Lamar Odom is off the hook. For now, anyway.

The most valuable off-season acquisition for the Dallas Mavericks, Odom had basically been a shell of his former self since coming over in a Dec. 10 trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. But he broke out of that shell Friday by scoring a season-high 19 points and collecting five rebounds during a 116-101 win over the Utah Jazz.

Afterward, Odom deadpanned: "I've got a little left in the tank. I didn't expect to play bad 66 games in a row."

The Mavs certainly didn't think it would take 20 games -- almost a third of the season -- before Odom had a breakthrough game. But they've been extremely patient with a player whom they believe can help them repeat as NBA champs.

"He's doing what we're asking him to do, just keep playing basketball, keep staying aggressive," coach Rick Carlisle said. "Look, there's been some bad luck along the way, but you've just got to stay at it, and he has."