Odom’s aggressiveness helps Lakers lead at the half

Odom has made his presence known with a 15 point outburst to help the Lakers to a 62-55 lead at the break. (Pic via atthebox.wordpress.com)

Lamar Odom has provided glimpses of greatness throughout his inconsistent NBA career.  Odom came to play against the Suns Monday, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds off the bench.  The Lakers outscored the Suns by 12 with him on the court and lead by seven at halftime of Game 1.

Kobe came out aggressive and looks quick after his extended layoff.  He scored 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting in the first half while being defended mostly by Grant Hill.  The Suns are making Kobe work, so it will be interesting to see if he tires late in the game.

Amare Stoudemire leads the Suns with 15 points.  Steve Nash has been quiet, posting six and six in the first half.

Here are some additional observations:

-Jason Richardson hit two 3-pointers early but was quiet for most of the half.  Leandro Barbosa played very well in Richardson’s place, scoring five points in 10 minutes of action.  He could get more run in the second half if J-Rich doesn’t contribute early.

-Kobe looks great.  He is wearing a sleeve over his troublesome right knee.  Having missed a week of practice, it will be interesting to see if he holds up

-Channing Frye had no impact in the first half, at least not positive one.  The Lakers did a good job of running him off the 3-point line and took advantage of his skinny frame by going inside.

-Ron Artest is shooting the ball well.  He isn’t quick and looked uncomfortable in the post against Jason Richardson, but he is very active defensively.  Nine points, four rebounds and three assists is a pretty impressive line.

-Why are Ron Ron’s shorts so damn short?  He prefers shorter shorts than most NBA players, but his Game 1 look is pretty astounding.  He is a big dude–a big, scary, clinically insane dude.

-The Lakers are playing the Suns pick and roll very effectively, so much so that Phoenix went away from it late in the first half.  If Nash and Richardson hit some shots early in the second half, things should open up.

-Bench play has been fairly even so far, thanks primarily to Lamar Odom.  Goran Dragic can really ball; he isn’t afraid of the moment and has a huge advantage against Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown.

-Sasha Vujacic saw a few minutes and did nothing good, fouling Grant Hill on a 3-point attempt at the end of the first half.  Adam Morrison is not in uniform–sadly.

-Andrew Bynum had an impressive dunk early in the game but is clearly laboring.  Meanwhile, Robin Lopez scored eight points in the first half in his first game since late March.  His presence is huge for the Suns.

It should be a great second half.  We’ll have analysis, video, and sound after the game.

Stay tuned.

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