I’d like to personally thank Kevin Garnett for waking Lamar Odom out of his stupor. Let’s face it, KG would’ve clocked Lamar into next year had their confrontation escalated. But Lamar decided to be cute and against better judgment, slapped KG on the ass after he was assessed an offensive foul. Call it foolhardiness, careless antagonization, or just plain stupidity, but I’m sure Lamar didn’t expect the reaction he got from KG. Instead of running up the court to dispute the call with the referee, Kevin Garnett instead got into Lamar’s grill and ever so politely voiced his displeasure with the love tap. As spittle and sweat spew forward, surprisingly Lamar Odom did not back down, but instead unleashed his own verbosity back at KG. It’s like standing up to the bully for the first time, you’re scared but heck, you’ve had it. Enough is enough and you aren’t going to take it anymore, regardless of the circumstances. As soon as it was over, Lamar had a sheepish grin on his face that explained it all. He had stood up to the bully and he was still standing… Actually, he looked like he felt pretty good about himself. His chest puffed out a little more, he stood a little taller, and he became a difference maker.
What followed was a second half display of talent that all Laker fans have been waiting for… forever. The worst had happened and it wasn’t that bad. Lamar Odom attacked, fought, dove, and willed the Lakers to the victory last night. He stood up and was counted in the final tally, rather than identified as a mere participant. And on a night when Paul Pierce was forcing Kobe into erratic shots, Lamar Odom made the Celtics pay by scoring 18 or his 20 points in the second half, all after his conversation with Kevin Garnett. Pau Gasol fed off of this energy and exerted his “finese” play by clearly outplaying the Boston frontcourt. I was amused by this display of ferocity, albeit a timid one by most standards. Nonetheless, the Lakers turned the corner. What started as a game of similarity to the poundings of past, immediately became one in which the victims became the victors. Visions of the Cap/Magic/Big Game/Rambo/B Lakers squad throttling the Bird/McHale/Parish/Johnson/Ainge Celtics of the ’80s flashed through my mind as I’m sure did likewise for the Boston faithful as well. It’s not a rivalry until the other team wins and establishes doubt into the other team. Afterward, the Celtics looked defeated and worse, worried. I’m sure signing Stephon Marbury or Joe Smith just became a number one priority. The Boston fans looked worried as well and with good reason.
dEDGE Post Scriptum
The Lakers are B A A A A C K…