Updated: Jan. 20, 2006, 10:07 AM ET

Bryant, Odom seem out of sync

The Los Angeles Lakers' meltdown in Sacramento, which led to an atrocious 118-109 loss in OT on Thursday, raises at least two questions whose answers will say a lot about how this season plays out for the Forum Blue and Gold. (That's purple and yellow, for those who don't remember Chick Hearn and the Fabulous Forum.)

Q1: Is Kobe Bryant mortal after all? Or, to ask that another way, do the powers that allow him to make insane shots down the stretch in game after game sometimes get overridden by strange powers that force him to take even more insane shots that have little chance of going in the hole?

Q2: Will we start hearing anew about a Lamar Odom-Kobe Bryant rift?

Let's take Q2 first.

Lamar Odom says all the right things publicly about Kobe Bryant. He marvels at Kobe's talents and says he has no problem living in Kobe's shadow.

But it's sure hard to take all that at face value. The two men seem to be in their own orbit on the court. They rarely interact, and often don't even seem to be playing the same game.

The recent reports of an argument (or, according to some reports, an altercation) between them only reinforce the impression around the league that they really don't care much for each other. Conflicting reports about Odom's potential availability in a Ron Artest deal -- or other trades -- cast further doubt on their relationship.

Two players of such all-around skill should be able to create great synergy on the court. Think of Steve Nash and Shawn Marion, who make each other look better. KB and LO don't do that.

But for one shining moment tonight, it looked as though there might be a breakthrough. With the Lakers up two, and about 40 seconds remaining in regulation, Kobe drove right and fired a pass out to Odom at the top of the key, who stroked a 3 in perfect rhythm. Lakers up five, Bryant and Odom happy, all's well.

Just as quickly, though, Odom made two mistakes that annoyed Bryant. (This was obvious. And that's another way Bryant resembles Michael Jordan -- he lets his annoyance at his teammates come through loud and clear on the court.)

First, Odom inexplicably drove the lane, with the Lakers up four and supposedly running down the clock, and committed an offensive foul with 22 seconds remaining.

Second, after the Kings tied the game with four seconds remaining, he failed to get the ball to Bryant, instead hastily pulling the trigger on an ill-fated 25-footer. Kobe was clearly angry, and made it plain that he had wanted the ball.

Which brings us to Q1.

Up to the end of regulation -- in other words, until Odom's fateful errors -- Kobe was playing at an unbelievable level. He had scored 46 points, including 12 in the last 5:43, and had made all 13 of his free throws, giving him a Lakers-record 48 straight FTs made.

But playing under the influence of the frustration of seeing the Lakers' lead slip away, Bryant seemed to find a new gear: call it Gatling Gun mode, because while the Kings were taking the lead, he quickly fired up three extremely difficult shots -- including two long 3s -- that had little chance of going in.

His body language said, we're winning or losing this game on my terms, like it or not. He took six of the Lakers' first seven shots in OT, making only two. Basically, he shot the Lakers right out of the game.

It's been an incredible season for Kobe. In the last week alone, he's vanquished LeBron and Shaq, two of his greatest rivals.

But on Thursday, he and Odom conspired somehow to turn Kobe's 51-point performance into an L.

Something ain't right in the land of La-La.

Talk back to The Daily Dime gang

Dimes Past: January 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19

Shooter's Glare

This wasn't Kobe Bryant's exact expression when Lamar Odom took the final shot of regulation, instead of No. 8. But it's probably close. Bryant finished with 51 points in the 118-109 loss to Sacramento.

Trade Talk Time

Josh Meyer (Fort Dodge) IA: Do you see my Wolves pursuing Steve Francis or Paul Pierce before the trade deadline?

Chad Ford: I think they'd take anything at this point. They need to add another star quality player who can create his own shot and are getting desperate (the Blount to Minny rumors confirm that). The question is whether they have anything of value to get a player like that. They have Michael Olowokandi's expiring contract ... but not much else. Wally Szczerbiak is having a career year, but most GMs still think he's overpaid ... and if you move Wally, you're taking an awfully big step backward. In other words, the player that you replace him with better be a lot better.

Read the full Chad Ford chat Insider

News And Notes

Grizzlies Likely To Sign Atkins
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, veteran point guard Chucky Atkins will join the Grizzlies in a move that could be final as soon as today. Atkins is expected to clear waivers this afternoon after agreeing to a buyout Wednesday with the Washington Wizards. ... He'll likely sign for the veteran's minimum salary. "We haven't had a final discussion about his options," Atkins' agent, Andy Miller, said Thursday night. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal

Read the entire Intelligence Report on ESPN Insider Insider

Motion: Kobe Gets 51, Loses
Sacramento, led by Mike Bibby's 41 and Kenny Thomas' triple-double, takes an overtime win against the visiting Lakers.

Kings beat Lakers in OT

Darko Sighting

He may not be fully pictured in his attempt to stop Qyntel Woods, but seldom-used Darko Milicic saw action for the Pistons in their blowout of the Knicks. He made all three of his shots, good for a season-high six points.

Extreme Behavior

Thursday's Best
Kenny Thomas, Kings forward -- A triple double for the sizzling KT. Had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in the 118-109 OT win over the Lakers. This after the ex-Lobo dropped 22 points and 15 rebounds in a pounding of the Suns.


Thursday's Worst
Jamal Crawford, Knicks guard -- Accepting the Knicks' team award, it's the guy who scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting in a 105-79 blowout at the hands of Detroit. Had three turnovers to boot. The Knicks were kinda drained after Wednesday's events in Chicago.

Quote of the Day

"It was like the JV against the varsity. I think they could've beaten us by 50."
-- Knicks coach Larry Brown, after his team was thrashed by his old team, the Detroit Pistons, at Madison Square Garden.

See how all 37 who played stacked up

-- Andrew Ayres

Making The Right Wrong Move

How can we question what Antonio Davis did -- at the time he did it?

How can we question what he felt in his heart, mind and soul was the right thing to do for his family?

Isn't one of the subdefinitions of manhood to understand that not everything in your life is about you? That, at times, the people for whom you are responsible need you to protect them at all costs? Doesn't it mean that, in very certain situations, you take matters into your own hands? Even if the result is ejection and suspension?

The full Scoop Jackson column

Elias Says

In Sacramento's 118-109 overtime win against the Lakers, Kobe Bryant scored 51 points, Mike Bibby scored 40 points and Kenny Thomas had a triple-double. It's only the second game in NBA history in which one player scored 50-plus points, a second player scored 40-plus points and a third player recorded a triple-double.

• Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias Insider

Chatting With A Laker

Matt (Boston): Where did you get the nickname "Smush"? And what's the best nickname in the NBA?
Smush Parker: My nickname came from my mother. It was given to me when I was a baby. The No. 1 nickname in the NBA is Smush. It doesn't get any better than that.

See full Smush Parker chat



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