Lamar Odom delivers message: Don't mess with Mavs

The most meaningful play of the Mavs’ 0-2 preseason might have been a foul.

Lamar Odom delivered it with a message: The Mavs aren’t going to be a soft team just because enforcer Tyson Chandler left town.

The hack came late in the third quarter after Odom took offense to Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison setting a hard pick on itty-bitty point guard Jerome Randle. When the 6-foot-10, 255-pound Collison got the ball about 20 feet from the hoop, Odom rotated over on a mission. He hammered Collison with two hands upon arrival, making just enough effort at the ball to avoid an intentional foul but delivering a hack that would have made the old Detroit Bad Boys proud.

Collison and Odom both got whistled for technical fouls after the ensuing heated conversation, but all was well moments later. An enforcer like Collison can surely appreciate the purpose of Odom’s play.

If Odom is going to show that kind of intensity to protect a player trying to make the roster during a lopsided preseason game, there’s no question he’ll have the back of the Mavs’ core players when it counts. It’s also evidence that Odom, who had a nasty split with the Lakers after the Chris Paul deal fell through, is fully engaged with the Mavs.

Coach Rick Carlisle has mentioned several times that the Mavs would need to replace the edge provided by tough guys Chandler and DeShawn Stevenson last season. Odom is obviously willing.