If there was any indication that Lamar Odom was being forgotten on this Laker team, those thoughts were put to rest Friday night. Having started the 2007-2008 season without their second leading scorer and best rebounder, the Los Angeles Lakers could breathe a huge sigh of relief on Friday when he finally returned to the floor. His presence was felt throughout the night, as his 18 points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes of playing time steered the Lakers to a 107-93 win over the revamped Minnesota Timberwovles.
The Lakers, coming in with a 2-2 record, probably didn't expect Odom to not only play such heavy minutes, but to play so well in his first game of the season. His progress after recovering from offseason shoulder surgery has obviously transitioned quicker than anyone could have expected. Despite having limited practice time, Odom showed no signs of apparent rust. This has to bring joy to Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant.
As for the rest of the Lakers, despite one of their main contributors providing a much needed lift, that same lift wasn't high enough to motivate the rest of the team. Ryan Gomes got his team off to a hot start with 9 quick points in the first four minutes of action. His club rallied behind him and took a 20-12 lead at one point and kept the Lakers on their heels for much of the first half.
But lead by Odom, Bryant (30 points), and Andrew Bynum (10 points and 10 rebounds), the Lakers seized control in the second half and jumped out to a 68-52 lead with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter. Minnesota never got any closer than 7 the rest of the way. If Odom played this well in his first game of the season, then well, maybe we'll all finally see him sport a West All-Star jersey in February.
*Game Notes*....Kwame Brown missed his second consecutive game with bursitis in his right heel...The Timberwolves have started the season 0-4...Al Jefferson continues to show promise for the T-Wolves, totaling 24 points and 15 rebounds.
Next Game: LAL vs SA
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end
-Ursula K. LeGuin