In his much-anticipated return to the Dallas Mavericks after a 10 day absence for “personal reasons,” 6-10 forward Lamar Odom exhibited flashes of that Lakers brilliance as the Mavs snapped a 4 game losing streak by beating the Utah Jazz, 102-96, reports ESPN.
After stern words from Coach Rick Carlisle, who accused Odom of not showing his dedication to the team and playing with no heart, Odom apologized to his teammates before the game, asking for another change to get it right. He shot down rumors that he wanted a buyout of his contract and said that he was “blessed” and “lucky” to be apart of the Mavericks organization, giving a special (smart) shout-out to owner Mark Cuban:
It was really personal and it was something I had to tend to,” Odom said of his absence. “Mark Cuban is a great owner for understanding. Sometimes we have to fix whatever’s going on off the court in order for us to fix what’s going on on the court.”
As previously reported by Newsone, speculation is that Odom and his wife, Khloe Kardashan, had to fly to Los Angeles to take care of his father, Joe, who is reportedly gravely ill.
Though players such as Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitski both made it clear that they were looking for an improvement in Odom’s performance, they also said they believe in giving a man a second chance — something that Odom says that he needs:
I just told them to stick with me and at this point in time in my life I need them.”
Odom resurfaced with a solid nine-point, five-rebound, three-assist game and Coach Carlisle called his performance “awesome.” But the NBA champion-winning coach is not satisfied with just one night:
This is by far the most energy he’s played with the entire year and I don’t think it’s close,” Carlisle said. “And I would defy anybody to go against that statement. It’s just clear we need this from him every night. If he can bring this, if he can bring that kind of energy and engagement, it’s going to lift our team to a different level.”
According to ESPN, the “Khloe and Lamar” loving Dallas crowd still greeted their favorite newlywed with more “cheers than boos,” something that Odom clearly noticed:
Yeah, a lot of people watch the show,” Odom said with a boyish grin. “The town, the city has been great. I’ve had a lot of fun since I’ve been here and the reception has always been warm. I’m having a great time here.”