DALLAS -- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle believes the stomach illness that left Lamar Odom sleepless and unable to eat for several days was only a temporary setback for the mercurial forward who finally seemed to be making strides.
Odom played 19 minutes in Wednesday's 95-85 win over Memphis, recording five points on 2-of-5 shooting, with five rebounds. But he also left an uncontested finger roll on the front of the rim, airballed a free throw and was benched with 10 minutes to go for failing to box out Grizzlies reserve small forward Quincy Pondexter, who stole a rebound, got fouled by Odom and completed the and-1 to put Memphis ahead, 73-68.
Carlisle called it a "bad play." Odom said it was a lazy play caused by fatigue. Carlisle remains undaunted.
"I feel like coming off of the sickness, (Wednesday) was a good step in the right direction because now he’s had a practice (Tuesday) and he’s had some hard minutes in a game," Carlisle said. "I think (Thursday) is a day where he can regroup a little bit physically and then Friday I see him gaining momentum again and getting back to where he was last week. That’s how we all feel about it."
The Mavs seek to get a second win on this three-game homestand Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. Only a week ago Odom produced his best two-game run with 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting against Houston and Miami.
Then he got sick, played just 13 minutes last Friday at Orlando and was basically bed-ridden until Tuesday's practice. He apparently wasn't back to full strength against Grizzlies.
"When you’re not feeling well," Odom said, "the play that’s hard to make is the one that’s standing still. That’s why I shot that ball so short (on the free throw)."
Carlisle continues to express optimism that Odom will be a contributor down the stretch and into the postseason. Before falling ill, Odom said he was just getting his legs underneath him, finally giving him the burst to drive to the basket and as he's described it, make counter moves.
Judging by the faulty finger roll, the all-air free throw and the flat-footed rebound attempt at a crucial point in the game, the illness appeared to be have robbed Odom of the pep in his recent step, which took him months to achieve. So, it's sort of back to the drawing board (again).
"Yeah, I’ll take my time, but yet be aggressive as far as coming in here and getting my shots up and getting a good sweat so I can get that rhythm," Odom said. "There’s times when you’re tired, you make a lazy play and that one play I didn’t box out the kid Pondexter was because I was tired, fatigued."