If there’s a dark cloud in the NBA, it seems to be following the Los Angeles Lakers.
Odom was diagnosed on Monday with a small tear and a rotator cuff contusion in his left shoulder, and will miss both games of the Lakers’ road trip. He will be re-evaluated Wednesday and is considered day-to-day, the team said.
Odom, who was hurt during the first half against Indiana on Friday night, leads the team in rebounds with 10.2, and is averaging 15.2 points and 3.7 assists in 36.3 minutes per game.
The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Lakers, who’ve dropped five straight games. Los Angeles hasn’t been this bad since losing the final 10 games of the 1993-94 season.
That was also the last time the Lakers failed to qualify for the playoffs. They currently trail Denver by 3 1/2 games in the battle for the eighth and final Western Conference berth.
“If it’s mathematically possible, then it’s possible,” Lakers guard Kobe Bryant said after a 102-100 loss to Seattle on Sunday. “You never know. We can get hot. But it all starts on the defensive end. We’ve got to focus on locking people down.”
With just 16 games remaining, the Lakers already have more losses than in any season since 1994-95, when they went 48-34.
Fortunately for the Lakers, they appear to be getting the Jazz at the right time.
Utah, which is beginning a seven-game homestand, has lost nine straight and is one defeat shy of its longest slide since losing 18 straight from Feb. 24-March 29, 1982.
The Jazz are coming off a 96-95 loss to Washington on Saturday which ended a five-game road trip.
Andrei Kirilenko had 28 points, seven rebounds, six assists, three steals and five blocks for the Jazz, who committed 18 turnovers.
“I thought we played hard, but when you are playing tired and you run out of energy, that is when you turn the ball over,” coach Jerry Sloan said.
Ben Handlogten, one of two Jazz players signed to a 10-day contract, made his first career start as Sloan juggled his lineup for the second straight game. Kris Humphries moved into Matt Harpring’s starting spot in Friday night’s loss at New Jersey.
Utah has now used 21 different starting lineups this season.