Lamar Odom isn't making excuses for his slow start, but tragedies have taken toll.
After early joyride, the Mavericks have badly lost their way as Lakers pay a visit.
Plano West defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, the nation's No. 2 recruit, commits to Texas.
Dallas Mavericks swingman Josh Howard appears ready to return to the lineup, and coach Rick Carlisle is hopeful center Erick Dampier will also be a go as Dallas hosts the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time this season on Wednesday night.