hasn’t changed his opinion that the Clippers remain a championship-caliber team no matter who stands in the way.
“Let me tell you right now, if I didn’t feel like it was, I wouldn’t be playing,” Paul said. “I don’t play just for fun, we’re playing to win a championship.
“We have the defensive capability. We have the scorers. We have the big shot makers. We have what it takes, now we just have to put it together.”
Del Negro said the dearth of trade options made conversation with the players irrelevant as they resumed practices on Tuesday.
“There was nothing really there,” he said. “Names were thrown out there that weren’t accurate and if there was something, that would have been something we would have addressed with them. We had good practices and the guys are in a good frame of mind. It’s part of the business as we know, but as you can see nothing happened.”