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Friday, December 16, 2011
Lamar Odom will first face L.A. back home

By Jeff Caplan



DALLAS -- Doesn't it always seems that when a guy gets traded, he turns around and plays his old team shortly after the deal? Take Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez, for example. Traded to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, they'll be back in town on Dec. 26, the second game of the season.

That, however, won't be the case for new Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom, who spent the past seven seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. Odom will have to wait a few weeks until Jan. 16, when the Mavs travel to L.A. for a nationally televised game.

It certainly could be an awkward homecoming for Odom, who was quickly and surprisingly traded by the Lakers to the Mavs last Saturday night after talks for Chris Paul -- who has since joined that other L.A. team that plays at Staples -- collapsed.

The 6-foot-10 forward said he doesn't believe he'll feel any pressure to show up his former team.

"I wouldn’t think I’d have to do that even if I never have a good game again. I think they know that," Odom said. "I just go out and play my game. I’m kind of past that stage.

"I’m here to succeed, have fun. I won’t get too caught up in that. I’ll just go out and play my game, help the team I play with to win."

Dallas swept Odom and the Lakers out of the second round last season. The clubs meet up four times on the 66-game schedule (at Dallas, Feb. 22 and March 21; in L.A., April 15) with all four games slated for national television. Of course, it didn't take the Odom trade for these matchups to make the national schedule, but it sure adds to the intrigue following last season's sweep.

"They kicked our butt pretty good," Odom said of the Mavs' Los Angeles landslide. "They gave it to us and hopefully we keep that going."