Lakers forward Trevor Ariza made fun of teammate Lamar Odom during practice yesterday by getting into a three-point football stance. But even though Odom's hit on Celtics guard Ray Allen last Sunday night was better suited for the gridiron, he didn't view the foul as excessive.
The 6-foot-10-inch, 221-pound Odom tackled the 6-5, 205-pound Allen into the first row at the Staples Center during the Celtics' 110-91 win over the Lakers. The NBA responded by slapping Odom with a one-game suspension Tuesday that will be served tomorrow against Philadelphia. But after the Lakers' practice yesterday in Los Angeles, he expressed little remorse about hitting Allen.
"I didn't think it was that excessive," Odom told reporters. "I wasn't trying to hurt him. I was just trying to make a play on the ball ... If I was to cheap shot him, he would have known I cheap shot him. But, I didn't really try to cheap shot him. I was just making a play on the ball."
Odom said Celtics forward James Posey "came under me" seconds before he hit Allen. Odom added that he wasn't angry about the suspension, and he would take the punishment.
"I didn't hurt the guy," Odom said. "Of course, I wouldn't want to lose by 20 at home. [There] was a play before that where I thought Posey came up under me. I didn't try to overreact, but Ray Allen was there, he had the ball, and I wanted to foul him hard.
"Maybe I fouled him a little bit too hard. If I wanted to [hurt] somebody, I would know how to make a tackle. But that wasn't my intention at all. I just wanted to foul him."
Allen drew a technical foul on the play, which could have brought a $500 fine, but an NBA official said the fine was rescinded.
Two NBA sources said Orlando center Dwight Howard had a foul upgraded to a flagrant-1 for kicking Celtics forward Kevin Garnett during a Dec. 23 game. When asked if opponents were taking shots at his players, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said: "I don't think so. Teams are giving their best effort. That's fine."