All the pre-game hype was surrounded by the two superstars of the league, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Neither of them performed up to expectations, especially after seeing what they both did at the MSG the previous week.
Bryant poured in 19 points, while LeBron had a mere 16 points along with 12 assists and eight boards in the 101-91 loss to the Lakers, their first loss at home.
Those two basically canceled each other out, and Lamar Odom came up huge with 16 points and 10 rebounds in the third quarter to contribute to his 28-point, 17-rebound effort.
Odom has the potential to be a 20 and 10 guy every single night. Now that he is playing at the power forward spot on a regular basis with the absence of Andrew Bynum, this is his time to shine in his contract year. Every time the Lakers missed a shot, it seemed Lamar was right there to clean up.
While I was watching the game, I couldn't help but draw a comparison with the Andrew Bynum-less Lakers and the pre-Shaquille O'Neal Suns. They both have undersized men at the four and five spot, only the Lakers have a superstar player—Kobe Bryant—which gives them a little bit of an edge.
Neither of them play very good defense, either. Today was the first game since Bynum went out that they've allowed under 100 points.
Either way, LA is 4-0 against Boston and Cleveland, the two superior teams in the Eastern Conference. This gives LA the tie breaker if they were to meet either one in the Finals, which is a huge break, along with the psychological advantage of sweeping both of the regular season match-ups with the two teams.
Now after going 6-0 on their six-game road trip with wins at Boston, and at Cleveland, the Lakers return home Tuesday to face Oklahoma City.