Handed down from the league’s offices yesterday, Lamar Odom was levied a one game suspension for leaving the vicinity of the bench in the aftermath of Trevor Ariza’s hard foul on Rudy Fernandez. He will serve that sentence tonight when the Los Angeles Lakers face off with the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center. In reviewing footage of the altercation, Odom clearly leaves the bench to confront Brandon Roy. Moments later, Assistant Coach Kurt Rambis forcibly pushes Odom back to the bench, knowing all-to-well of the consequences to come. Although Odom’s role in the brief melee appeared minor and didn’t add any fuel to the potentially volatile situation, the rules are the rules, and Lamar should have known better. His suspension greatly affects the already short-handed Lakers on this difficult road trip. Compounded by his recent stretch of poor play, perhaps this will give Odom a chance to reflect on what he needs to bring to the floor every night, rather than to the sidelines.
The amount of blogging content that Trevor’s foul has created is really astronomical. Had he been a Bobcat or a 76er, we wouldn’t even have heard about the foul, let alone dedicated news segments, had expert commentaries, and written millions of paragraphs arguing either for or against. What I find ironic and amusing are the “former-hacks-turned-broadcasters” calling the foul intentional and uncalled for… Puh-lease, it was a hard foul to prevent a basket, not aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Super slow-mo video of the play has been examined frame by frame, as if true meaning can be extracted in the milliseconds frozen in time. The Zapruder film didn’t get this much exposure. You’re either a Lakers-lover or a Blazers- fanatic on this one folks. There is no middle ground in this heated debate. “There’s no place for this in the game.” “He was going for the ball.” “His eyes weren’t on the ball, they were staring at his head.” “His head is big, he couldn’t see the ball.”
Seriously, we’re all glad that Rudy is fine and will be back in action soon. Here are some quotes from the Oregonian that will hopefully put this thing to rest, or not.
After visiting Fernandez in the hospital later that night: “He’s all right, he’s feeling great,” Sergio Rodriguez said. “It was more (he was) scared and afraid …”
After being released from the hospital on Tuesday: “When he talked to McMillan on Tuesday, one of the first things Fernandez did was ask his coach if he could play against the Mavericks.”
At Blazers practice Tuesday: “It’s funny. Before the game, me (Roy) and LaMarcus (Aldridge) were laughing, saying, ‘They’re going to do something.’ He was like, ‘Well, we’ll be ready.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, we will be ready.’ So I’m not saying that we predicted it, but we knew they were going to … try to be a bully. Again, I’m not trying to say (the Lakers are) dirty. But it just seems like every time we play them (there’s something). But we’re ready to defend one another. That’s what we have to do.”