Monday, February 23, 2009

VSR: The Real Lamar Odom has stood up

A bit sick and tired (but not woozy like Blake Griffin) so I'm still gonna spit off my sports talk from here at the paper now that I'm done.

I'm starting to wonder if the Lakers (46-10, 1st in the West) are just messing around on teams to make the 2nd half more interesting. How else can you explain being up by 15 on the Hornets only to win in OT? (Phil's stupid rotations) How do you figure letting the T-Wolves, the 2nd-worst shooting team in the league, shoot 50% despite having nobody tall enough to battle Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol? (ummm, poor defense for a start)? It beats me to be honest and every morning I feel like ho-hum as I read the LA Times' playoff standings and see the conference lead grow every day (8 over San Antonio as of today).

But on the real, the best player since Andrew Bynum's injury has been Lamar Odom, Laker fans' favorite whipping boy. I've hated him most of his career because he could so much better if only had more heart. A 6-10 forward with handles like a point guard and you can't assert your will every game? I was ready to kick his skinny butt out of here and on to free agency

Now? This guy is playing like the savior that he needs to be. Since the 2nd victory against Boston, he's scoring close to 17-18 points a game while averaging a Dennis Rodman-esque 16 boards a game! He's showing his aggression on the boards and if he can do that consistently, it'll fill the void of Bynum until (if) he gets back. Tip of the hat to you, LO.

(Dummies of the NBA Year: Shawn Marion (now known for getting run off two playoff-contending teams and exiled to Canada) and the New Orleans front office (tried to trade Tyson Chandler in the middle of a playoff push). *plays Dumb by Nirvana*)

Meanwhile....UCLA is freefalling worse than Tom Petty. You let Washington State come into Pauley and just make it rain on you? The No. 22 Bruins looked like they had a mental breakdown - Josh Shipp missing point blank lay-ups, Darren Collison attempting a fast-break 3 when you're down 4 with a little over a minute left - and they better wake up because they can't afford those problems going to Stanford and Cal this weekend.

The bad news keeps coming for UCLA as they lost out on getting Cali's best (eligible) HS player, Renardo Sidney, who announced Sunday that he will go to USC. The 6-10 center from Fairfax HS joins teammate Solomon Hill as key cogs in Tim Floyd's recruiting class. I guess that's payback for UCLA football stealing Randall Carroll (the fastest kid in Cali) from USC but really I knew Sidney wasn't going to Westwood. You'll have to message me to ask me why.

(Don't sleep on Arizona making a run in the conference tournament. They gave AZ State a scare last week.)

No.7 Duke got back on track by getting revenge on Wake Forest (just found out we almost blew a 22-point lead??). I like this freshman Elliot Williams kid they moved to starting line-up two weeks ago (11 pts and 4 steals against Wake) and having Jon Scheyer at the PG is never a bad thing (30 points).

Besides the lack of rebounding, I had a problem with the team only having 11 assists against Wake. What happened to the great Duke PG's who could set guys up (Hurley, WoJo, Jay Will and Chris Duhon) and get their numbers? I'm pretty confident they'll be fine against Maryland Wednesday as long as they shut down Vasquez (who burned UNC for a triple-double in that upset Saturday) but since its in the road, i'll still cross my fingers.

All-American Picks: Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry, Tyler Hansborough (legacy pick), James Harden and DeJuan me back in a few weeks to make sure I'm right.

Tiger Woods is BACK! The bionic man is coming back for his throne this week and now everybody is free to watch golf again.

So the Dodgers got Orlando Hudson. My boy Sam is pretty high on him and three Gold Gloves says I should give him some love and welcome him to the Dodgers with open arms. He's a pretty solid run-producer with some speed to boot so I see him possibly as a No. 2 or No. 7 in the lineup. But Dodgers fans won't be happy unless a certain dread-locked LF is signed which is probably this signing went under the radar. Case in point, I was more happy that my favorite player, Ken Griffey Jr., was going back to Seattle and I actually thought about going up there for the home opener.

Good reads: Jemele Hill and Kurt Streeter (a real cool dude, btw) taking the Williams sisters to task for choosing to love their sponsors more than standing up against discrimination in their tournament in Dubai. If you've faced it before, there's no reason why you should stand by and let it happen in the name of $$$$

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