Lamar Odom is known for his flashy offense. But he was also a great defender and on this night, he showed everyone his fantastic D.
Lamar Odom was never recognized for his defense.
Despite averaging more than a block and a steal a game and nearly 8 rebounds a game in his first two NBA seasons, viewers only paid attention to his flashy offense.
They only highlighted his phenomenal ball-handling for a 6-10 guy and beautiful, Magic-like passes.
They rarely talked about his defensive aggression. They never talked about the clutch steals.
And they for sure never talked about the time he blocked nine shots.
Well, I am. So, here’s how the legend goes:
It was the night before Christmas Eve in the year 2000.
The Vancouver Grizzlies were in Los Angeles to play the Clippers at Staples Center.
Odom’s team, the Clippers, were not having a good start to the season. They only won 9 games out of the 27 that they played.
But they’ve been playing well in the past few games and felt confident enough to beat the Grizzlies, who were just as bad as they were.
But in the second, the Grizzlies stepped up their game. They rallied after being down by so much and cut the lead down to 11 after outscoring L.A. 21-16.
By halftime, the score was 48-37. And, at this point in the game, Odom only had 2 blocks.
Vancouver came into the third quarter strong and attacked hard.
Odom must’ve sensed a looming defeat so he turned on his gears defensively to try to slow down his opponents.
He was able to swat 4 blocks this quarter but the Grizzlies were on fire. They outscored the Clippers 32 to 17 and took the lead.
Entering the final quarter, the score was 69-65 for the Canadian franchise.
The Grizzlies came in strong again but this time the Clippers countered. Every time Vancouver scored, L.A. came back with a basket of their own.
But what helped the Clippers get back their lead was Odom’s rim protection. In the fourth quarter, he blocked another 3 shots.
As the final buzzer went off, the score on the box was 92-90.
Odom’s heroics on the defensive end helped his team get the victory. He also recorded a career-high in blocks (9) that night as well.
However, despite this big win, the Clippers fell back to their losing culture and were only able to win 31 games in the 2000-01 season.
They ended the season as the third last seed in the Western Conference.
Odom played with the Clippers for another two seasons before moving on and winning back-to-back titles with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers a few years later.
He also won the Sixth Man of the Year award in 2010-11.