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Monday, May 11, 2009
The Mood at Laker Practice


Shelley Smith, ESPN bureau reporter based in Los Angeles, reports from Monday's Laker practice in El Segundo.

Lamar Odom's Health
An MRI administered to Lakers forward Lamar Odom Monday showed that Odom suffered a contusion (bruise) when he fell on his back against the Rockets in Game 4 Sunday in Houston. Officially, he is a game-time decision for Game 5, but privately, Odom told at least one Lakers source that he will play Tuesday night.

Odom didn't practice Monday. Instead, he spent most of his time in the treatment room at the Lakers' practice facility getting electrical stimulation, ice and massage.

Somber Mood
The rest of the Lakers went through about three hours of film study and practice.

"It was somber, I would say," Phil Jackson said afterwards. "But they recognize that we went to Houston and did what we had to do, and now it's a three-game series."

Blowing a great opportunity -- to win without Yao Ming -- is not cause for panic, Kobe Bryant insisted. "Nobody said it was going to be easy," Kobe said. "We surely didn't think it would be easy. We're playing against a tough team."

Bryant added that the Lakers are not the first team to be inconsistent in the playoffs.

"Go back to Chicago when they won championships," he said. "They used to do the same dumb thing, too ... But when you win a championship, nobody remembers you had a 3-1 series lead or you blew a 2-0 series lead. Nobody remembers Boston had two seven-game series in the first round last season."

And as for Cleveland and Denver's roll through the month of May?

"We did it last year, too," Bryant said, chuckling. "Except for one time. Boston came away with the championship.

More Andrew Bynum?
With Odom's injury, it seems logical that Andrew Bynum will get more playing time. However, Jackson said he hadn't thought about Odom's injury in those terms yet.

"We need speed and mobility more than anything else," he said, intimating that Bynum was not the guy who could provide it. Jackson wouldn't single out Derek Fisher or Jordan Farmar or even Shannon Brown when it came to grading how they guarded Aaron Brooks in Game 4. Good thing. Those grades couldn't be good.

Brooks is proving to be one of the top point guards in the post-season. The ultimate compliment? After Game 4, Jackson called him "that Brooks kid," perhaps consciously not wanting to use Brooks' full name.

One thing Jackson does know is that the Lakers have to stop penetration, no matter who's got the ball. And the Lakers have got to find some sort of spark, either from Jackson or someone on the floor.

"We are Jekyll and Hyde a little bit," he said. "We have a tendency to get on our heels at times as a basketball team. We have always responded. We have won 65 games in a season, that's certainly a response. They know how to do it."