Lamar Odom: Centerpiece of the Clippers' huddle. (Getty Images)The NBA season's first Battle for Los Angeles takes place on Friday night, as the Los Angeles Clippers "visit" the Staples Center looking to move to 2-0 at the expense of a Los Angeles Lakers team that has dropped its opening two contests and would prefer it if y'all would just hush about it. With all the headlines generated by the Lakers' offseason acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard, many observers' eyes have focused on what the perennial purple-and-gold big brother needs to do to get back on the right track, with relatively little attention paid to the Clips' strong season-opening win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
For their part, the Clippers — fresh off a second-round playoff run, having added offseason depth of their own and still boasting one of the league's top one-two punches in the All-NBA tandem of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin — seem pretty sick of answering questions about the Lakers. Griffin told USA Today's Sam Amick that the Clips are "not concerned about the Lakers and what they're doing," while center DeAndre Jordan told Dan Woike at the Orange County Register that the "annoying" deluge of Laker-oriented questions "gets boring after awhile." As one of the team's longest-tenured pros sees it, though, all the focus on matching up against the Lakers offers an opportunity to use the game as both a measuring stick for the Clips' own development and a learning experience on the journey toward a deeper postseason run this year.
Which sage ol' Clip dropped these jewels? Seventeen-year vet Grant Hill, perhaps? Or maybe ring-bearing elder statesman Chauncey Billups? No, dummy. It was Lamar Odom, and he had more wisdom to share, according to Woike at the Register:
Read More »from Noted motivational guru Lamar Odom to give Clippers teammates books on setting goals before Lakers game
"You need something to look up to, even if you don't want to admit it. You need something to kind of reach for," Odom said. "When people think about that, it should set a goal. The goal is to help start that tradition and to be able to change [the] way the team, the players and the organization is looked at."
Odom said he hopes to hammer that point home Friday by giving each of his teammates a book on goal-setting before the game — a tactic he's borrowing from his former coach, Phil Jackson.
"To be on the same page and the same wavelength is important," Odom said. "Whether you're meditating or talking or reading the same book, it helps. We pray together. It helps for everyone to be on the same page."