Odom Mugging Still Sore Subject with Jesus


WALTHAM - It's been a few days since Lamar Odom went Terry Tate on Ray Allen in the Lakers' 110-91 loss to the Celtics, and after looking at it again on tape, the shoulder tackle still makes absolutely no sense to Allen, who found himself in the laps of the Staples Center's best ticket-holders because of it.

"That could have been a potentially disastrous play for either one of us, going into the crowd like that," Allen said after practice yesterday. "It was just uncalled for."

Allen picked himself up and took a technical for doing a little talking after the play. Yesterday, the league slapped Odom with a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul.

The hit came out of nowhere, considering it came with 2:57 left and the Lakers down, 103-84.

It could have been anybody, if you ask Doc Rivers.

"I don't think it was intended at Ray," said Rivers. "Whoever had the ball was getting that. I thought he lost his composure with the refs. [Odom] thought he got fouled the play before and he was basically saying, 'I'm going to show you what a foul is, if you're not going to call that."'

The foul was more a reflection of frustration than character, Rivers said.

"Odom's a good kid, a good guy," Rivers said. "It's too bad that that had to happen. Better them than us."

Rivers has basically been conditioning his players for games that may play out more like wrestling matches, running practices and swallowing the whistle.

"They complain to us, we never call fouls," he said.

He's actually a fan of the physicality.

"I didn't think the LA game was as physical as it was chippy," he said. "But it was great. It had a lot of intensity and I love those games."

The Celtics have started to see a few more elbows in the past two or three weeks, according to Paul Pierce.

"We've been noticing that for the last, probably, 15 games," said Pierce. "Teams are really going to get up for us. They're going to come after us. They're going to try to get us out of our game. We've just got to keep our composure and stay away from those types of things."

Don't read into West side story

The Celtics are 8-0 against the Western Conference, but they don't particularly care. That's a good thing. The last two teams to win the NBA championship out of the Eastern Conference had decent records against the West, but not the best. The Pistons went 17-11 when they won their title in 2004, beating Indiana, which was 20-8, in the conference finals. Two years later, Detroit went 25-5 against the West and then got dropped in the Eastern finals by a Miami team that went 17-13. "We can take that we're playing well against the West and that we're playing good basketball, but other than that, nothing really," Rivers said.

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