O.C. Register: he party ended with Kobe Bryant jumping up from behind Lamar Odom and stealing the statistic-padding rebound, then stealthily dribbling away. Odom stood there, clearly amused once he figured it out, and just looked at Bryant before eventually throwing a sweatband at Bryant in mock dismay.

For his part, Bryant stole a look over his left shoulder at Odom, Bryant revealing one of the team’s biggest grins of a smile-filled night.

The Lakers stormed the Minnesota Timberwolves, 107-93, on Friday night at Staples Center in Odom’s first game back from shoulder surgery. Odom had 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the debut was marked even more by Odom’s joie de vivre than his impressive production.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson spoke afterward about Odom being able to “change the chemistry and the balance of the team out there.” For a group that has had to grapple with oppressive Bryant trade speculation, there was an air of buoyancy from all of Odom’s on-court smiles and heightened team chemistry from so many pretty passes being thrown. The Lakers had assists on 23 of their first 27 baskets and a 14-point third-quarter lead from that teamwork.

“Looking forward to the next one,” Odom said.

The Lakers went 2-15 in 2004-05 without Odom after he tore the labrum in his left shoulder the first time, then 0-5 last season after he tore it again. This time, they managed a 2-2 record without him — but they were a different, almost blissful group with him. They played with a passion for passing that has rarely surrounded Bryant, even in the Lakers’ championship years.

Continue reading ‘Odom helps lead Lakers to 107-93 victory over Minnesota’

Related:
Bryant praises Bynum

  • DCLaker

    I tell myself all the time Odom is the key to us winning a championship without him Kobe will have to carry this team to victory or at least keep it close.Kobe is more comfortable with Odom on the floor because he’s natural “Floor General”,being able to pick apart any defense(when healthy,of course).Just can’t wait when JO gets here.Just imagine this lineup KB/DF/LO/JO/AB,now that’s a Championship Contender FO’REAL.

  • JNTHN

    impossible to get JO not putting any of these guys in a pack for him..
    the only trade i agree we must do is brian cook for anybody..
    maybe chris mihm and/or kwame brown could go together ;)

  • Neo-Laker Era

    [Comment ID #16733 Will Be Quoted Here]

    [Comment ID #16735 Will Be Quoted Here]

    Well hopefully he means next season, with JO being able to opt out of his contract. (Or does he become a free agent? I forget.)

  • JNTHN

    ohh. I also don’t really know if he’ll be a FA.. but if he’ll, I’m sorry by the misunderstanding ;)

  • drake hunter

    I think now is the perfect time to trade Bynum because he is playing so well that his value continues to go up. Indiana who is losing now and will continue losing is going to look to move JO and looking at Bynum now, they wont ask for as much as they did in the off season for us to get JO. “Bynum, Kwame, Cook, Crittenton, and 1st rounder for JO & Murphy”. Throw in Vujacic also for salary reasons. Farmar over Crittenton because Farmars established himself as a player in this league and he’s good for the triangle and he fits the “WIN NOW” mentality Kobe wants. Even giving up all those players in a trade which wont hurt us at all, we’re still stacked with enough talent to win a championship when JO and Murphy get here. Bynum and Crittenton will be good later on but still not proven yet so why not mortgage the future when you can still invest in the present for another 8 years. Go LAKERS!!!!

  • DCLaker

    You don’t want to gut out your team,especially when their playing so well,too early into the season.Don’t get me wrong I’ve been begging(more like praying)for JO to go the Lakers but it may take him a while to get into swing of this system.The triangle is very tricky and could take JO a while to adjust depending on if he’s a quick learner.Bynum’s in his 3rd season,20 years old but has really shown great improvement(he’s working with Kareem & Kobe).Thing to do now is trade BRIAN COOK for Artest or C.Webb or the nearest crackhead/ballplayer cause Cook sure runs the floor like one.Throw in Sasha and we have a deal.The Lakers need more veteran leadership on this squad to really be CONTENDERS,THE PACK RULES!!!!!