Odom said after Friday morning’s shootaround at American Airlines Center that he expects to replace Ron Artest(notes), who was suspended for hitting Mavericks guard J.J. Barea(notes) in the head with his forearm at the end of the Lakers’ Game 2 loss. Odom said he last started at small forward when he was with the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2002-03 season. The Lakers have rarely played Odom, center Andrew Bynum(notes) and power forward Pau Gasol(notes) together.
The Lakers enter Game 3 trailing the Mavericks 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.
"I haven't played small forward in a couple years now, but it makes no difference," Odom said. "It's not like they play a lot of isolation ball with their small forward anyway and you'll, defensively, be on an island or anything like that.
"[My] role won't change. It's Game 3 and we're down 2-zip. It won't change. I'm going to play hard and try to win the basketball game."
Odom started 35 games for the Lakers during the regular season, but none at small forward. Lakers coach Phil Jackson wouldn't confirm the lineup change, but did say that the posting on the team's game notes that had Shannon Brown(notes) starting in a three-guard lineup with Kobe Bryant(notes) and Derek Fisher(notes) wasn't accurate. Odom averaged 16.3 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a starter at power forward this season.
The 6-foot-10 Odom is expected to be matched up with Mavericks small forward Shawn Marion(notes) and would give the Lakers a tall frontcourt with Gasol and Bynum, both 7-footers. Matt Barnes(notes) and Luke Walton(notes) could fill Odom's void off the bench.
"With that type of frontcourt we're even bigger inside and have more versatility in the frontcourt,” Fisher said. “It's important that we are moving the basketball and involving all five of our guys and not getting to a place where, even if we struggle and things start to go bad, where we feel like we just give the ball to Kobe in isolation. We have to keep all three of those big guys involved in what we do out there."
Artest declined to talk in detail about his suspension following shootaround.
"I'm going to miss the noise out here tonight," Artest said.