Peep Show

Updated: May 4, 2004, 8:40 AM ET
NBA Insider
Lamar Odom
Odom
Miami Heat: How big is big for Lamar Odom? "This is going to be the biggest game I ever played in my life . . . professionally," Odom said in the Miami Herald. "This is what we looked forward to. That's why we played hard to try to win the home-court advantage. We're going to leave it all out there. We're going to make it loose. I'm not thinking about losing. I'm going to come away victorious." Even if the other team is bigger. "This is my first time playing against a physical team six, seven times in a row," he said. "We've been just as physical as them. They're bigger than us."

Minnesota Timberwolves: Minnesota vice president Kevin McHale is sure glad he took a chance on some high school kid nine years ago. "To me, what happened with Kevin [Garnett] was just hard work," said McHale in the Star Tribune after KG won the MVP award. "I remember nine years ago sitting down with a skinny little kid -- I was skinnier too back then -- and him telling me he wanted to be the best player in the league. I remember thinking, 'Set your goals high. Reach for the sky.' We talked and I said, 'You work hard and take the time, and we'll see what happens.' That young man has turned into a bigger man and a hell of a basketball player." Head coach Flip Saunders agrees. "A lot of people ask me, what makes KG so special? I think there's really three things," Saunders said. "No. 1, he has great respect for the game, knowing where the game was and the players who made it special, whether it was Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, right on down the line. He has an unbelievable amount of loyalty. He has shown the loyalty twice to this organization, re-signing with us, and the main reason was he felt there were things that weren't done. The third thing is, he has a great amount of passion. What [fans] see 82 games on the floor, we see for 200 days every day of the season."

Jermaine O'Neal
O'Neal
Indiana Pacers: Kevin Garnett has Jermaine O'Neal's vote, too. "It's not a slap to my face," O'Neal said in the Indianapolis Star after placing third, himself, in the MVP voting. "He deserved it. You have to step back and say, 'This guy was better than me this year.' " His coach sees it as motivation. "Jermaine has taken a quantum leap into the upper echelon of players in this league," Rick Carlisle said. "He's become known as an MVP candidate and I think it's going to be consistent from year to year. It's a building block. It's a step. It's got to be good motivation for him to keep getting better and I know he will."

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