Maybe the Suspension Will Do Odom Some Good

Trevor Ariza is officially off the hook for his involvement in Monday night's altercation in Portland, but Lamar Odom was not as fortunate. The league reviewed Odom's role in the incident, and ended up determining that he left "the immediate vicinity of the bench" during the incident. So, as mandated by league rules, Odom received a one-game suspension, and will be forced to sit out the Lakers' next game on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets.

With Odom out of the lineup for a game, the question is this: Will the Lakers even notice he's gone?

Now obviously, that's an exaggerated way of pointing out the fact that over the past week or so, Lamar Odom has been a far cry from the player we were beginning to get used to seeing in the starting lineup. Playing in place of the injured Andrew Bynum, Odom was putting up monster numbers for most of February. But since scoring 23 points and grabbing nine rebounds in a home victory over the Suns, Odom's numbers have taken a significant dive.

Before Monday's game in Portland, Odom had scored just eight points in the three previous games combined, making just four of his 15 shot attempts in the process. Things improved only slightly against the Blazers, when Odom finished with seven points and eight rebounds.

Remember, Odom is a guy capable of putting up huge statistical numbers -- he had 17, 18, 19, and 20 rebounds in four consecutive games from February 8th to February 17th. We know he can do it, so why hasn't he? Phil Jackson offered up one possible explanation, suggesting that maybe it hasn't been in the stars for Odom to succeed lately.

"More than anything else, Lamar is affected by the astrological sequences, and I know that Venus went into retrograde the other day," Jackson deadpanned.

Here's hoping that the stars will align more favorably for Odom during his suspension, and that everything will work itself out in time for the Lakers' Thursday night tilt in San Antonio.

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