NBA: Oden made strong showing in debut
PORTLAND, Ore. ó Greg Oden started his NBA career just the way he wanted, with a dunk.
Oden dunked two minutes into a 110-81 exhibition victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. He finished the preseason opener with 13 points in just under 20 minutes.
“It kind of loosens me up, and gets me started on the right note,” he said.
Oden was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, but his rookie season was postponed when he needed microfracture on his right knee. He was held out all of last season.
Except for two summer league games after he was drafted, Oden hasn’t played much since he averaged 15.7 points and 9.6 rebounds in his lone season at Ohio State. He led the Buckeyes to the national championship game, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the loss to Florida.
He said he had no problem adjusting.
“The guys told me, especially Joel (Przybilla), just to take a deep breath and go out there and play basketball, that’s all it is,” Oden said.
Oden won the opening jump over Sacramento’s Mikki Moore and his dunk was Portland’s first basket.
He wowed the near-sellout crowd with another couple of dunks in the second quarter. Fans booed when he was called for a foul. One youngster held a sign that read: “Welcome to the show No. 52.”
“I’m not as good as I was but I’m going to get there,” Oden vowed.
Besides Oden, Blazers fans also got their first look at Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez, who played the past seven seasons for DKV Joventut Badelona of the Spanish ACB League.
Fernandez, who played on the Spanish Olympic team that lost to the United States in the gold medal game in Beijing, was flashy offensively and effective defensively in his first NBA game.
Fernandez made three particular passes to Webster late in the game that resulted in dunks, and brought cheers of “Rudy!” from the crowd.