Lakers links- January 6

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Lamar Odom, who finished with 17/19/9, provides a visual reminder to the upward trajectory of his play.

Pardon the quick, inelegant rush through today's news (of which there's a fair amount), but we've got a chat at 10:30 am PT to mind. And after the Lakers clamped down defensively Tuesday night, scoring a similarly inelegant-but-effective 88-79 win over those ever-pesky Houston Rockets, we can only presume there will be much to chat about. The Lakers, missing Pau Gasol (who told reporters after the game he's optimistic the injury to his left hamstring won't keep him out as long as the 11 games his right hammy cost him to start the season) were beat up in other ways, working with a rusty Ron Artest, no Luke Walton, and Kobe Bryant's perpetually abused right index finger also had a sick DJ Mbenga and Lamar Odom nursing a stomach bug.

Of course, judging from Odom's near triple-double, you'd never have known, noted Andy in his postgame wrap. LO was all over the floor, and when combined with a strong night for Andrew Bynum (24 points, eight boards) filled any gaps left by Gasol's absence, an off-by-his-standards effort for Kobe (9-23 shooting, four TOs), and a slow night from the rest of the cast.

A slow night offensively, at least. As Rockets GM Daryl Morey noted via Twitter after the game, the Lakers were stout on the other end- the Rockets missed a ton of jumpers, but all they got were jumpers- and when they defend the champs are almost impossible to beat. The Lakers, who still have to answer lingering questions about grit and toughness (some things just never go away) once again proved they can win in a slog through the mud.

More Lakers links below the jump...