DALLAS -- It might be the biggest mystery in the NBA this season. Why can’t the defending NBA champions win without their ridiculously underachieving newcomer?
As bad as Lamar Odom has been this season, it’s hard to ignore the numbers. The Mavs are 30-17 when Odom plays and 0-7 when he doesn’t.
“I told everybody about how important the presence of Lamar Odom was,” Jason Terry said after Odom missed the Mavs’ 94-75 loss to the Clippers because of a stomach illness. “You guys are looking at the statistics. I’m looking at the player and obviously what that gives us and what that does for our depth. We truly missed it.”
In this case, it clearly didn’t help that the Mavs were also missing Jason Kidd, who will miss at least the rest of the week with a strained right groin. But the Mavs are 7-5 when Kidd doesn’t play this season.
Coach Rick Carlisle has used the Mavs’ winless record without Odom in the past to emphasize the struggling forward’s importance despite his poor statistics. However, Carlisle was in no mood for that after this miserable outing, saying he wasn’t going to make any excuses.
“I just don’t think we were very good tonight,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “That’s the bottom line. I don’t care who was out there.”
A few more notes from one of the Mavs’ ugliest games of the season:
1. West’s woes: Delonte West didn’t exactly follow up his phenomenal fourth quarter against the Magic in impressive fashion. West keyed the Mavs’ comeback Friday night with seven points and two assists in the final frame, running the point for all 12 minutes while Jason Kidd watched from the bench. With Kidd out Monday, West had only six points and four assists in 36 minutes.
2. Wretched rebounding: The Clippers had a 49-38 advantage on the glass, which Nowitzki attributed in large part to the big differences in shooting percentages. “If one team shoots in the thirty percents and the other team shoots near 50, there’s going to be a lot more rebounds to go around on the other end,” said Nowitzki, who had only four rebounds. “I think that’s not rocket science.” But this isn’t a one-game issue. Dallas has been outrebounded by double digits in six of its last seven games.
3. Jet’s solution: The Mavs’ offense was painfully out of sync without Kidd running the show, registering only 14 assists and shooting 39 percent from the floor. How do they solve those issues before Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies?
“I have no idea, but we’re going to have to figure it out,” Terry said. “If I have to take more responsibility and try to shoot more, shoot 30 times, that’s what I’m going to do.”